This week’s biggest Brexit news is firmly in the ‘beyond satire’ category. Jacob Rees-Mogg is now UK Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency (Rees-Mog is not regarded as serious by some). Response of pro-EU activists was very short, though probably still longer than Mr Rees-Mogg’s list of opportunities.
Former top civil servant Jill Rutter demonstrated the Whitehall skill of saying pointed things politely: “The problem for Rees-Mogg here is that…..the rhetoric of benefits of Brexit comes much more easily to the government than actually crystallising them.”
Many will fear that Mr Rees-Mogg’s idea of a Brexit opportunity might be lowering standards. They won’t be reassured by reports that Canada is pressuring UK to allow growth hormones for cattle, as a condition for joining the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Meanwhile, the UK government, desperate for a US trade deal – is confronted by the fact that levels of toxic chemical in beef are 5000 (yes, five thousand) times higher in the US than the EU considers safe.
Less than 24 hours after Mr Rees-Mogg’s appointment, the House of Commons’ cross-party Public Accounts Committee pointed to huge difficulties at the borders that Boris’s Brexit built. Worse is likely once travel picks up post-Covid restrictions and full border checks are introduced. PAC Chair Meg Hillier said: “the only detectable impact of Brexit so far is increased costs, paperwork and border delays.”. ( The Guardian 14 Feb 2022)