- 10 Dec 19
"A special place in hell should be reserved for No deal Brexiteers"
In January, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and generally a man given to diplomatic speech, commented that "a special place in hell should be reserved for No deal Brexiteers". He spoke for many, even in the United Kingdom. It's been 40 months since the Brits decided, by a very narrow majority, that they would leave the European Union. But since nobody had thought of what that actually meant, nobody had a plan for what came next. It's been described as part of a 40-year Tory Party civil war into which the neighbours have been dragged. But it's not looking great for Britain and, unfortunately, that will mean pain for Ireland too.
In May, it was revealed that some 7,500 shops lie empty in the UK. In September, the London bus company Wrightbus folded with 1,200 jobs lost. Jim Ratcliffe, Britain's richest man, decamped to Monaco in February. This is to save him £4bn in tax. Imagine! And ardent Brexiteer, James Dyson, has moved to Singapore, where he is now a permanent resident. They say it's all coincidental, but it's hardly a ringing endorsement.
As this is being written, the Brits are facing yet another definitive election. We've no idea what'll happen. The local elections saw huge losses for the Tories, but losses too for Labour. It seems that the two lead parties are determined to fight the election on entirely different topics, Brexit for the former, the NHS and public services for the latter.
We can't rely on anything, so our Government has been preparing for a no-deal Brexit for quite some time. There has been sustained and consistent support from the other EU member States at the political level. This seems to have greatly surprised the British, or the Tories at any rate, who firmly expected Ireland to be pushed under a bus.
But there's more. Our supply lines have been quietly changing. An increasing proportion of goods that came through the UK, for example agricultural produce, are now routing directly from mainland European ports to Cork, Rosslare, Dublin and Drogheda.
In the UK, the lack of planning to date is conspicuous. Indeed, in the early summer, we jotted down a note on "feral furies in Britain." They did for Theresa May, Boris Johnson following her into no 10 Downing Street in July. By August he had prorogued parliament, provoking outrage, resignations and accusations of a coup. And in due course, the UK's Supreme Court found that the prorogation of parliament was illegal. Confronted, Johnson attacked his critics, MPs and the judges. And very Trumpian it was too.
It's all a modern Mad Hatter's Tea Party. But that was just a fantasy. This is all too real. You couldn't make it up.
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