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Break Bulk Americas

LONDON: June 26, 2018. What constitutes a threat to national security? Russian cyber attacks? ISIS? Central American immigrants on the Texas border? Canada? Boris Johnson?

Donald Trump has popularized the phrase to justify his behaviour. The good news, if that’s possible, is the term has now been broadened to encompass more than the threat to human life by foreign extremists.

Now, thanks to Trump, just about anything can be described as a ‘national security’ threat – so why not domestic economic policies that threaten the lives of many millions?

A conglomerate of American, Japanese, Indian and Canadian business groups have called on the UK government for “legal certainty” to avoid a ‘No Deal’ Brexit - suggesting wealth-generating companies in North America and Asia have become more than worried.

BMW UK says no access to the EU Customs Union after March 2019 will lead to its own Brexit and the loss of 8,000 jobs; Airbus has suggested a similar outcome – as has Siemens.

Now the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, representing investments of over €2 trillion last year and supporting more than 4.7 million jobs, has become the latest business group to warn Britain about its xenophobic self-destruction.

But the Conservative government only wants to read its own press releases. Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Dave Davis, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt, plus their propaganda puppeteer William Rees-Mogg, appear impervious, if not imperious, to the uncertainty that has caused Britain’s economy to lose £440 million a week.

So when does political behaviour become a national security issue?

Trump has demonstrated scant interest in the rule of law with his version of chaos theory. On the other side of the Atlantic the cabal in control of the Conservative government demands similar obeisance – despite dire warnings from just about every economist, think tank and moderate political leader worldwide.

Now the British Parliament has voted to spend £14 billion on a third runway at Heathrow as the country's GDP contracts. How long will it be before rising costs and the declining economy make the added capacity irrelevant?

The suggestion by UK-based manufacturers that their supply chains are threatened by a lack of common sense suggests a new form of public action is required - inspired not by the Labour Party but the logistics industry.

With up to 14 days before Britain’s food, hospital supplies and gasoline begin to run out if there is no agreement on continued access to the Customs Union, the government’s response to make the M26 motorway in the South East of England a parking lot for trucks isn’t going to resolve the issue of just-in-time delivery.

For those old enough to remember bankrupt Britain’s three-day working week in the 1970s, the only way Margaret Thatcher’s government could reduce the subsequent public debt was to privatise state assets.

With just nine months to go before another economic and social blackout, this time the country has little left to sell to foreign investors.

Maybe it’s time the Tory government listened to them.

Simon Keeble is editorial director of HU Digital Media, owner of http://www.freightweek.org

 

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