This post was adapted from a comment in The Independent 05/10/17
Theresa May sought to “reassure” the Tory faithful that she is still ready to crash out of the EU with no Brexit deal if necessary – and is making preparations. A pro-EU group criticised the Prime Minister when she used her conference speech to restate her willingness to walk away with no agreement, rather than a bad one. For May her ‘No Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal’ is still necessary to keep her BREXIT MPs on her side. The Tory way, Me First, then The Party and then possibly The Country.
That is the Tory view on Brexit but there are very many issues which have not seriously been questioned by the British people or possibly even brought to their attention given the ultra-right-wing nature of the majority of our foreign owned press..
First the UK will never be able to threaten with ‘no deal’ with any credibility.
Michel Barnier explained the problem of ‘no deal’ for the UK:
“I want to be very clear: in a classic negotiation, ‘no deal’ means a return to the status quo. In the case of Brexit, ‘no deal’ would be a return to a distant past.
No deal’ would mean that our trade relations with the United Kingdom would be based on World Trade Organisation rules. There would be customs duties of almost 10 % on vehicle imports, an average of 19 % for beverages and tobacco, and an average of 12% on lamb and also fish, for which the vast majority of British exports go to the EU.
While leaving the customs union would in any case involve border formalities, ‘no deal’ would mean very cumbersome procedures and controls, without facilitation, which would be particularly damaging for companies that operate on a ‘just in time’ basis.
For a manufacturer of sports equipment or industrial parts based in the UK, whose products are at present shipped to the single market immediately, this would mean in practical terms:
* keeping their products in stock for 3 or 4 days instead of a few hours,
* renting warehouse space,
* an increase in transport costs, with a greater logistical risk.
In practice, ‘no deal’ would worsen the ‘lose-lose’ situation which is bound to result from Brexit. And I think, objectively, that the UK would have more to lose than its partners.
I therefore want to be very clear: to my mind there is no reasonable justification for the ‘no deal’ scenario. There is no sense in making the consequences of Brexit even worse.
That is why we want an agreement. That is why the 27 Member States and the European Parliament want an agreement. To my British partners I say: a fair deal is far better than no deal.”
The above quote is from BARNIER’S STATEMENT TO THE EESC on 6 July 2017 – it is recommended you read the WHOLE statement: Read it here
So in classic negotiations, the ‘no deal’ option means ‘no change’ – everything remains as it used to be before the negotiations. But this is NOT true for the Brexit negotiations. In particular for the UK, ‘no deal’ means a HUGE change – indeed a bigger change than an exit agreement which would at least make Brexit a bit more smooth.
The one who can afford to walk away are the EU27, not the UK. The UK is the one facing the cliff edge, not the EU27.
Unlike the UK, EU27 are well prepared for Brexit (including ‘no deal’). Actually, the EU27 started intensely preparing for a ‘hard Brexit’ both at the EU level and at the level of national governments already after the EU27 summit in Bratislava on 16 September 2016. But the British negotiators are much too arrogant and self-absorbed to notice such things.
Note that for the EU27, things essentially remain the same as before, only with the UK deleted from the EU arrangements. So the EU27 can say that ‘no deal’ is an option with credibility, and they have already done so in their OFFICIAL Brexit documents, for example:
EU27 COUNCIL’S GUIDELINES FOR BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS – see point 6 from 29 April 2017 (unanimously adopted by 27 PMs/Presidents)
‘Throughout these negotiations the [European] Union will maintain its unity and act as one with the aim of reaching a result that is fair and equitable for all Member States and in the interest of its citizens. It will be constructive and strive to find an agreement. This is in the best interest of both sides. The Union will work hard to achieve that outcome, but it will PREPARE ITSELF TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE THE SITUATION ALSO IF THE NEGOTIATIONS WERE TO FAIL.’ Full report here
On the other hand, the UK urgently needs to replace over 30 EU regulatory agencies and many important agreements (such as Euratom, Open Skies, Europol etc.) by 29 March 2019 in case of a ‘no deal’ – and this Tory government is not even remotely capable of doing it. ‘No deal’ could also mean a totally hard Irish border (due to the WTO rules) – with the UK taking all the blame for the consequences because with Brexit the government unilaterally breached the Good Friday Agreement.
So the ridiculous threat by May of ‘no deal’ means ‘unless the EU27 give the UK a great deal, the UK will jump into disastrous chaos of legal, regulatory and funding vacuum’ Theresa May and this Tory government is holding the gun to the UK’s head and threatening to pull the trigger.
Time to stop this madness and for the UK to get back on board the real world