The leaking last week of the classified UK government report on the impact of a no-deal Brexit, codenamed Yellowhammer, should, in a logical world, come as a wake-up call to the British establishment that’s championing Brexit and favouring the no-deal variety.
However, as far as Brexit is concerned, we do not live in a logical world. Indeed, Britain is currently displaying behaviours that suggest some variety of serious illness.
Faced with such dire consequences, the rhetoric and actions of those who are driving the economy there towards a form of oblivion suggest a total lack of concern for what is coming down the track.
Perhaps they still naively believe that walking away from free access to a market of over 420 million people will free the country up to do all sorts of trade deals with numerous exotic countries around the world.
The best of luck with that.
The reality is that trade deals take many years to negotiate and that geography is the biggest driver of trade.
It doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out that countries generally do most business with neighbouring countries.
The further away you go, the less trade will be conducted.
The huge EU market is on Britain’s doorstep and so logically should be the focus of attention.
Yet, for historical reasons of empire, many British seem to believe they are superior to those “pesky” Europeans and that those same Europeans will come begging at their door to do a trade deal once they realise just how big a loss the UK is to the EU.
Perhaps they are right, but only time will tell.
The British government’s response to Yellowhammer was that the report is out of date and reflects older thinking.
But it does appear to have been written about three weeks ago and certainly, the conclusions reached are very hard to disagree with.
Yellowhammer paints a pretty dire picture of what the days and months after October 31 could look like.
More startling, it admits that the public and businesses remain largely unprepared for a no-deal Brexit.
It blames “Brexit fatigue” for this, which is a phenomenon that we on this side of the Irish sea can certainly relate to.
Among the consequences, the attitudes of some in the UK of a no-deal Brexit spell out the return of a hard border in Ireland; disrupted fuel supply in London; delays of up to two-and-a-half days at French ports for UK trucks; passenger delays at airports and at St Pancras, Dover and the Eurotunnel; a lack of medical supplies; scarcer and more expensive fresh food; clashes on the high seas between UK and EU shipping vessels; and potential clashes on the streets, or civil disorder.
The list is longer than this, but the no-deal Brexiteers remain undaunted and undeterred.
It is utterly bizarre.
This week, the prime minister told the EU and the Taoiseach that his Government will never accept a withdrawal agreement that contains the infamous backstop.
The Irish and EU sides are adamant that the backstop must remain intact. Unless somebody blinks, a no-deal Brexit looks written in stone.
Even if the EU side were to blink, it still appears that the British ultras remain hell-bent on a hard exit.
Blind ideology is driving this process and history shows us that this is always dangerous.
I was fascinated earlier this week to see Ian Holloway, former football manager, claiming that the EU is to blame for the handball rule that saw Gabriel Jesus’s goal for Manchester City against Spurs disallowed and that the UK needs to get out of the EU as quickly as possible.
Holloway has since been quoted in the Mirror as saying: “I don’t like Uefa and I don’t like Fifa telling us what we should do in our English football game.
“We should take control of our own game, then that wouldn’t have happened.
“Let’s get out and stop the EUdictating to us what we can do. I feel exactly the same with Uefa and Fifa over our football.”
Where exactly are the English going?
A few weeks back, I questioned myself about the dangers inherent in the Irish Government’s adherence to the backstop, and the answer I eventually reached was that there is no other choice based on where all the parties are now.
The best solution would have been a border in the Irish Sea, and a special EU status for the North.
That option was vetoed by the UK government, largely at the instigation of the DUP heroes, and we were left with the backstop option.
The Irish Government must stand its ground and hopefully, the EU will continue to back us all the way.
Unless there is a remarkable conversion on the road to Damascus, it is hard to see, but still not impossible, how a hard Brexit and a hard border can be avoided.
Source: Business News