Friday 31 March 2017

Has Theresa May set us on an irreversible course towards a "no deal" Brexit cliff edge?

After six moths of dithering and repeatedly fobbing the electorate off with meaningless platitudes like "Brexit means Brexit" Theresa May finally announced her so-called "negotiating strategy" in her January 2017 clown costume speech.

The right-wing press reacted to her woeful speech as if it was Churchillian in its magnificence, but to anyone with the wit to consider her words for themselves (rather than mindlessly allowing the mainstream media to programme their opinions for them) couldn't help but notice a couple of glaring flaws in it.

Fantasy and threats

The first flaw was that much of what Theresa May was promising was spectacularly unlikely to happen. Special sectoral deals to allow Single Market access just for favoured sections of the economy like banking and car manufacturing (while locking small businesses, sole traders and individuals out of it) are not only a terrible idea that would rig the UK economy even more in favour of massive multinational corporations, but also a ridiculous fantasy that the EU were never going to allow to happen.

The second thing was that her long awaited "negotiating strategy" was nothing more than threat-based posturing. If the EU don't cave in and give Theresa May the special corporate favours she's demanding she's threatening to strop away from the negotiating table with nothing, and then use that as an excuse to set about turning the UK into a parasitical and universally despised corporate tax haven.

Ever since this diplomatic toddler tantrum of a "negotiating strategy" was announced, it's been reinforced over and again by the endless repetition of the propaganda sound bite that "no deal is better than a bad deal".

Theresa May's fantasy is impossible
[full article]

The draft EU resolution on Brexit negotiations makes it absolutely clear that Theresa May's fantasy of some kind of quickfire partial free trade agreement is in tatters.

There's no way she's getting special sectoral deals for her corporate mates, there's no way that she's even going to be allowed to start negotiating an EU-UK trade deal before the Brexit divorce agreement is finalised, and there's no way that she's going to be allowed to start making the Trump-Tory trade deal she's been begging for before the UK has actually left the EU.

Theresa May has promised the nation a load of stuff that she absolutely won't be able to deliver.

Concessions, concessions, concessions

The Brexit fantasy that Theresa May has been hawking to the public is completely at odds with reality. This means that she's going to have to walk back on a lot of the stuff she's been saying, and offer numerous concessions to the EU in order to get any kind of deal whatever.

The problem of course is that she's primed the right-wing press and her own Eurosceptic MPs with the propaganda sound bite that "no deal is better than a bad deal" meaning that they will obviously use every single concession she makes as an excuse to shriek "bad deal" at her and demand the socially and economically ruinous nuclear Brexit they've always craved.

Is Theresa May a strong enough leader to withstand such a relentless onslaught, or is she the kind of weak leader who sees pandering to hacks at the Daily Mail, S*n and Express as one of her core objectives?

Merrily marching towards the cliff edge

The Brexit minister David Davis has openly admitted that the Tory government did absolutely no risk analysis on how bad a "no deal" nuclear Brexit would be before they decided to use the threat of it as the centrepiece of their so-called "negotiating strategy".

The London School of Economics has done some analysis on the "no deal" scenario and their findings are horrifying. They have estimated that if the UK strops away from the negotiating table with no deal, it will cost the UK somewhere between 6.3% - 9.5% of GDP (that's an average of £4,200 - £6,400 per household).

If Theresa May caves in to the "bad deal" shrieking of the Tory Eurosceptics and the hard-right press and flounces away from the negotiating table empty handed, the economic consequences will be catastrophic (especially for the manufacturing sector).

The warnings of economic ruination won't stop the baying Brexiter enforced optimism mob from insulting and belittling anyone who tries to raise concerns though. 

These people want us to join their merry band, plaster smiles onto our faces and all march off the cliff edge together, and anyone who dares to raise concerns or tries in any way to avert this disaster will be furiously shouted down as "traitor", "remoaner", "sore loser", "whinger", "anti-British" ...

Is this what she actually wanted?

The most charitable interpretation of Theresa May's "no deal is better than a bad deal" rhetoric is that it's a catastrophically inept failure in expectation management. But then there's also the distinct possibility that it's part of a deliberate ploy to condition the public into actually believing that driving the UK economy off an economic cliff edge is the best course of action by presenting any alternative to marching off the cliff as a "bad deal"!

The quickfire pro-corporate EU-UK trade deal that Theresa May outlined in January is pure fantasy that was never going to happen, so threatening to march the UK economy off a cliff if she didn't get it was an incredibly dangerous threat to make.

The big question of course is whether Theresa May decided to make such ridiculously unrealistic demands because she's totally delusional, or if she knew it was impossible nonsense all along but that it's part of a Tory ploy to deliberately walk away from the negotiations empty handed so they can turn the UK into a deregulated corporate tax haven whilst pinning all of the blame for the ensuing social and economic catastrophe on the EU.

As is so often the case we're left considering the age old question: Is this latest Tory shambles down to incompetence, or is it down to malice?

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