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.