As the death toll from Corvid19 mounts with relentless news bulletins to match, for an instant -and it was only an instant, I thought I might have preferred things as they were last year with Laura Kuenssberg ever on the airwaves describing the latest twists in the BREXIT saga.
Then just on cue, an email campaign started up demanding that, because of the coronavirus pandemic, our departure from the BREXIT transition period on 31 Dec this year should be delayed. Gadzooks emails with BREXIT and Corvid19 rolled into one!
The email addresses from which these demands emanate seem somewhat familiar: I suspect they are the same addresses from which earlier demands were made that BREXIT be abandoned altogether.
We will have to see how things pan-out, but my prejudice is not to abandon the December deadline. The Government has already demonstrated its ability to negotiate successfully with the EU in short order.
Furthermore, were we to extend the transition we would face steep increases in financial contributions as we entered the new 7 year budgeting period.
Rather more worrying, given the state of the Eurozone, is the possibility of being roped into bailouts and ballooning liabilities of the European Investment Bank.
EU law might well constrain policy options as we seek to boost economic a recovery from the pandemic.
As an afterthought, one correspondent added that Coronavirus protective equipment should not be subject to VAT. Of course, we can’t change EU VAT rules until the transition period ends.
Far from prolonging our departure from the transition period, we should seek to accelerate it.