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Analysis

Cabinet to ‘bury’ no deal plans so people don’t panic

by Hugo Dixon | 29.07.2018

Hardline Tory Brexiters have been calling for months for the government to publish detailed plans showing how we would cope without a deal. This was supposed to be a macho display vis-a-vis the EU which would strengthen our negotiating position.

Now within weeks of getting the Cabinet to grant them their wish, the Brexit extremists are wobbling. They worry that the more the public hears stories about stockpiling food, getting the army to deliver medicine to ill people and parking lorries on motorways, the more they will see how mad it is to crash out with no deal at all.

A Cabinet deal to publish reports every week throughout the summer has now been scrapped, according to Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times. Instead the 70 or so documents will all be put out on on the same day in August – a tactic that seems designed to ensure they get little media coverage.

The government has also asked companies involved in no-deal planning to sign non-disclosure agreements to stop “alarming details leaking out”. A source told the Sunday Times: “People will shit themselves and think they want a new referendum or an election or think the Tory party shouldn’t govern again.”

Over the past few weeks, the Brexit extremists’ bravado about “no deal” has faded. The new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, couldn’t give a straight answer about whether food, 30% of which comes from the EU, would be stockpiled – saying he didn’t want to comment on “selective snippets” before eventually insisting there would be adequate supplies, without saying how.

As more facts have emerged, it is clear why the Brexiters are running scared. They don’t have a plan to stockpile food, in part because we don’t have enough storage space for frozen food – and you can’t store fresh food for very long anyway.

Meanwhile, plans for lorries to be parked at the disused Manston airfield in Kent while they wait to cross the Channel have been branded “nuts”, according to the Sunday Times:

One source said parking lorries at the airport was “nuts” and “just won’t work” since those released from Manston would have to snake their way to Dover along a 19-mile stretch of the A256, which has 12 roundabouts and in parts is a single carriageway… Between 400 and 500 lorries an hour need to arrive in Dover to fill the ferries and keep them to schedule. Just 80 an hour could get there from Manston.

It is, of course, good to plan for all eventualities. But that’s precisely what the Brexiters haven’t done. They didn’t think through what Brexit meant during the referendum. They didn’t think through how they would handle things when they pushed the prime minister to trigger Article 50 without a plan. And as they ramp up calls for us to crash out with no deal, they still haven’t got a plan – except, it seems, to try to hide the facts from the public until it is too late.

21 Responses to “Cabinet to ‘bury’ no deal plans so people don’t panic”

  • There won’t be so many lorries going to the continent in the near future if the UK crashes out. Europe is likely to avoid British products.

  • This suggests that the Cabinet know that a No Deal Brexit will be a disaster of considerable magnitude. It should be obvious to even the most hardened Brexiteers, especially after Jacob Rees-Mogg said it would be at least fifty years before the benefits of Brexit would be seen. Perhaps we should all accept the fact that Brexit can’t be delivered by the present government, or any other government, without our entire economy crashing down around our ears. It would be best to eat humble pie, scrap Brexit and stay in the EU.

  • “People will shit themselves and think they want a new referendum or an election or think the Tory party shouldn’t govern again.”

    At least now we know what the Conservatives are actually worried might happen, and it has nothing to do with the welfare of the country. Not that most of us hadn’t already worked that out.

  • All that the Establishment requires has been done. The UK leaves the EU 2 days before the application of the EU Anti Tax Avoidance Directive would apply. What more is needed by “those who matter”?

  • Help me with this, because I really can’t get my head around it: what is the incentive for companies to sign a non-disclosure agreement? What do they get out of doing that?

  • “Jacob Rees-Mogg said it would be at least fifty years before the benefits of Brexit would be seen. ”
    What does Rees-Mogg know? No point in taking this man’s word on anything. The truth is surely that there will no no benefits, ever.

  • What research did the European Research Group undertake before the 2016 Referendum? Jacob Rees-Mogg ought to publish the ERG research papers so that voters can gain an idea of their intellectual rigour in proposing Brexit. In the absence of ERG transparency, we British can then understand that Btexiters’ arguments are vacuous.

  • On leaving Euratom, as Mrs May proposes we should do at the same time we leave the EU (although Euratom is a quite distinct institution from the EU, leaving it was not covered by the referendum campaign, still less the eventual vote, so she has no mandate from the electorate for it, and it is commercial madness as we have consistently got more out of it than we pay in) the existing arrangements for handling cross-border trade in radioactive isotopes will fall away. These are used in our hospitals up and down the UK for screening patients, and a lot of them are not manufactured here. Many have extremely short half-lives of just a few hours, so their transport cannot be delayed at all – otherwise the rapid natural decay will mean that they will have become useless before they reach their destination. They simply cannot be stockpiled at all.

    The only, and by far the most sensible, solution would be to rescind the notice of 29 March 2017 in so far as it applied to Euratom. (For the record, apparently even Dominic Cummings thought it foolish to include Euratom in that notice.)

  • We are now seeing the preparations being put in place to manipulate public opinion ahead of any ‘final vote’. The idea of a fair vote is a dream that will not be realised. These exit people are playing for high stakes (ownership of the UK and a land of serfs) and they will use every weapon in their stockpile of dirty tricks to win. Who is behind all of this, hiding in the shadows where we cannot see? The long game is the destruction of the EU as a powerful trading block and a unified army. Who is intent on unravelling all the progress that has been made during the past 40 years? Look at how Trump is turning the US on its head in a very short time. It takes time to build something good and only a moment to destroy it.

  • This is just scare mongering put out by remainers in an attempt to con the population into thinking that there will be shortages if we have a no deal. It is on the lines of all those false statements made by the remoaners off what would happen if we voted to leave. None of which has occurred. Get on with it get us out now with no deal.

  • If the report is true that the Government would ask companies involved in no-deal planning to sign non-disclosure agreements to stop “alarming details leaking out”, it is just another example of how they have sought to hide the facts about Brexit from the public. Remember the economic impact reports, the existance of which was for a time denied, but now are under lock and key with only selected persons able to access them.
    This is almost like planning under wartime conditions. We are not at war. Those who want to treat it in this way are dangerous fanatics. Luckily, most of the population are too sober to see achieving a No Deal Brexit equate as equivalent to defeating a fascist enemy. Our European neighbours are our friends.

  • We have now reached the crunch time, this Tory Government’s handling of Brexit has been a total disaster, they have taken far too long to have a co-herent plan for Brexit. Watch those Tories from the Brexit side turn and attempt to rid this country of the current Prime Minister. We are in a disastrous position now, the call for a second referendum is getting stronger day by day. Teresa May’s plans will cause large oversees companies to pull out of the U.K. for certain.
    Brexit is looking likely to equal “The Titanic Sinking” a real disaster, think Teresa May and this Tory Government should sink like the Titanic!!!

  • “It is, of course, good to plan for all eventualities”

    Do these include the eventuality of a brexit cancellation?
    Is there any way of finding out?

  • The bulldog is a perfect analogy for the kind of thinking that has got us into this mess. It is inbred to the point of collapse and is unfit for purpose and a desperate attempt to save it as a breed will involve the introduction of outside blood.

    We have had an inbred mentality for far too long and that has resulted in the state we are in. We don’t even seem to be able to acknowledge reality anymore.

    If we cannot agree on a rescue plan and reverse the Article 50 Notice (or some other means of stopping this madness), can we at least have a bill in parliament wherein the country nominates itself for a ‘Darwin Award.’ Perhaps we can send a team to negotiate, headed by HRH Prince William, et al., like we do for all the other circuses we star in.

  • To mount a people’s vote, the public and parliament would have to be sufficiently alarmed by a desperate situation. That’s why I’m guessing there will be no desperate situation, the Brexiters are surely too clever for that. Mountains of fudge will hide the truth – difficult to impassion people to vote against fudge. A blind Brexit will allow Brexiters to dream on and Britain will just slowly fall apart.

  • @Steven Flynn,

    “This is just scare mongering put out by remainers in an attempt to con the population into thinking that there will be shortages if we have a no deal.”

    Except that it is leavers who wanted these plans published, then realised it might just scare people witless, so decided to cancel them.

    “It is on the lines of all those false statements made by the remoaners off what would happen if we voted to leave. None of which has occurred. Get on with it get us out now with no deal.”

    None of which occurred? Where have you been for the past two years? Remain predicted the pound would be hit and it was. They predicted inflation would rise and it has. They predicted job losses and there are job losses.

  • Steven Flynn. I am glad you have said it as it I think the Uk should get out of this EU club which has done little for people in this country outside London. There are many clever quietLeavers who do not show their hand for risk of flack.Old, Racist , Stupid and so on. Not the EU fault that Governments have ignored any other economy than the Financial Service one, mainly in London. Fishing for instance is gone from the UK. 12 miles is not even enough for those who fish with a rod let alone maintain a community.. The return of UK waters of 200 miles and the median line otherwise would give the country it’s dignity back at the very least. No wonder people voted to leave when the provinces have been ignored for so long. Used for cheap housing for those people London does not want. The Banks cashing in on Buy to Let . Whole streets in the seaside town of my childhood are owned a London landlord.For a long time it has been London only in the mind of Westminster .London is is growing richer and more vulgar by the week. A place of comic book phalic glass and steel towers.London is where the council houses are being cleared to make way for more investment flats Smug people were going around with bags of crisps to illustrate the poverty people will find themselves in when we leaver the EU.( Well what i say is that some people would be glad of that bag of chips so little have they benifited from the EU and the smug Governments of both left and right.