We were living in strange times before the Coronavirus struck; they are now surreal beyond the imaginings of an objective viewer from five years ago. Lots of people are politicising the crisis, you know, imagining that what’s happening demonstrates the folly of austerity, or shows us what life would have been like under a Corbyn government, or demonstrates that “inequality kills”. I am not trying to add my own addition to this trope here. What follows is not a Remainry rant that is an attempt to halt Brexit in disguise. It is just dealing with the new political reality we are living in.
A no deal Brexit at the end of 2020, or what amounts to it beyond the few things the Withdrawal Agreement covers, would have been a stupid idea even before the Coronavirus crisis – to do so now would be political suicide. While I know almost nothing about epidemiology, I do know a little bit about supply chains and Brexit. What we’ve learned over the last couple of weeks tells a lot about people’s inability to stay calm in the face of possible shortages and thus hoard on a massive scale. Almost no supermarket in Britain has any toilet roll, pasta and several other items that have been heavily hoarded over the past fortnight. And that is considering there is nothing actually wrong with the supply chains – at least, not yet – and there hasn’t been an imminent threat of any sort of lock down at all at least until the last day or so. Imagine the hoarding that would happen if the supply chains were heavily interrupted and – here’s the kicker – there was no way to know when they would become able to serve the demand again, if ever. Hoarding would be out of control if these last two weeks tell us anything, and I think they tell us a lot about what is likely behaviour if supply chains were disrupted even a little bit, never mind a lot.
Boris has all the cover he needs to extend the transition period. People will not only understand, no one other than Farage will complain and he will shut up quickly when people pile in on him, telling him to stop being so petty in the face of a national crisis. If Boris doesn’t take the opportunity, it will be one of the stupidest moves in British political history. In fact, I’d rank it even above Theresa May’s “no deal is better than a bad deal” speech and Cameron’s decision to get the EU referendum out of the way as quickly as possible so we as a nation could move onto other things.
I repeat, this is not a plea to stop Brexit. Yes, I’d like that, but that is not the issue. Boris must realise that having a crisis of this magnitude and then voluntarily foisting upon the nation another one less than 12 months later is lunacy. Take the opportunity, Boris. No one will think less of you. It is way, way, way less of a political risk than pushing ahead with what amounts to a no deal Brexit.
In a few weeks time, I have another book coming out. It’s called “Politics is Murder” and follows the tale of a woman named Charlotte working at a failing think tank who has got ahead in her career in a novel way – she is a serial killer. One day, the police turn up at her door and tell her she is a suspect in a murder – only thing is, it is one she had nothing to do with. The plot takes in Conservative Party conference, a plot against the Foreign Secretary and some gangsters while Charlotte tries to find out who is trying to frame her for a murder she didn’t commit.
Also: there is a subplot around the government trying to built a stupid bridge.
It’s out on April 9th, but you can pre-order here:
Jack Graham says
“I repeat, this is not a plea to stop Brexit.”
Yes it is!, That is exactly what it is, as obvious as the nose on your face.
How come it is exclusively the usual Europhiles in denial, who are calling for an extension.
William Francis says
Yeah we should be able to cope with Brexit and a pandemic at the same time. We survived the Blitz after all!
I mean its not as if we ended an entire economic model effectively over night, and partook in highly contriversal monetary policy, just because some bin men refused to collect our rubbish for a few weeks?
The phoenix says
Corona is exposing Bj and Trump
To merciless scrutiny
Brexit is now untenable
Unless you want to permanently live on pasta and fight for loo rolls
Robert Montague says
johnson never wanted a deal. nor did many of the other quitters. they want to ‘get on with it’, even if ‘get on with it’ means hoarding pasta and toilet paper
they “won two world wars” [actually history tells us otherwise, but hey, don’t let facts get in the way of self delusion] and they “won the world cup” [the fact that since then they haven’t, but Brazil have won it three times, Italy, Germany and France have won it twice and Argentina and Spain once all comes down to the fact ‘we was robbed’ or some such shit]
poor jack graham [who commented above] thinks it Europhiles who are in denial. he should take a look in a mirror.
johnson and his cronies don’t give a fuck – they are going to make shitloads from a no deal.
I and my remainer friends in the uk are now of the same opinion: the sooner the uk crashes and burns, the better. the sooner the reality of a no deal bites quitters on the arse long and hard, the better.
but this is the important thing now: remainers like me are going to make quitter twats like jack graham OWN this shit. we will rub their noses in it until their noses are raw. they put us into this mire, they can fucking well get us out.
The phoenix says
Well said mate
They fucking own this shit now
Phil Beesley says
“johnson never wanted a deal.” Johnson was a journalist. He wrote two narratives in search of a story.
I Feel OBLIged to inTRoduce weird, punctuation and spelling in my comment. ‘semi-literate’ Robert Montague uses strange language but s/he instinctively presses the Shift key for country names. I do not know what game ‘Robert Montague’ is plating, but I am funnier.
Super sleuth, Jack Graham, has revealed that Covid 19 is a dastardly plot put about by the Chinese to overthrow Brexit and he is having none of it. “as plain as the nose on your face” he says – a curious phrase – perhaps he omitted “my dear Watson” in error, or more likely left us to fill in the missing words.
Curiously though, Jack Graham chooses to reveal his insights on a relatively obscure political blog. It is unclear what ‘Europhiles in denial’ means (denial of what). He is clearly unconcerned about the Europhobes in denial (in denial of basic economics, the nature of viral infections, vaccination, climate change, the seasons, basic laws of physics etc.etc.).
Phil Beesley says
It is interesting that Jack Graham considers Remainer to mean Europhile. I have always considered myself to be a Europhobic Internationalist, desiring the EU to change itself, reluctantly accepting that UK membership of the EU made the world a better place.
As a reluctant Remainer, I find that dreadful circumstances have validated my opinion. Utilitarian realities now outweigh political opinions. Brexit needs to go on hold. I’m confident that in two weeks, our Prime Minister will announce the inevitable…
n hunter says
The Brexiters took us out of the EU emergency medical fund project.
They have cut us out of all sorts of things.
No country is Independent all need . others in one way or another Covid virus has shown we are short of nurses /doctors needed NOW not in years to come.
We had a smooth running supply chain on goods/food.
Brexit brings in ‘form filling’ that can delay supplies.If we have ‘panic buying’ now. who is to say with a panic over something in the future (another virus) we could be in bigger trouble. We only produce 40/45% of our food this too is involved in the supply chain. Inefficiency from wherever will cause higher prices.
Yes ,being millionaires already money begats (wants) money Those ‘taking advantage of financial systems will not be worried about the majority who will just have to cope.
Actually what this shows is why the EU would be mad not to conclude a simple, bare-bones free trade deal ASAP so that trade flows, supply lines etc are assured and we can get on to dealing with other things.
Matt (Bristol) says
I would imagine many Leavers are in fact quietly asking the government to consider extending the transition period. They won’t be calling for this in public, though, because:
a) they know Johnson would see it as undermining him at a time of crisis
b) they know they have cover from Remainers who will be calling for it in public