Should-Read: If British politics were even a quarter rational, Brexit would now be quietly forgotten by everyone. But British politics—like U.S. politics—is less than a quarter rational. Brexit in name only—which means that Britain is to some degree ruled from but has no influence on Brussels—seems to be where both the Tories and current Labour are going: Simon Wren-Lewis: Labour’s embrace of a customs union could end the Brexit fantasy: “The UK was always going to stay in a customs union with the EU the moment that the EU put the Irish border as one of the three items to be settled at the first stage…

…The EU would not sign any trade agreement which resulted in a hard border. To avoid a hard border Northern Ireland has to be in a customs union with the EU and in the Single Market for goods. There is no wish in the UK to have a sea border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Parliament will not allow a No Deal Brexit. So any deal will have to involve the UK being in the Customs Union…. Labour triangulating over Brexit… support[ing] staying in a customs union….

Labour’s move could start to unravel Brexit…. The emphasis that Labour put on avoiding a hard Irish border requires staying in the single market for goods. If this is helpful for goods, why not services which are the UK’s comparative advantage? We need doctors and nurses from the EU to save our NHS. Each time we take a step further to BINO (Brexit in name only) it becomes clear it is better to have a seat at the table. This is the only way that Brexit can end…


Brad DeLong


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