Liam Fox was on Today today, talking the good talk about how leaving the EU will be a piece of cake, everything will be rosy, come what may. Interestingly, he would only say that the UK could “survive” a no-deal situation – so the whole thriving outside of everything has been dropped even by Dr Fox these days.
“If you think about it, the free trade agreement that we will have to come to with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history. We are already beginning with zero tariffs and we are already beginning at the point of maximal regulatory equivalence as it is called, in other words our rules and our laws are exactly the same. The only reason that we wouldn’t come to a free and open agreement is because politics gets in the way of economics.”
The Brexit bunch are now like really bad ex-boyfriends. They are like a guy who says to their ex-girlfriend: “Look, I realise you may be a bit sore about me dumping you out of the blue and then telling everyone how awful you are. I get that. But surely you can see that us continuing to have no-frills attached intercourse is a good deal for both of us? I mean, you were happy with the sex before I dumped you, thus surely you’d like it as much now, so what’s the big deal?”
I love this whole notion that the only thing stopping the EU from giving the UK some brilliant cake and eat it as well post-Brexit deal is politics, not economics. This coming from people who said it didn’t matter what it cost us to Leave, the pure road of sovereignty was well worth it. In other words, they valued politics over economics and are now stunned as to how and why the EU would do the very same thing in return.
It should be clear now to anyone, be they Remainer or Leaver: leaving the EU will be very difficult and could go horribly wrong. I hope it doesn’t and everything works out okay; if we are leaving and there is no way to stop it (and unless the Labour and Tory parties split simultaneously and a new party forms between the splitters to explicitly halt Brexit as a point of first order, damn the possible electoral consequences, I don’t see what will stop it), I hope we really do thrive outside of the EU. So, I’m not asking people like Liam Fox to have some sort of Damascene conversion to the joys of the European Union. But it would be nice, after everything that has taken place over the last year or so, for him to at least admit that this is going to be a difficult process and that leaving with no deal would be bad for a lot of people. That doesn’t seem like a big ask.