Brexit: the ballad of Digby Jones

David Allen Green in the Financial Times:

On Tuesday, there was a tweet about Brexit from Lord Digby Jones. He is the former director-general of the UK’s CBI business lobby group and he served as a government minister for trade and investment when Gordon Brown was prime minister. Lord Jones is a legislator in the House of Lords and promotes himself as an authority on business. You would expect not only that he would know what he is talking about, but also that he had something worth saying. You would be wrong. The tweet said: “So that’s trade deals with both the US & Oz in the bag. Remoaners must be hating this.” Where does one begin? What do ridiculous statements like this signify? The second sentence can be quickly dismissed. It is in the language of the playground, not the upper house of parliament. But the first sentence warrants closer inspection. This is because it is false and misleading to an impressive degree. Trade agreements between Britain and the US and Australia are not “in the bag”. They are nowhere near the bag. The bag is not in sight, and it may never be.

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