Littered throughout the Brexit party contract there is this phrase, a Clean Break Brexit’ which they use time and time again, without ever once explaining what it is, or more importantly, what its implications might be. But they do, however, make sure that the really important matters are addressed, such as this are,
Make the Civil Service more accountable to the public – we would require civil servants to sign an oath to act with political neutrality.
Does this remind anyone else of those ‘Loyalty Pledges’ that American’s had swear to in order to prove they were not Communists, during 1950’s McCarthy Era America? Just me then! And just to be clear, this wasn’t some tiny detail that’s buried deep in their contract, one that I had to search for. No, it’s contained as one of their primary ledges!
Anyway, moving on! If civil servants had to sign such a thing, then possibly they wouldn’t have a written a document like ‘Yellowhammer’, which sets out in grim detail just how unprepared the UK is for leaving the EU without a deal. Which is what a ‘Clean Break Brexit’ (CBB) really is. It means no deal whatsoever. Nada. Nish.
The reader of this blog with long memory will remember the BBC’s ‘CrimeWatch’ prorgramme and it’s re-enactment of chilling crimes that hitherto stumped police, forcing them to make desperate appeals for witnesses. Of course in its heyday, it was a hit with the viewers, so the presenter Nick Ross would always end with an earnest spiel about the rarity of the crimes they’d so lovingly recreated, adding ‘Please don’t have nightmares’ If you want a nice and relaxing read, something to read in bed before you turn the lights off and which doesn’t give you nightmares, this so isn’t the read for you.
Admittedly, ‘Yellowhammer’ is predicated on worst case scenario’s and, as the government admits, it was written before measures to negate some of direst predictions had been implemented. As an aside, I just have to mention that I once had placement as a copywriter with an advertising agency called ‘Yellowhammer’. Didn’t end with a job offer though, which is spookily redolent of the bleak warnings that litter the government document. Lets compare the outlook that ‘Yellowhammer’ envisages with the rather more optimistic view of the effects of a CBB contained in The Brexit party (TBP) contact shall we?
Well to begin with they start this rather bold claim,
A CLEAN-BREAK BREXIT IS THE KEY TO CHANGING BRITAIN FOR GOOD
And certainly, Yellowhammer (YH) reinforces that claim, though not methinks, in the way TBP would want
TBP claim that,
A Clean-Break Brexit can also shape the future of our economy and society. It will give us the freedom to shape our future by taking immediate control of our own laws, borders, money, fishing and defence.
It will give us our freedom, to be sure. But to what end will that freedom be put? Freedom in and of itself is not necessarily a good thing, for a society to function, to prosper, it requires other functions to be carried out.
YH paints a different picture,
When the UK ceases to be a member of the EU in October 2019 all rights and reciprocal arrangements with the EU end.
The UK reverts fully to ‘third country’ status. The relationship between the UK and the EU as a whole is unsympathetic, with many MS (under pressure from the Commission) unwilling to engage bilaterally and implementing protections unilaterally, though some MS may be more understanding.
Those trade deals that were so piss easy to negotiate – to para-phrase Dr. Liam Fox – were not so piss easy after all, it seems,
No bilateral deals have been concluded with individual member states with the exception of the reciprocal agreement on social security co-ordination with Ireland.
So this much-vaunted freedom, is essentially a chimera, because we’ve exhausted what little goodwill the EU felt to us. Three years of bitter divisions and squabbling have got us worse than nowhere.
According to TBP,
With a Clean-Break Brexit, we can start changing Britain for good from day one. There will be no extended ‘transition period’, no more years of wrangling with Brussels, no further entanglement with the EU’s controlling political institutions. We will be free to start building our future immediately, to change politics and Britain for good. And that’s a promise.
Hang on? Does this seem to anyone else like the same schtick that the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign were spouting three years ago. You know, when we imagined that if by some act of terrible luck they won, then the morning after the result was announced, a well ordered and well thought through plan would kick in right away? That one! If it had, would we be here now? I know the blame isn’t all the Brexit’s party fault, but Nigel’s Farrago was a key mover in getting a referendum held in the first place, so why anyone should believe anything he promises now is beyond my understanding.
Here’s a particular favourite of mine. Much has been made over protecting our fishing fleets. To the SNP this has been especially fertile ground – or water.
TBP pledge that they’ll ,
Invest £2.5bn in our Fishing and Coastal Communities: with a Clean-Break Brexit we recover control of a 200 mile exclusive economic zone (or the median line), creating the opportunity to regenerate our coastal communities with new investment, jobs and tourism.
However, YH doesn’t wear those same rose tinted spectacles
Up to 282 EU and EEA nations fishing vessels could enter illegally, or already be fishing in UK waters (Up to 129 vessels in English waters, 100 vessels in Scottish waters, 40 vessels in Welsh waters, 13 vessels 1n Northern Irish waters) on day one. This is likely to cause anger and frustration in the UK catching sector, which could lead to both clashes between fishing vessels and an increase in non-compliance in the domestic fleet.
That “Day One’ they mention? It’s everywhere in YH. It means on day one of no deal, so if a CBB becomes an unfortunate reality, at one minute past midnight the day we exit, none of the EU laws will apply. Yes, of course, it will create ‘ the opportunity to regenerate our coastal communities with new investment, jobs and tourism..’ But the thing with any opportunity is – rather like freedom – it isn’t always necessarily a good thing. It can either way.
If it is an opportunity for already hard hit coastal villages that have seen their fisheries industry decimated by EU fishing quota’s, how exactly are they going to see it is as an opportunity if EU boats can fish in British waters with impunity? An opportunity to overcome health problems associated with obesity by living on benefits and not being able to afford to eat? The opportunity for women to make new friends by engaging in ‘survival sex’ to supplement those benefits to buy food? Those kind of opportunities?
YH abounds with similarly grim tidings, to which the Brexit party would no doubt counter as ‘doing Britain down’
TBP also pledges to
Increase police numbers — more visible policing, ensure focus on combating violent crime, robbery and burglary rather than enforcing restrictions on free speech.
Which is just as well, because one effect of a CBB could be, as YH suggests
Protests and counter-protests will take place across the UK and may absorb significant amounts of police resource.
I might return to the YH document again in the light of Boris’s Johnson’s claim that to ‘Get Brexit Done’, all that’s needed is for a sufficiently large number of credulous fools to believe him, vote Conservative and for then sunlit uplands to beckon.