If you read one thing today, read this: “Britain is being led to an epic act of national self-harm” – by Will Hutton @williamnhutton


Well done to Will Hutton, in the Observer, for marshalling the words to brilliantly sum up what I have been thinking since June 24th 2016.

I am not one of those who feel despair about our country. But I am old enough to have experienced what economic hardship and chaos feels, to an extent. This isn’t going to be pretty. Numbed by the valium of insane and misplaced national pride we are sleep-walking to the most awful economic disaster.

Here’s a sample of what Will Hutton says today:

Every day in Britain, 14,000 trucks come from and head to the European Union. If there is no Brexit deal with the EU, is every one of those trucks going to be inspected as they bring vital food and goods into the UK to see that the right tariff is being charged and correct regulation observed? If some trucks get delayed or traffic volumes plummet, who will organise food rationing in our supermarkets? Five days before a general election called to give the government a negotiating mandate for leaving the EU, is anyone aware of the risks?

Equally, a quarter of British exports with the EU pass through one single port, Calais – £3bn a month – with zero border controls or inspection. Who in Calais is going to inspect these goods to see if they correspond to EU rules if we crash out with no deal? Has France any interest in investing quickly in the customs structure to keep British exports flowing? The M20 and M2 will become gigantic truck parks as drivers wait to be inspected. You might think that, just as a precautionary measure, as the prospect of the exit talks collapsing is less than two years away, the UK government would be investing in customs inspection depots in our great ports and along the land border with Ireland and also offering to build similar structures in France to ease the inevitable congestion on UK roads. Surely someone, somewhere might have asked these questions?

Nothing is being done at all. Mrs May and her breezy lead negotiator, David Davis, offer platitudes about Britain embracing the globe and no deal being better than a bad deal, but even the most innocent negotiator in the EU team can see this is vainglorious posturing. They are betting on a deal being struck – negotiators with few cards, nor making sure they hold better ones. As matters stand, the consequence of no deal would be calamitous.

You can read the full article here.