Brexiters, not Brussels bogeymen, must get blame for no deal

by Luke Lythgoe | 06.08.2018

The Brexiter blame game is in full flow. The chances of a no-deal Brexit have risen to “60-40” thanks to the “intransigence” of the European Commission, claimed Brexiter Liam Fox in an interview with the Sunday Times.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis also piled in, saying the EU risked a “no deal by accident” by making the “massive miscalculation” that the UK was unwilling to walk away without a deal.

Let’s be clear: there’s no one to blame for this mess besides the Brexiters and those who have bent over backwards to facilitate their obsessions – Theresa May leading the way. It was Brexiters who pushed hard for a Leave vote without facing up to the consequences. It was they who pressured their puppet prime minister into triggering Article 50 without a plan. It was they who then propped May up as she squandered precious time with one unworkable Brexit plan after another.

It’s more than a bit rich for Fox to charge that the “theological obsession of the unelected” in Brussels is taking “priority over the economic wellbeing of the ­people of Europe”. He has blindly pursued Brexit despite overwhelming evidence it will be a disaster for the UK economy, whilst serving in a government which failed to secure a majority at the last general election for its platform.

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Downing Street insists it doesn’t share the trade secretary’s fears of no-deal. Among their reasons for optimism must be signs that the EU is prepared to soften its proposal for an Irish border “backstop” to make it more politically palatable to the UK. If Northern Ireland can be fudged, May’s chances of scraping her almost unanimously unpopular Chequers deal through Parliament goes up.

But that’s bad news in itself. It risks a “blind Brexit” where we leave in March, still none the wiser about where we’re heading. Many of the more extreme Brexiters think they can then let the talks run into the ground, ditch the Irish backstop and crash out of the EU with no deal at the end of the transition period. All that does is push the chaos of a no-deal Brexit a couple of years down the line. It would be a catastrophe for the UK and for Ireland.

This begs the question: what do the Brexiters hope to achieve with their blame game? Is it a bid to pressure the EU to buy into May’s deal, thus securing the leave date in March 2019? This assumes the Brexiters still think Europeans are swayed by – or even pay attention to – the interminable Tory squabbling in the UK press. That’s living in fantasyland.

No, the blame game is targeted at a domestic audience. When no-deal warnings broke in early summer they received a very negative reaction from the public. Many Brexiters still want a clean break from the EU, but they also know chaos will be the immediate result.  Jacob Rees-Mogg’s pledge that we’ll reap the rewards of Brexit in 50 years time is unlikely to wash. Therefore, if the very concept of Brexit is to survive the early turmoil, Brexiters need to place the blame elsewhere. Enter their decades-long bogeymen, the beastly bureaucrats in Brussels.

But Fox and his ilk can’t be allowed to get away with this. They are to blame for the misery which will be caused to ordinary people by Brexit. They don’t have the courage or the honesty to admit it.

Edited by Quentin Peel

16 Responses to “Brexiters, not Brussels bogeymen, must get blame for no deal”

  • Utter pigswill.

    If the author opposes Brexit, then fine but don’t write gibberish based on that prejudice.

    It’s completely clear the EU is deliberately trying to penalise the UK for daring to leave its precious organisation.

  • Would it be cynical to take comfort from the fact that it is Liam Fox who says the likelihood of “no deal” is 60% on the basis that I can’t recall him ever being right about anything?

  • I rather think Britain is punishing itself FatDave. And for no good reason. Please do not attempt to spread the victim mentality so beloved by Brexiters.

    It should have been clear from the 24th June 2016 that Britain could not get as good a deal as it has within the EU at present, let alone a better one. There are two choices – damage limitation on the one hand and a wreaking ball of a no -deal on the other.

  • So ” The chances of a no-deal Brexit have risen to “60-40″ according to that well-known sage Liam Fox (Dr.). So, Project Fear 2 is now being supported by the leading Brexiteers. Is this them preparing their lifeboats ahead of the expected calamity? Contributions to Project Fear are now accepted from both Remainers and Brexiteers. Surely that tells us something?

  • What Tosh! Can this writer explain what use or benefit the EU would have for deliberately make the UK crash out? The UK was deeply involved with drafting the regulations that they now blame the EU of using them against the UK. Let’s call that an ultra-short term memory. Never mind the blatant infantilistic frame of mind that so very characterizes Brexit and its proponents which unfortunately the article writer does not mention.

  • It is so obvious that the leading brexiteers once that have been cornered as they are now they just keep spitting poison from their mouth like a “Black Mamba” ! They would sell their wives/husbands/partners to prove (and here is the irony) a point that …ehm…doesn’t exist!!! except in their …feeble mind!

  • It’s not like this wasn’t clear from the outset…
    The FT even created a simple guide to our trading options back in 2016, just to help us understand. I guess none of the lead Brexiteers watched it, since it didn’t match what they were selling. And now it’s the EU’s fault they mis-sold?

  • Entirely predictable that hardline Brexit ideologues such as Liam Fox would seek to apportion blame to the EU for a No Deal. Their only other alternative would be to look in the mirror and gulp a large portion of humble pie. After all, it was going to be the easiest trade deal in history, according to him. The Germans would be desparate to sell us their cars etc. It should also not be forgotten that a No deal would tie in neatly with Fox’s own situation, as it would make his International Trade Minister role even more pivotal.

    Really, Theresa May should sack him as he clearly has his own agenda with a No Deal the preferred option. However, as we know, Theresa May is almost powerless due to influence of the Rees-Mogg faction in her party.

  • The EU has consistently made it clear that it would not allow the British to leave on terms that gave them many of the advantages of EU membership while avoiding the responsibilities. In contrast, the British position has never been clear, though having cake and eating it has had strong support among some Brexiters, and just crashing out among others. The EU may indeed want to punish Britain to a degree, but this is politically necessary for it, and understandable, because the British are the ‘aggressors’, having chosen to leave for no obvious good reason, and without considering the consequences for anyone, Brits, rest of EU or third parties. It’s also worth pointing out that the British have constantly used aggressive terminology, which hardly encourages compromise. We all know how, if Brussels accepted May’s Chequers deal, half the Tory Party and much of the British press would emphasise the inherent weakness of foreigners as compared to what 150 years ago would have been called ‘the British race’. Nor is the British threat that a hard Brexit will colour British attitudes to the EU for generations likely to have much traction, given that nearly 50% of the British population are opposed to Brexit and that if it has any basis in truth it’s a very ugly threat, essentially saying “if you don’t do what we want we may become xenophobic at best [so no change there then] and fascist at worst.” The British have two realistic options, a) have a second referendum and hope Remain win or b) purge the extreme Brexiters and adopt something close to Norway. The Norway situation would be pointless and stupid and inferior to EU membership, but it would reflect the result of the referendum more accurately than a hard Brexit and wouldn’t do too much damage.

  • No Dave it is completely clear that the UK invoked article 50. And that it did so with no plans for what the settlement would be. That was completely irresponsible when one considers that millions of people’s livelihoods were and still are at stake.
    The blame sits squarely on the shoulders of the Brexiteers including those who support them in the social media including yourself. So man up and take responsibility.

  • Of course we the majority take all the blame for successfully leaving the EU, we also take all the credit for the best people’s choice in our history, call us Brexiteers and any other name you think we deserve we are prepared with deep conviction but never desperation or total greedy self interest people with no vision.

  • The EU has less flexibility because it is a democratic organisation. Michel Barnier cannot just change the rules willy-nilly; he would have to go to the other 27 if he wanted to change, say, the rules on the four freedoms and that would take months or even years. Theresa May can change her mind and demands from one day to the next because she does not need to get the approval of parliament or the people. It’s the difference between true democracy and an elected dictatorship.

  • At last! In your “From the web” section someone has finally pointed out that without immigration we will soon have a declining workforce (and a much worse dependency ratio) and then a declining population. After all, it has only been 45 years since the UK fertility rate fell below replacement level. You’d think the Brexiters might have noticed that before they started banging on about immigration.

  • The blame, from start to finish, lies fairly and squarely with the Tory Party and the pathetic attempt to settle their decades-long internal feud. Instead they have embroiled the whole nation and the continent of Europe in the quagmire they have created. The referendum was the biggest fraud ever perpetrated upon a whole nation.

  • Is it the fault of the EU that the UK has not been able to make any proposals that are remotely possible? We are not being told what has been spent so far by the Tories on this Brexit Crusade but it is a lot of wasted money. What about the EU? They did not suddenly announce that they wanted the UK to sever all ties and go it alone. How much time and effort and money has been spent by the 27 member states as a consequence of May’s intransigence? Yet what we hear from them day after day is to politely point out that relying on faeries to secure the Irish border is not realistic, for example. We sit here inflicting difficulties on the EU and have the nerve to claim that all the problems are faults of theirs! Get a grip fat dave and accept that it is us who are in the wrong.

  • Absolutely agree with all those who want Fox and the Brexiteers to know we all know it is their fault we are in the current mess . Theresa May has to stand up to them this time. So far they have been allowed to repeat lie upon lie about the EU and few positive comments have been publicised about the benefits we all enjoy from our membership of the EU.