Richmond Council’s Liberal Democrat administration has today announced that it is looking at setting up a free trade area with the borough’s twin towns of Fontainebleau in France and Konstanz in Germany. The initiative is a move designed to circumvent the U.K.’s exit from the EU and will allow complete free movement of goods, services and people between the three cities. In a statement Richmond Council leader Red Robbo Roberts said “We are undertaking this agreement to ensure the prosperity of Richmond and our partners in France and Germany against the background of Brexit. It’s a win win win situation for us all. Unlike neighbouring Hounslow we do not have our own airport to facilitate trade however we are the only London Borough covering both sides of the Thames and so we expect to make use of that”.
Rumours leaking from York House suggest that El Brute has engaged a company called Seaborne Freight to investigate setting up an old style “free port” either at Richmond Lock or at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham. Goods would be brought in by barge for onward distribution to all four corners of the borough, or five if you include Hampton Wick.
The idea is based on the Hanseatic League which operated in northern Germany from the 14th to 17th centuries. El Brute’s modern version in conjunction with Les Brutes and der Bruts is something that could be expanded to include its other twin town of Richmond, Virginia should UK tariffs on tobacco reach excessively high levels or should there be a surge in demand for low quality foodstuffs. Twickenham MP Vince Cable, a vocal opponent of Brexit, is supportive of the plan but neighbouring Richmond’s Europhobic MP Zac Goldsmith is expected to strongly oppose it, possibly through the use of some kind of injunction or by means of a river blockade.
The proposal will be put to the vote at Richmond Council this week… and next week… and the week after that. And the week after that too.