Our example here today is the evergreen Will Hutton. Of course, he believes that Brexit is a bad idea, thus there must be examples of why Brexit is a bad idea:
Yet misguided rightwing ideology now governs our affairs. For the British Eurosceptics, Europe has become so toxic nobody can think straight. Thus a footnote to the five-paragraph Brexit bill declares that Britain is to leave Euratom, the organisation set up in parallel with the EU to ensure safety standards in the European nuclear industry. It has the power to cut deals with countries outside the EU and is one of the linchpins of the global nuclear safety order. But none of that now matters. Britain is to compromise its nuclear safety standards, lose the world-leading research facilities in Culham and imperil an industry in which it is comparatively strong – for what? Nothing, except to appease the rightwing press, Ukip and Tory Eurosceptics.
Culham is a decent enough research institution and it's largely domestically funded. Why we would stop that is uncertain. There is indeed a Euratom/EU programme there, working on fusion.
Which might indeed stop when the current 2018 contract comes to an end. But we're really deeply unsure that the EU will raze the walls and plow the land with salt as they leave.
But there's more to it than that. Fusion research is being done by government because it's a public good. Once we know how to do it generally then everyone will know how to do it generally. It doesn't matter who finds out, once someone has then we all get power too cheap to meter. We can't even dream about the profits to be made from having found out - the entire point about the knowledge being a public good being that there are no profits to encourage the private sector to do the work that's why taxpayers are.
So, why is it that Hutton is straining as one sans Exlax to find something bad to say? Simply because Hutton knows that Brexit is bad therefore something must be found to show that it is. And standard economics be danged, who cares about that when there are political points to be made?