Current Affairs Politics

Has The Brexit Armageddon Scenario Softened Or Hardened UK Opinion?

The weekend publication by the Sunday Times newspaper of a leaked “no deal” Brexit study by a group of government officials in London seems to have spooked more than a few commentators and politicians in the UK. Even allowing for exaggerated reporting by the British and international press, based on the alarming predictions in the worse-case “Armageddon” scenario, one suspects that all but the most ardent Eurosceptics may have been shocked by what they read. The arcana of interstate free trade and customs agreements may be one thing, but this:

Britain would be hit with shortages of medicine, fuel and food within a fortnight if the UK tries to leave the European Union without a deal, according to a Doomsday Brexit scenario drawn up by senior civil servants for David Davis.

Whitehall has begun contingency planning for the port of Dover to collapse “on day one” if Britain crashes out of the EU, leading to critical shortages of supplies.

Of the three possible outcomes that might emerge from the chaotic withdrawal negotiations between Britain and the European Union, the doomsday result seems the most unlikely. However, this is the one which most closely resembles the form of separation preferred by the hardcore of the dominant anti-EU Brexiteer camp in the UK. Despite the mixed – and often contradictory – messages coming from the balkanised Conservative Party administration of prime minister Theresa May, there is a strong impression that the adults in Whitehall and Westminster are aware of the dangers lurking ahead and are prepared to compromise on an exit deal, one which will be to the advantage of Brussels (and Dublin). It’s that, or Britain will be gong into a full throttle, balls-to-the-wall hard Brexit dive and to hell with the subsequent consequences.

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4 comments on “Has The Brexit Armageddon Scenario Softened Or Hardened UK Opinion?

  1. The thing that strikes me is the unwillingness of British politicians to actually come out and say clearly just how severe impacts will be under given scenarios to British people. There’s a huge aversion to doing so despite the mounting evidence of real problems ahead, even under fairly ‘soft’ Brexits. Wonder what that’s about. Sometimes it seems as if the psychodramas of the Tories are more important to themselves than what is taking place – or perhaps it’s a form of displacement activity, easier to slug it out between one another rather than face the oncoming storm.

    On a related subject, Richard North’s blog, EUREFERENDUM, written from a pro-Leave, but pro-EEA status approach (a position I tend to think is the only reasonable one that upholds both the reality of the referendum result and the need for the UK to engage across a raft of areas usefully with its closest neighbour – the EU) is both good and fascinating to see how he is tearing his hair out at this stage in relation to the sheer lack of engagement on the part of British politicians, media, commentariat and so on.

    • I see that the David Davis faction is briefing the UK press that the Brexit SOS might resign if Theresa May doesn’t agree to a fixed end date on the backstop clause. The Gove faction might be onboard with that, though only with the intention of ensuring no UK-EU-IRE soft Brexit deal when the period runs out. Kicking the can down the road in the hope of pulling the wool of over the eyes of Brussels and Dublin, and their own domestic opposition.

      Yeah, that is a fascinating blog. I’m not sure why the EEA is a better deal than full Brexit if you are a Leave advocate in the first place? I mean, why Brexit at all if your alternative is an EU-adjunct? Moving into a shed at the bottom of the garden instead of living in the main house with everyone else? You are still on the property and beholden to some extent to those you still share it with.

  2. Meanwhile, Davis and co are still fighting amongst themselves about the ‘backstop’ to the Irish border problem, seemingly oblivious to the realities.

    • I can only agree; I cannot understand why the cabinet is arguing over something that has already been rejected. I don’t think they know something we don’t; more likely, it’s some sort of gamesmanship, expecting the EU to keel over. That seems most unlikely.

      As you say, some major political event is ever more likely; Davis may resign, for example. Then where are things? A cliff edge Brexit would be so damaging, yet there are those who think the pain would be worth it. Of course, they are the ones who won’t feel the pain. And if Dover collapses soon after 29 March next year, what then? How does the food get in? There can’t be any planes; this sort of scenario is frightening.

      For some of us, there is the prospect of nipping down to Dundalk or Monaghan for the shopping. We might quite get to enjoy it. Meanwhile, the DUP seems determined to drive forward with a united Ireland policy, at least that’s what their actions are doing. Has the world gone mad?

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