This Australian trade deal shows how ‘Global Britain’ has already lost its way | Rafael Behr


Just like the prime minister’s promises on Brexit, Boris Johnson’s pledges of support to UK farmers will ring hollow

You can tell that British farmers will be betrayed by Boris Johnson by the way he promises to look after them. The prime minister has pledged support equivalent to forfeited European subsidies. He says the sector will be safe from cut-price competition when new free trade deals are signed. He has told Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union, that he would “rather die” than hurt her members. Really? Death before cheap beef? Maybe Johnson can honour those pledges, but it would be out of character.

It would also defeat the purpose of Brexit for many Tory MPs. “Take back control” signalled many things to voters, but to Eurosceptic ideologues it meant liberation from the EU’s common external tariff. Having trade policy run from Brussels was proof of Britain’s colonisation by continental bureaucrats. Deals with non-Europeans are the prize for emancipation.

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