Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Nightmare Brexit Scenario is Permanent Vassal Status

There was a particularly stupid story splashed across the Sunday Times at the weekend. As ever with these sort of front page stories, there was less to it than met the eye when you read the headline. But there was, in some ways, more to it too.

If you missed it the story was that the civil service has various doomsday plans for if we leave the EU next year with no deal. This is startling, I'm sure you will agree, because we have been led to believe that the Government has been making no plans at all for this scenario. It is part of the reason why we have such a poor negotiating hand. Yet what is this? It seems that there are plans for what might happen should it all go wrong. And it has mysteriously been leaked to a journalist. Who would have thought?

The scenarios envisaged were ridiculous, extreme and patently intended as a means of terrorising the country into accepting that we need to do a deal, any deal, to prevent these nightmare scenarios from happening. But one doesn't need to be a highly paid civil servant with an overactive imagination to believe all of this drivel. In one scenario there would be food shortages within days and drugs would start to run out.

Think about that for a moment though and it makes no sense. We are told that there are plans in place for huge lorry parks in and around Dover in case of a no deal so as to cope with the queues and hold-ups. But that is for us exporting to Europe. How would it lead to shortages on our shelves? The Government would likely simply throw open our borders initially anyway and so if anything importing goods would become easier. Our shelves would groan under as many or more goods as previously. Food would probably become cheaper too, since we would be able to source it from wherever we liked.

No what is happening here is the latest project fear tactics as it becomes increasingly likely that we are not going to get a deal. This is increasingly likely because the EU is refusing to contemplate any kind of compromise, any kind of reasonable approach. Last week we were told that various leading Tories on the backbenches, people like Amber Rudd and Damien Green, are urging compromise. Yet this rather overlooks the fact that we have been compromising and acquiescing all along. And wasn't the money we agreed to pay in return for a trade deal? Why is it that the EU still thinks it can get away with treating us this way and still get that much needed cash?

The truth is that they think this because useful idiots here at home are encouraging them to make no deal and to keep tightening the screws. These are the same useful idiots who no doubt leaked these absurd nightmare scenarios to Tim Shipman of The Sunday Times. They think that they can force into accepting a permanent status that means we are rule takers, a country outside but still inside for all intents and purposes, still sending them money and no great threat to them commercially. Quite the opposite in fact because they would be able to set rules that would neuter any threat

Last week the EU was in full righteous indignation mode as Donald Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminium products. There was and is much talk of a trade war. Yet the same panjandrums who so sniffily make condescending remarks about Trump's trade war have effectively declared a trade war on the UK. We should be furious about their intransigence, arrogance and at the quislings on our own shores who side with them in the hope of keeping us either semi-detached or calling the whole thing off.

Nobody ever said that leaving the EU would be easy. But there is no reason at all for it to be this hard. The EU is making it as hard as they possibly can through sheer dogmatic intransigence and an arrogant disdain for democracy. Theresa May will head to yet another summit this month and will be treated with the same condescension and rudeness as on many other occasions. It is time for her to stand up to them and to walk away if necessary ensuring that, when she does so, she makes it clear that no deal means no money. We will leave next March if necessary. It might mean a few queues at Dover and other ports, it might cause a few short term difficulties, but after that we will continue trading with the EU just as we do with the rest of the world. We somehow manage to do this without shortages and without bureaucratic foul ups.  Furthermore we will take a low regulation and low tax approach that will represent a real threat to their cosy sclerotic dirigisme.  The only nightmare scenario should be one felt in Brussels that their bluff would at long last be called. Maybe Mrs May should take a hint or two from Donald Trump. His negotiation style may leave a lot to be desired, but her reasonable diplomatic approach doesn't seem to be doing any better does it.

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