Sunday, September 1, 2019

East of here: Who fears Europe? Not the proud men of England!

By Isabel Archer
Spy London Bureau

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's scheme to close down Parliament and take the United Kingdom out of the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal has generated a firestorm of controversy in old Albion.

Government reports turning up in the press now warn of delays in transporting goods across the new UK/EU borders in the Channel and across the Irish frontier.  The latest tocsin of disaster, leaked to Sky News, outlines the dire threat with precision:

  • On day one of a no-deal Brexit, the worst case scenario would be a two-day maximum delay for freight and vehicles at Dover and an average wait of one-and-a-half days. 
  • That could amount to a pile-up of up to 8,000 vehicles. 
  •  Even with a best case scenario, with businesses as prepared as they possibly could be, vehicles will be waiting for two to three hours, with 50% of vehicles waiting for at least eight. 
  • The report also says that many haulage companies, faced with lengthy new processing periods, will simply cancel their vehicles' journeys (and with them their cargo) because of long waiting times.
Post-Brexit fine dining
Such delays would lead to shortages of basic commodities, painful truck pileups at Channel ports, and the likely loss of trade in fresh produce, meat, and seafood, to the detriment of British exporters and anyone in the UK who would prefer not to subsist on bangers and mash.

The concerns were consistent with an earlier Government report that the lobby for British grocers (the BRC) seems to take rather seriously:

The BRC highlighted how the government's own no-deal Brexit document, leaked to the Sunday Times last month, revealed that "certain types of fresh food supply will decrease" in the event the UK left the EU with no withdrawal agreement.
"The government's own assessments showed that the flow of goods through the channel crossings could be reduced by 40-60% from day one, as would the 'availability and choice' of some foods," the BRC spokesperson added.
"The BRC's own assessment has shown that soft fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, tomatoes and lettuces, would likely see reduced availability as they are largely imported during the winter months.

And if the prospect of subsisting on beans and Bovril has you reaching for the Prozac, well,
according to the BBC:
While there are regular fluctuations in medicine supplies, there are concerns a no-deal Brexit could make shortages worse.
About three-quarters of the medicines and most of the clinical products we use come from or via the EU.
The government says the main risk to supply is reduced traffic flow between the ports of Calais and Dover or Folkestone.

As usual, the Brexiteers who have told the British for three years that leaving the European Union would be easy and profitable have a ready response to any concerns that such predictions were a load of bollocks: any warning of dire consequences is nothing more than “Project Fear.”

It's gotten to the point where anyone pointing out the plausible ill effects of a cliff-edge Brexit has to apologize in advance.  Here's a recent example by the head of a well-known far-left cadre:

Members of the CBI understand that politicians are facing desperately hard choices and want them to hear the economic evidence direct. This is not politics, spin or “Project Fear” scare tactics. It is what British businesses are saying. One of the loudest messages is that no-deal Brexit is not the end of chaos for business, it’s just the beginning. As one chief executive put it to me, it’s a swamp not a cliff-edge. No deal can sound like a glorious leap to freedom, a clean break. But that’s dangerously false. For thousands of companies it would mean extending crippling uncertainty against a new backdrop of ill will.
The Trotskyite who penned those words in the pinko Financial Times?  Welcome, Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the Confederation of British Industry.

When mouthpieces of capitalism like the CBI have to defend themselves in advance from claims that they are merely stoking unfounded fears and the Frenchies will cave at the first sign that their roast beefs are being withheld at the Channel, it sounds like British political discourse has reached a new low.

Apparently not.

Nigel Farage, shown here with his
Brexit Party brains trust
We sent our intern Louise Mensch into the archives to see if she could find any other time in the history of the United Kingdom in which voices attempting to sound the alarm were told they were simply trying to create baseless fear for political advantage.

She found one.  It involved a British politician who warned about the dire effects of a deal with Europeans that that Tory Government of the time thought was a pretty good deal.  Said politician, widely regarded as a crank and a has-been, excoriated the Government on the floor of the House of Commons and raised the specter of dire consequences.

It did not go over well with the ruling Tories:

Lord Maugham called [the man] an “agitator” who should be “shot or hanged.”  The Times reported that [the man] had “treated a crowded House to prophecies which made Jeremiah appear an optimist” and referred patronizingly to his “dismal sincerity.”  His speech, according to the Daily Express, was “an alarmist oration by a man whose mind is soaked in the conquests of Marlborough,” and his failure to support the government “weakens his influence among members of the Conservative Party.”  (W. Manchester, The Last Lion: Alone at 372.)

The man was Winston Churchill.

The threat was Nazi Germany.

The issue was the surrender of Czechoslovakia at Munich. 

The chaser: Everything Churchill feared came to pass.

But that won't happen this time because [Louise please confirm] Nigel and Boris have promised the English that crashing out of the EU will definitely lead to peace in our time.

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