Friday 5 May 2017

The Tories are now openly planning for "nuclear Brexit"

Theresa May's team have been briefing the right-wing press* that they're now working on a plan to launch a "nuclear Brexit" if the negotiations don't go their way.

This should be deeply concerning to anyone who thinks that a chaotic Tory administered "fuck you" departure from Europe is the worst case scenario in this whole Brexit shambles.

Theresa May's slow march towards the abyss

The probability of a "no deal" strop away from the Brexit negotiating table looks almost inevitable if Theresa May is not defeated in her opportunistic and self-serving snap election.

She's already made the path towards a sensible negotiated settlement almost impossible with her "no deal is better than a bad deal" rhetoric because any deal is obviously going to be a "bad deal" in comparison to the deal we had before (Single Market access, countless beneficial treaties and a huge amount of influence, but all with a rebate that meant we paid less in membership fees than Italy!).

Then a couple of weeks after calling her bizarrely-timed snap election Theresa May spouted the most paranoid and unstable nonsense that has been uttered by a British Prime Minister in my entire lifetime about a supposed deliberate EU plot against her.

This extraordinarily deranged attack on the people we're going to have to negotiate with was yet another move to poison UK-EU relations and further damage the prospect of a sensible negotiated settlement.

In the wake of her paranoid "EU plot" temper tantrum outside 10 Downing Street, it's now been revealed that Theresa May is actually drawing up a plan to quit the EU without meeting any of our financial obligations.

Now this may seem like a good idea if you're one of the 30% of the British public who are delusional enough to believe that a "no deal" strop away from the negotiating table would actually be great for Britain, but even a rudimentary consideration of the economic consequences and the dire diplomatic position that would put us in should be enough to make any right-thinking person very seriously concerned about the future this country would be facing under Theresa May's weak and unstable leadership.

Immediate economic damage

A "no deal" strop would obviously cause absolute chaos. I won't list all of the consequences, there are too many. I'll just run through a few of the really big ones.

Think about the estimated 6.3% - 9.5% collapse in GDP (even the best case scenario of a 6.3% collapse in GDP would be significantly worse than the recession caused by the Bankers' crisis).

Think about what such a "nuclear Brexit" crisis would do to the state of the budget deficit and the UK's ability to actually pay for things like pensions and the NHS.
Think about the way the introduction of customs checks would harm the UK shipping industry and how the loss of the EU Open Skies agreement would adversely affect the UK aviation industry.
Think about the massive supply chain disruption as manufactured goods are hit with tariffs every time the production process involves the import or export of parts or ingredients. 
Think about 97% of UK food and drink exports being hit by export tariffs.

Think about the huge number of job losses, and whether you and your family would be safe (the worst affected areas would be areas like manufacturing, agriculture, aviation and airports, shipping and ports, import/export dependent businesses, food and drink, financial services, hotels and the leisure industry ...).

Think about the very serious problems with the Irish border and the peace process.

Think about the loss of your travel rights and the terrible uncertainties that would be imposed on millions of EU migrants in the UK and UK migrants in the EU.

Think about the fact Scotland would vote for independence and refuge from this self-inflicted madness if they had any sense whatever.

Reputation damage

The immediate economic consequences of what a "no deal" strop would be bad enough, but there would be a very much more serious long-term consequence too.

If the UK government decide to just walk away from their financial obligations, what kind of message would that send to the rest of the world?

It would obviously say that the UK is the kind of country that doesn't respect the international agreements they sign up to, and walks away from their obligations whenever it suits them.

Now who would sign up to a trade deal with a country like that?

Just think about the difficulties suffered by Argentina after they went bankrupt. They were treated like international pariahs for years. But they tore up their obligations out of necessity during a terrible prolonged economic crisis. They really had no choice but to devalue their currency and default on their debts.

Britain on the other hand would be tearing up its obligations out of choice: Not because they needed to, but because they wanted to.

So I'll ask again. Who would sign a trade deal with a country with a proven track record of wilfully breaking its trade deals?

Would you sign a contract with a person with a proven track record of refusing to honour the terms of the contracts they sign? No, I didn't think so.

WTO schedules

Lots of Brexit fanatics like to claim that the UK could just walk away from our obligations and start trading with Europe and the rest of the world on World Trade Organisation terms, but this looks like another of their hyper-optimistic fantasies given that the EU and their closest allies are all members of the WTO, and all members of the WTO club have a veto on countries implementing new schedules.

The idea that the UK could just walk into a club that contains the organisation that they just defrauded and all of their closest allies, and then get exactly what they want without any other nation raising objections by using their powers of veto is yet another display of the kind of magical thinking that seems to plague Brexiters.

Trade deal fantasies

Now think about the promised trade deals the Brexiteers assure us that the UK will strike with other economies.

The first thing to note is that if the UK has turned itself into an obligation-breaking international pariah, do you really think that any other country they approach for a trade deal wouldn't take the "you need us more than we need you, so what are you going to give us" approach?

How about considering the fact that a lot of countries would probably prefer not to jeopardise their economic relations with the EU (the largest trading block on the planet) in order to sign up to a trade deal with an obligation-abandoning international pariah state.

Even if the UK does find some countries to concoct trade deals with, you know that trade deals take years to negotiate, finalise and implement don't you? So the UK would be in the international wilderness for years even if they did find potential trade partners who are willing to overlook their contract-breaking behaviour.

You know that each trade deal takes hundreds of civil servants on either side to negotiate it don't you? This means that the UK could only negotiate a few trade deals at a time without hiring literally thousands of new trade negotiators. Even if they did hire thousands of new negotiators, they'd obviously be inexperienced and unlikely to secure the best possible terms.

More backwards Tory rhetoric

Surely you know by now that the Tory party use completely backwards Orwellian rhetoric all the time?

So even as the Tory party are drawing up plans to march the UK economy into the abyss by turning ourselves into contract-breaking international pariahs who deliberately exploded an economic bomb over eight of their top ten their closest trading partners**... they'll obviously be spouting a load of wonderfully optimistic "global Britain" rhetoric as they wilfully commit economic suicide, and thehacks who work for the hard-right tabloid press will be parroting their "global Britain" propaganda and cheering them along every step of the way.


The only way to ensure that this catastrophic scenario doesn't happen is to get out and vote against Theresa May so she doesn't have a thumping great super-majority to enact it.

Make sure you're registered to vote, and make sure you encourage anyone you know who is not a delusional nuclear Brexit enthusiast to ensure they're registered to vote against Theresa May's lunatic plans too.

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* = I almost always link to my sources, but in this case the source is The S*n, which I don't link to out of a point of principle. Here's a screenshot from the "Nuclear Junker" article they published the day after Theresa May's bizarre paranoid rant outside Downing Street:

** = Yes I know Switzerland isn't technically in the EU, but a "nuclear Brexit" would severely damage their economy too, seeing as how they participate in the Single Market and conduct most of their trade with the EU nations the UK would be defrauding by abandoning the EU without fulfilling their financial obligations.

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