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Friday, 13 October 2017

Mrs May's Brexit: from Chaos to Catastrophe

Mrs May and Mr Hammond - her Finance Minister - are represented by various sections of the media as being in a serious conflict about making provision for a 'no deal' outcome from the current negotiation between the UK and the EU. The Chancellor [who is wedded, as tightly as if he were welded] to the concept of 'austerity' has told a Commons committee that he has contingency plans, but does not want to release any funds until the very last moment. He could not make that statement if staff time and some expenses [notably consultancy] had not been applied to the planning: so what he obviously means is that he is reluctant to release funds on implementing such a plan until that should appear to be the [utterly disastrous] inevitability.

Mrs May seems to be saying the same things, when she indicates that £250 million has been set aside for implementing a 'hard Brexit'. Yet the press, notably the Daily Mail, has become hysterical about the 'dispute' and the 'disloyalty' - even 'sabotage' - attributed to the Chancellor.

This stupid scenario shows that the minority of extreme Brexiteers are dragging the Tory party to its destruction; which would be no bad thing [in view of the appalling inadequacy that is apparent right across the government] if there was an opposition that combined honesty and competence over the board. But that is not the case. Labour is led by an unreconstructed Marxist who is as good as the late Comrade Suslov [the chief exponent of Leninist-Stalinist orthodoxy as the USSR was heading for destruction] at avoiding direct or evidence-based questions. The Momentum group show a dangerous revival of the 'entryism' that undermined the Labour government in the nineteen seventies, and thus opened up the way for Thatcherism and the dissipation of all that remained of the legacy of the first industrial revolution.

If May or Hammond was serious about managing a really 'hard' Brexit their first decision - however covertly it was taken - would be the abandonment of 'austerity'. Government spending far in excess of £250 billion would be needed to install a full customs border with the EU. The recruitment and training of hundreds of thousands of officials would need to begin now: somehow, the IT systems would have to be provided - almost instantly - despite the fact that even modest government schemes for computerisation are always over-cost and excessively delayed in implementation [to the extent that they often have to be abandoned].

British firms that still make things - there are many, often high-tech companies developed or reconstructed since 2008 - are almost all integrated into just-in-time Europe-wide supply chains [both in getting their necessary inputs and in selling components to EU companies]. Such businesses are making contingency plans that would require them at least to double the manpower and computer availability just to manage the 'paperwork' that would be involved in trying to maintain the flow of business after a default Brexit. Many such firms are already finding that their European customers are looking elsewhere for contingent supplies. Furthermore, insuring trade and the goods traded in a crash-Brexit situation will become massively more complex and thus expensive.

The clowns on the Tory right, with their airy assertions that all will be well 'under WTO Rules' [which they certainly do not understand:cf my many references to point protectionism], are driving an amazingly weak Cabinet towards the destruction of the national economy.

There must a popular movement, of Leavers and Remainers united, to avoid national economic destruction.

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