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Analysis

Johnson has just threatened a no-deal Brexit. What folly.

by David Hannay | 25.11.2019

It may be counter-intuitive to take Boris Johnson at his word on anything. But now that the Conservative Party’s manifesto has stated so categorically that they will not extend the Brexit transition period beyond the end of 2020, it might be sensible to assume that the intention really is to take the country over the cliff edge if an agreement on a new UK/EU relationship cannot be negotiated and ratified by then. 

That is what is said on the tin which the electorate is being asked to buy on December 12. And there would be plenty of resistance within from Conservative MPs to any attempt to resile from that, not least because all the party’s candidates have pledged to uphold the manifesto commitments on Brexit.

So is the prospect of leaving without a deal at the end of 2020 any less damaging than it was when the country was forced to look over that cliff edge in March, April and October of this year? Not in the slightest. The negative implications of such an eventuality – for the economy, inward investment, trade, the union of the United Kingdom and our internal security – would be just as dire as they were seen to be then. Indeed, with our economy already growing at a snail’s pace, if at all, they could well be worse.

What about threatening the other EU countries with a no-deal exit at the end of 2020? Is that any more likely to persuade them to give us a deal which they consider to be against their own interests and risky for their solidarity and the integrity of their single market? 

Well, weaponising a no-deal exit did not work very well in 2019 and is no more likely to do so in 2020. The hard facts will remain that we are more at risk on pretty well any part of the no-deal Brexit equation than they are. And, with the leadership of the European Council and the European Commission changing next month, we can expect their priorities to shift – away from Brexit and onto issues like the environment, the next seven-year budget, migration and security.

All of which leads to the conclusion that it is foolish to be flirting again with the idea of leaving without a deal. Better, surely, not to go there.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

4 Responses to “Johnson has just threatened a no-deal Brexit. What folly.”

  • Brexit is foolish, all our readers know. It’s Brexiteers that need it pre-chewed, pre-digested and slowly spoon-fed to get it through to the slow functioning mental systems involved.

  • You are so right at drawing attention to the new EU Commission and other important roles. These ignorant BREXITEERS think in some way that the EU will want to accommodate the UK in 2020 and somehow roll over. Nothing could be further from the truth. A ‘new’ Commission will want to put the ‘negotiations’ of the past three years behind them and crack on with the issues you have identified, and adding increased democratisation and other practical improvements. The French President is not alone in his views of BREXIT.Once it is clear that ,as many see it, placating the Brits is taking energy away from the EU’s priority topics, the cliff edge gets a lot closer. For me, it is very unlikely that the new regimes will become more prone to compromise-quite the reverse. By this time next year, compounded by the likely incompetence of the British government if Tory led, our economy and other aspects of the state are sure to be in a worse condition so the ‘cliff’ will then lead to an even bigger crash.

  • I am totally in agreement with this piece but what is beginning to concern me is the sheer volume of publicity devoted to Boris Johnson. The last 3 articles on infacts are on this man. His face stares out at you everywhere you look, even I have noticed on articles which are not about him at all. Throughout Britain’s newspapers it is wall to wall Boris.

    Sure, much of it may be critical but there is an old saying that all publicity is good publicity. Awareness is the most important feature of advertising, and Johnson is being promoted like no other brand – it would not surprise me to see his face on my breakfast cereal.

    So could Infacts counter the imbalance with some articles on the virtues of key Remainers and their policies?