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The reality of no-deal Brexit can no longer be distorted The reality of no-deal Brexit can no longer be distorted
(2 months later)
It was characteristically shrewd of the European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to place an assessment of the real state of play in last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph.It was characteristically shrewd of the European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to place an assessment of the real state of play in last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph.
It was in the Sunday Telegraph over the years that Boris Johnson, when he was based in Brussels, devoted his so-called reporting to consistently misleading stories about what our membership of the EU was really about.It was in the Sunday Telegraph over the years that Boris Johnson, when he was based in Brussels, devoted his so-called reporting to consistently misleading stories about what our membership of the EU was really about.
Persistently negative, Johnson revelled in distorting reality. He was so lazy that he often had to ask the Guardian’s John Palmer what was really going on – before then distorting it. In the past week the true nature of this charlatan has been available for all to witness on television as he has squirmed his way through a series of welcome parliamentary defeats, brought upon himself, with the aid of his chief “strategist”, one Dominic Cummings.Persistently negative, Johnson revelled in distorting reality. He was so lazy that he often had to ask the Guardian’s John Palmer what was really going on – before then distorting it. In the past week the true nature of this charlatan has been available for all to witness on television as he has squirmed his way through a series of welcome parliamentary defeats, brought upon himself, with the aid of his chief “strategist”, one Dominic Cummings.
Among other things in last weekend’s article, Barnier pointed out that the arrangement by which the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would remain open, via the continuation of a UK-wide customs union – the so-called backstop – was negotiated at the UK’s request (my italics). It is this that our egregious prime minister has been trying to dispense with, in a way that would risk a return of the Troubles and undoing the patiently negotiated Good Friday agreement.Among other things in last weekend’s article, Barnier pointed out that the arrangement by which the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would remain open, via the continuation of a UK-wide customs union – the so-called backstop – was negotiated at the UK’s request (my italics). It is this that our egregious prime minister has been trying to dispense with, in a way that would risk a return of the Troubles and undoing the patiently negotiated Good Friday agreement.
Of course, alas, distortions in the British media’s reporting of anything to do with “Brussels” are not confined to the Telegraph. This is the weekend of the Ambrosetti forum, at the Villa d’Este, Lake Como. Here, two years ago, I witnessed a speech by Barnier that was thoroughly reasonable but widely misreported in the British media – including, I regret to say, by the BBC.Of course, alas, distortions in the British media’s reporting of anything to do with “Brussels” are not confined to the Telegraph. This is the weekend of the Ambrosetti forum, at the Villa d’Este, Lake Como. Here, two years ago, I witnessed a speech by Barnier that was thoroughly reasonable but widely misreported in the British media – including, I regret to say, by the BBC.
When I returned to London I could hardly believe the way Barnier had been reported. The theme was that the rest of the EU were out to punish us. What he actually said was that there would be consequences, for us and them, if we went ahead with Brexit.When I returned to London I could hardly believe the way Barnier had been reported. The theme was that the rest of the EU were out to punish us. What he actually said was that there would be consequences, for us and them, if we went ahead with Brexit.
By the way, I have no idea what the outcome of this farce is going to be, but I do know that many of us Remainers regret that over the years we ourselves were not more positive about the advantages of belonging to a powerful customs union, with more than 70 trade agreements, and a single market that has brought many good things to our daily lives, to say nothing of all the environmental and safety benefits, as well as freedom of movement – often confused with the separate issue of immigration.By the way, I have no idea what the outcome of this farce is going to be, but I do know that many of us Remainers regret that over the years we ourselves were not more positive about the advantages of belonging to a powerful customs union, with more than 70 trade agreements, and a single market that has brought many good things to our daily lives, to say nothing of all the environmental and safety benefits, as well as freedom of movement – often confused with the separate issue of immigration.
When the deluded army of Brexiters goes on about the British people having spoken, I start counting the spoonsWhen the deluded army of Brexiters goes on about the British people having spoken, I start counting the spoons
The reason why there is so much sudden interest in warding off the no-deal, “let’s get on with it” scenario is that any form of Brexit would be bad news – but no deal would be the worst of the lot.The reason why there is so much sudden interest in warding off the no-deal, “let’s get on with it” scenario is that any form of Brexit would be bad news – but no deal would be the worst of the lot.
As Barnier says: “The EU cannot prevent the UK from choosing a no-deal scenario. I would fail to understand the logic of that choice, though, as we would still need to solve the same problems after 31 October” – or later, as may now be the case.As Barnier says: “The EU cannot prevent the UK from choosing a no-deal scenario. I would fail to understand the logic of that choice, though, as we would still need to solve the same problems after 31 October” – or later, as may now be the case.
As Sir Ivan Rogers, our former ambassador to the EU, recently pointed out, courtesy of that den of Brexiters, the Spectator: “The central problem with no deal is that it is being heavily (mis)sold as providing certainty, finality – a ‘clean break’ – when it would manifestly do nothing of the sort.”As Sir Ivan Rogers, our former ambassador to the EU, recently pointed out, courtesy of that den of Brexiters, the Spectator: “The central problem with no deal is that it is being heavily (mis)sold as providing certainty, finality – a ‘clean break’ – when it would manifestly do nothing of the sort.”
The short-term shock would be bad enough – well outlined in No Deal Brexit, a publication from the thinktank The UK in a Changing Europe. But as Rogers writes: “The reality of no deal is that it would leave all the most intractable issues about our future relationship with the EU unresolved … It would, in other words, be just the start, not the end.”The short-term shock would be bad enough – well outlined in No Deal Brexit, a publication from the thinktank The UK in a Changing Europe. But as Rogers writes: “The reality of no deal is that it would leave all the most intractable issues about our future relationship with the EU unresolved … It would, in other words, be just the start, not the end.”
We have reached the stage where, at a time when economic indicators suggest that the British economy may already be in recession, it is reported as good news that the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, now says that the short-term impact of no deal would be “only” a fall of 5.5% in gross domestic product, not the Bank’s original 8%, on account of the precautionary measures already taken.We have reached the stage where, at a time when economic indicators suggest that the British economy may already be in recession, it is reported as good news that the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, now says that the short-term impact of no deal would be “only” a fall of 5.5% in gross domestic product, not the Bank’s original 8%, on account of the precautionary measures already taken.
Such a fall would far outweigh the deleterious impact of the 1979-82 and 1990-92 recessions, which went down in history as the worst since the Great Depression of the interwar years. Enough said?Such a fall would far outweigh the deleterious impact of the 1979-82 and 1990-92 recessions, which went down in history as the worst since the Great Depression of the interwar years. Enough said?
Now, when the deluded army of Brexiters goes on about the British people having spoken, I start counting the spoons. Let the British people speak again, on a basis of much more information.Now, when the deluded army of Brexiters goes on about the British people having spoken, I start counting the spoons. Let the British people speak again, on a basis of much more information.
As House of Commons briefing paper 07212 sets out in respect of the 2016 referendum: it was “consultative”. It continues: “The UK does not have constitutional provisions which would require the results of a referendum to be implemented.”As House of Commons briefing paper 07212 sets out in respect of the 2016 referendum: it was “consultative”. It continues: “The UK does not have constitutional provisions which would require the results of a referendum to be implemented.”
EconomicsEconomics
William Keegan's In My View William Keegan's in my view
BrexitBrexit
Michel BarnierMichel Barnier
Boris JohnsonBoris Johnson
European UnionEuropean Union
Foreign policyForeign policy
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