It is worth saying again that nothing is in a box, and so it is not appropriate to talk about trade and trade policy as only an economic manoeuvre
It is worth saying again that nothing is in a box, and so it is not appropriate to talk about trade and trade policy as only an economic manoeuvre. Trade has a huge impact on every aspect of our lives, from the price of tomatoes to how much pollution gets washed into our seas, and so we must be very responsible when we are a trading partner.
The various impacts of climate change, including hotter summers and more severe flooding, have barely been acknowledged by this Government. A local firefighter recently told me that they now spend more time dealing with floods than with fires, yet the Government do not see fit to give them dedicated funding for that. This is a Government who are unable to see the interconnectedness of everything. There has been a dire lack of political leadership, but there is a way forward if we can develop a coherent plan which includes all our trade commitments, with emissions targets for each sector of our economy. This would give businesses some certainty, which at the moment they are missing.
We also need a consistent regulatory system for each sector, co-ordinated work across the whole of government – I nearly laughed when I said that – minimising the costs of transition to a zero-carbon economy and consent by public and politicians. That means being transparent and explaining what we are going to do, so that there is buy-in from everybody.
We need the government has to start doing all the things that enable a country to pull together towards a desired end. That applies to Covid, to the climate emergency and to trade.