Monday 27 March 2017

They're not gambling with their own livelihoods, they're gambling with other people's

Theresa May's threat-based EU negotiation tactics are a ridiculously dangerous game of brinkmanship. The Brexit minister David Davis has openly admitted that the Tory government did absolutely no research into how harmful a "no deal" situation would be to the UK economy before they decided to use the threat of it as their main "negotiating tactic".

In January 2017 Theresa May's clown costume speech was wildly celebrated by the hard-right pro-Brexit press, but it was clearly an absolute shambles of a speech. The idea of making a "do as we say or we'll blow up an economic bomb" threat the absolute centrepiece of your so-called "negotiation strategy" is ridiculous enough in its own right, but when you've not done any research into how big that bomb is, nor whether the UK will actually suffer the most damage from it, well, it's so reckless and inept it's beyond description.

The hard-right press may adore Theresa May's threat-based posturing but the UK manufacturing industry certainly don't. They understand that the consequences of a retaliatory nuclear Brexit will fall heavily on the UK manufacturing sector. A report from the EEF has savaged Theresa May's ridiculous rhetoric. The report states that Theresa May's endlessly repeated "no deal is better than a bad deal" mantra is "unacceptable" and highlights 10 ways in which the threatened "no deal" scenario would devastate the UK manufacturing industry.

The EEF's Chief Executive Terry Scuoler said that "The idea of being able to walk away empty-handed might be a negotiating tactic, but it would in reality deliver a risky and expensive blow".

The problem of course is that the Tories and the hard-right press have already conditioned millions of people into believing the bonkers rhetoric that "No deal is better than a bad deal", which means that any concession to the EU whatever will be inevitably be taken as evidence that the UK is getting a bad deal, and lead to furious calls for the Tories to walk away from the negotiations with nothing.

The manufacturing sector provides some 2.7 million UK jobs and in the month to April 2016 the EU accounted for 52% of the value of manufactured goods exported from the UK. However the Tories and their cheerleaders in the hard-right press don't give a damn about stuff like this. As far as they're concerned these manufacturing jobs are totally disposable. They're just negotiating collateral. Just chips on the table in the enormous political gamble they're making.

If the Tories do launch a ruinous job-destroying nuclear Brexit, the hard-right press hacks will defend them to the hilt by seeking to transfer the blame onto everyone else. The EU are the most obvious target, but somehow blaming Jeremy Corbyn for the job losses would fit neatly with pre-existing press biases, and the pro-Brexit press blaming "remoaners" for the appalling consequences of what Brexiters actually voted for would hardly come as a surprise at all. As long as the people who are principally responsible for the disaster (the Tories and the tabloid hacks themselves) are insulated from blame.

It doesn't really matter to the hard-right if their ludicrous "no deal" threat eventually leads to the annihilation of tens or hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs. In their minds those kinds of jobs are just plebs' jobs after all, and they'll still have their parliamentary salaries/pensions and their well paid jobs as right-wing tabloid hacks whatever the outcome of Theresa May's recklessly incompetent threats. 

Even if a few Tory politicians end up losing their seats over the ensuing economic chaos, they'll still have their parliamentary pensions to fall back on, plus a load of corporate directorships, and maybe even jobs working as writers (or editors) for the hard-right propaganda rags.

These people are economically insulated from the devastating economic consequences of their threatened "no deal" scenario. They're not gambling with their own lives and livelihoods, they're gambling with other people's.

The really sad thing is that countless thousands of canteens, toilets and rest rooms in the industries most at threat from a Tory nuclear Brexit will be littered with copies of disgusting hard-right propaganda rags like the Mail, S*n and Express, and as a consequence many of the people whose livelihoods are most at threat from the threatened "no deal" scenario will actually have voted in favour of Brexit and in favour of letting the hard-right fringe of the Tory party use their jobs as bargaining chips in the vast gamble they're making with the entire future of the UK economy.

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