Monday, 26 December 2016

Brexit and Malaria and what they have in common

An old friend of mine was an intensive care specialist at a prestigious hospital. He told me of a case he once had to deal with, of a wealthy business man who went hunting in Africa every year. All had gone well for ten years but in the eleventh he’d returned suffering from malaria in an advanced state and spent several weeks in Intensive Care, much of the time close to death.

“But,” my friend asked him, “didn’t you take anti-malaria tablets?”

“Not this time.”

“You mean, you always had before, but just decided that this year you wouldn’t?”

“Yes,” replied the patient, “you see, I never had any trouble in the previous years, so I decided I didn’t need them this time.”

Christmas this year was fun. As well as many English friends and relatives, we also saw people from abroad, mostly from other countries of the EU. We took full advantage of the opportunity to do so since, in two or three years, it may become a great deal harder. 2016 has turned into the year of the wall: Trump won office in the States on a promise to build one, England and Wales voted to retreat behind new barriers to separate them from their nearest neighbours.

So, though fun Christmas was also poignant.

Still, I’m assured by Brexiteers, not least on Twitter, that I’m wrong to see Brexit as anything but an opportunity. It seems that it will give us the chance to strike some exciting new business deals.

Presumably that would be impressive deals, like the one that allows us to trade without customs or other barriers, with the world’s biggest trading block, embracing over 500 million people and three of the world’s top seven economies. That would be the rest of EU. The organisation to which we still belong, for the next two or three years, and which absorbs over half our total trade.

We can get out and strike some new deals with major economic powers. Like Bahrain, recently visited by Theresa May, and worth 0.3% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product.

Bahrain: ideal post-Brexit partner, worth about 1/300th of the EU
And the labour practices are a great model for the times
when all those pesky EU regulations have been swept away
Still, she also went to India, whose GDP is about 44% of the size of the EU. Per head of population that’s only one-seventh of Germany, but let’s not get pedantic about matters of detail.

Anyway, we’ve been a member the European Union for 43 years, and we’ve barely notice the trade benefits. Why should we need them now?

It’s just like malaria tablets. Take them, and you never get malaria. And if you never get malaria, why bother to take the tablets?


Awoogamuffin said...

This is why I've been rigorously applying my tiger repellant spray for years now

David Beeson said...

Whoops. Nobody told you that since Britain joined, the risk of a tiger attack, anywhere within the EU's territory, has been at so low a level as to be negligible?