Counting the cost of Brexit inaction

Source: www.politico.eu --- Saturday, August 11, 2018
LONDON — Close your eyes. Imagine for a moment that you’re waking up on June 24, 2016 and turn on the TV to hear that Remain had won the U.K.’s EU referendum. Prime Minister David Cameron is standing at a lectern in front of No. 10, flushed with success but also keen to reassure Brits that he’ll be dedicating the final three or four years of his premiership to reuniting a divided country by tackling “the big issues we all know need addressing.” OK. Now wake from that dream — or maybe that nightmare. What would those big issues be? Since the vote, Britain’s political debate has been so overtaken by the tortuous practicalities and politics of Brexit, that the notion of government tackling anything else — let alone “big issues” — seems remote. Everyone’s list will be different, of course, but here, in rough order of said issues’ importance to voters, is mine. * * * Health The National Health Service is under severe strain as the state funding required to keep it free for those who need it fails to keep pace with the growing demands placed upon it. If experience is anything to go by, the default solution (if solution is the right word) is rationing via longer waiting times, narrower coverage and less capital investment. Brexit has inflamed the debate and made delivering a workable solution to address people’s concerns even more unlikely Unless, that is, someone finally grabs the bull by the horns and goes for hypothecated taxation a ...

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