Dominic Raab Visit To US
The very first thing about this is how wierd it is that Johnson is sending the Foreign Secretary on a trade mission when the Minister for Overseas Trade and Development is Liz Truss. Odd...? Yeah, I thought so too.
Be that as it may......
For those of you who have never heard of the snivelling nonentity, Our Foreign Secretary is Dominic Raab (rhymes with 'barb' ). Before we start here are a few examples of his record in Government:
As Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (DexEU) he was instrumental in drafting the Teresa May Withdrawal Agreement......... and then promptly resigned from his post in opposition to it as soon as the bad press started.
In 2018 he claimed that immigration had caused house prices in England to rise by 20%. When challenged by the Department for National Statistics to provide evidence to support his claim he withdrew the statement.
In November 2018, when still DexEU he was cornered into admitting that he had no idea the port of Dover (only 26 miles from Calais and Britain's biggest and most indispensable trading port since the Middle Ages) was so important. He said: " “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing."
Wow... Dover is important?? No s***, Sherlock.
Raab then set in place a government plan with ferry firms to provide additional shipping to handle extra freight going in and out of Dover. Unfortunately one of the companies he gave a lucrative government contract to, Seaborne Freight,* turned out to.... er.... not have any ships.
Yes, you read that right. They not only didn't have any ships, but Raab's department signed the legally binding contract without reading the company's terms and conditions which, on closer examination, were found out to have been cut and pasted directly from the website of an online takeaway food outlet. (you couldn't make this up, could you..?)
The T's & C's contained items such as how to order a meal and other little gems like.... oh, read it yourself.....
Seaborne Freight T's and C's
Labour MP Mike Gapes tweeted: "Well. Well. Fish and Chips, Curry, Chinese, Kebab or Pizza. Seaborne Freight certainly have plans to Take Away our money."
So......... this is the man Britain is sending to the US to negotiate a trade deal which is absolutely imperative to Britain in terms of the success (don't make me laugh) of Brexit.
Raab will have to deal with tough negotiators who are not there to do Britain any favours and who know we are in an extremely weak and vulnerable position.
Sending Dominic Raab? We couldn't be in worse hands if we sent Mr Bean.
He's kicked off in fine form, expecting a huge series of upsides. No idea how, as we have such a weak position from which to bargain for anything.
I wonder if the US will mention the Good Friday Agreement? I hope not because as of yesterday's newspapers he admitted he hadn't even read it.
Dominic Raab: Good Friday Agreement
Dominic Raab has become the latest politician to admit an embarrassing lack of knowledge when it comes to the six counties across the Irish Sea.
Appearing before the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee, Raab was asked by the unionist MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, “Have you read the Good Friday Agreement?” He replied: “Well, I haven’t sat down, and started from the beginning and gone through it.”
(it's only 35 pages long. It's hardly Lord of the Rings).
But enough of the incompetence of Dominic Raab. He's going to Washington and that's that, and he's going to jolly well tell you American chappies that we need a deal quickly so you'd better get your finger out. No dilly-dallying, now.
So... what is the current situation..? Well, at the moment the US is Britain's second largest trading partner:
British annual sales to European Union countries: £353,981,863,263
British annual sales to United States £80,568,126,775
So obviously, ditching trade with the EU to strike a deal with the US is clearly in Britain's interests. Not.
The nub of the figure above is this. We sell more to the US than we buy.
Quite simply, my Transatlantic cousins.... The irony is that we currently run a trade surplus with the US, and we know what Trump thinks of countries who do that. This isn't going to end well for Britain, is it....?
Another thing is, that as EU members, we already have a trade deal with the US. That automatically ends when / if we leave the EU. Our current tariff rate with the US is 2%. Does anybody think a new arrangement, struck by Raab of all people... and under WTO rules will give us that..? Nah. I don't think so either.
The American point of view has already been spelled out by former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers who was in Britain earlier this week and spoke on BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme that he did not believe a “desperate” UK would manage to secure a good post-Brexit trade deal.
“Britain has no leverage, Britain is desperate … it needs an agreement very soon. When you have a desperate partner, that’s when you strike the hardest bargain.”
I don't blame him for pointing that out, and I don't blame the US for kicking Britain in the balls. I can't imagine any scenario where Britain will come out of this with a better deal than the one we have now as EU members... or even anything that maintains our trade surplus.
Trump's men will show us no mercy. No matter how upbeat and optimistic Dominic Raab is.
What do you guys over there think is going to happen in these trade negotiations...?? How is this going to pan out from your end..?
Knowing Raab, the only thing he'll come back with is an agreement to buy automatic rifles for the entire British population. At least Priti Patel would be happy..!!
The Johnson government is pinning all it's hopes.... is gambling the most important part of the trading future of the country...... on one spin of a roulette wheel.
And the wheel is rigged.
*Seaborne Freight (UK) Limited were only founded in April 2018, and barely registered with Lloyds of London before they were offered a contract by Raab's department in October 2018 and signed in December 2018.
The people who owned the business weren't exactly squeaky clean. Seaborne's founder and Chief Operating Officer, Glenn Dudley, was imprisoned for two months for possessing a shotgun and the company's chief executive, Ben Sharp, previously ran a ship chartering business, that was forced into liquidation following court petitions from HM Revenue and Customs. The amount of unpaid tax was not stated, but the former company had a total of £1.78m in unpaid debts.
How this company - that appeared out of nowhere just as an announcement to award shipping contracts was announced - were awarded a contract without any checks being made about them or having any track record in freight shipping is astonishing.
Questions were asked by a Parliamentary committee of inquiry but everybody harrumphed and passed the buck and records were lost and details of meetings, etc mysteriously disappeared........ You get the picture.
Although Raab was the prime mover and shaker in making sure Seaborne Freight were awarded a contract, what little blame that did get apportioned fell on the shoulders of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling... otherwise known in British Politics as "Failing Grayling" for his calamitous performance in every department he has ever had a hand in. Such as the justice Department..... But I'll keep that for another day.
If you think by now that Raab is a walking disaster area, wait until you read about Grayling..!!