I FOR one am not afraid of a No Deal Brexit, and a couple of days ago I decided to find out what others think about it with a Twitter poll.
You can see the result for yourselves. The resounding NO debunks the idea that the Brits are living in fear of rising food prices or business closures. My guess, too, is that the public are a lot more educated about and aware of EU realities and the nature of the beast than they were four years ago at the time of the referendum.
They have learned that the EU is far from the benign pan-European umbrella that the BBC and the CBI would have us believe we cannot survive without; that far from being somehow superior to the UK, on the contrary it is an autocratic, undemocratic, corrupt, inefficient, regulatory nightmare. The public now know, too, that our trade with the EU is shrinking so that no deal is not a big deal after all.
As TCW writer Adrian Hill pointed out to me yesterday in an email: ‘The year on year to October figure is the eye-catcher. One sees how our trade deficit mostly comes from the EU – in effect we have been a dumping ground for German goods priced in euros that are 15-20 per cent under-valued thanks to the identities of the other zone members.’
Even this late in the day and with a virtual war apparently breaking out between France and the UK over fishing rights, No Deal is still by no means inevitable, as Charles Moore was at pains to point out in the Telegraph on Friday. Not because the Prime Minister has form when it comes to bottling a decision, rather that it is not credible that Boris Johnson will use the weekend of the anniversary of his general election victory to capitulate. And, as our poll also shows, with the runes so very different to those even of 2016, No Deal has fast become the only viable option.
Moore writes: ‘The EU negotiators, and especially the French, may have reckoned, as they hardened their positions ten days ago, that the fear of no deal would force Britain to back down at the last minute. If so, that was a psychological misreading.
‘Perhaps I am being oversanguine, but I think the public see this. They think – and in essence, if not in detail, they are right – that the key decision has been made. They are irritated by delay. Literally years of scare stories about no deal may have depressed the spirits, but they have also vaccinated people against what might come.
‘The problems are real, but not eternal. The preparations, though still not good enough, are better advanced. It is not going to be pleasant for us – or, indeed, for the French – if President Macron tries to coerce officials in the Pas-de-Calais to impede our goods, but it is hardly going to rekindle our enthusiasm for EU membership.
‘Most Conservative MPs see all this. Perhaps they cannot have their cake and eat it, but they know on which side their political bread is buttered. Besides, they have not got the mechanism to reject no deal, even if they wanted to. It is what will happen if nothing else does . . .
‘Even hard-line Remainers, after years of fighting talk, are now becoming retrospective and recriminatory. In a recent article in the Guardian, Lord Mandelson lamented “the price [we] in the pro-EU camp will pay for trying, in the years following 2016, to reverse the referendum decision rather than achieve the least damaging form of Brexit”. In other words, they lost quite a long time ago.’
We have to pray that Lord Moore is right and that his former employee won’t let him and us down this time.