There’s a lot of huffing and puffing going on at the moment about how the Government is ‘actively pursuing a No Deal Brexit’, as if Boris and his team have no other plan in mind.
Even this morning in the paper Ruth Davison (apparently no fan of Boris), was saying how she couldn’t remember anyone in the referendum debate saying they wanted to actively crash out (that fabulous phrase) with No Deal, and she didn’t think the Government should pursue a No Deal Brexit.
Yet, at no point has any of the current or previous leadership said that No Deal was their preferred choice. In fact, the only reason No Deal is even an option is because, a) it’s the legal default under Article 50 if no deal is arranged in the specific time, b) the Government voted in Article 50 by a large majority knowing this to be the case, and c) then continued to repeatedly reject Theresa May’s deal. Who are the ones actively pursuing No Deal?
For what it’s worth, here’s how I think it way play out (based on Martin Howe QC’s article in the latest Spectator):
1) No Deal preparations will go through the the roof, which we’re already starting to see in the activities of Sajid Javid, Liz Truss, Michael Gove, and (presumably) Dominic Cummings with the huge planned No Deal media blitz.
2) This will have a two-fold effect, first it will enrage both Remainers politicians and the media, helpfully keeping No Deal front and centre in people’s minds and, secondly, put the fear of Jeebubs up the EU, who, in their current financial state (particularly in Germany), simply cannot afford No Deal. Mrs von der Layen is already offering an extension.
3) Meanwhile, the UK Government will work on their own free-trade deal in secret (along with other FTAs with America etc. Not so secretly). This new agreement, based on GATT, will include a tariff-free interim agreement to get us over 31st October and out of the Union. The Government will present to the EU ‘at a time of their choosing’ (to borrow a phrase). This will allow both the EU, specifically Messrs. Barnier, Junker et al, plus the Irish Government a way of backing down from the precipitous and unstable ledge they have stepped up on to, as well as unify those divided by the current deal, which I’m fairly sure is regarded as dead in the water by the present administration. The first step in doing this would be to settle the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK Expats in the EU. The first thing Boris did in his Thursday was to guarantee the rights of EU Citizens (and I agree, it should have been done three years ago), so we’re already off to a good start there…
4) We will leave on (if not before) the 31st October and everyone will be happy and think Boris is the best thing since pay-as-you-go bikes.