A Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case” report on the effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit combining with another wave of Covid-19 has laid out exactly what Boris Johnson wanted for the UK when he became PM.
Johnson, you’ll remember, did not want any trade deals with the European Union after the UK leaves that bloc.
It was widely believed that this is because the hedge fund managers who supported his bid to be Tory leader have bet heavily on the UK going into recession, with many big-name firms going out of business. The claim was that they could make £8 billion out of it.
Of course, none of these multi-billionaires care a fig about the rest of us. If the country falls into chaos they’ll be off to their holiday homes in the sun, with their cash safely stowed in a tax haven.
Meanwhile, back in Blighty, you will be left to deal with food, fuel and power shortages, illness and deaths caused by flood, flu and Covid-19, and incursions into the country from outside such as EU boats coming into our fishing waters.
And, as may reasonably be expected from his government’s failures so far on Covid-19 – the school reopening furore, school meals, exam results, care home deaths, PPE procurement, face mask procurement, test and trace, contract nepotism… the list goes on and on – on flooding (remember that?) and on any other subject you care to mention, the Johnson government has not planned any response to this at all.
The article goes on to state:
- One in 20 Town Halls could go bust in a second Covid wave, sparking social care chaos.
- The economic impact of the virus and Brexit could cause public disorder, shortages and price hikes.
- Troops may have to be drafted on to the streets to help the police in the worst-case scenario — 1,500 are already on stand by.
- Social distancing measures and masks will have to continue until 2021 regardless.
- Supplies of food and fuel are all under threat this Christmas if Dover becomes blocked.
The planners warned that “pandemic influenza, severe flooding, a Covid second wave and an unruly exit from the EU transition period could cause a systemic economic crisis with major impact on disposable incomes, unemployment, business activity, international trade and market stability.”
It could be combined with likely “coordinated industrial action” as well as shortages risking public disorder and a mental health crisis that will hit the poorest hardest.
Nobody in a Tory government is going to worry about a mental health crisis that harms poor people, of course.
And the attitude by leading Tories to this frankly terrifying report seems to be that if they ignore it, it will go away.
Michael Gove is quoted as babbling: “We got Brexit done with a great deal in January.
“A brighter future awaits as we forge our own path.”
A government spokesperson did add that this was a “reasonable worst case” scenario.
But on the Johnson ministry’s record so far, it is stretching the facts to breaking point to suggest that the government is “ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”.
That simply is not going to happen. On the evidence of the last 12 months, it would be irresponsible to believe anything Johnson, his ministers or his spokespeople say about it.
But there’s one more matter to remember:
If this disaster happens, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, other than to prepare as well as you can (because the Tories simply won’t).
I anticipate another stockpiling splurge, worse than the rush for toilet roll in March, at the very least.
Obviously the worst-case will be social unrest and violence – and I’m not ruling that out, either.
Whatever happens, if we end up with no deal and any of the feared outcomes are triggered, you must remember (because he’ll lie about it):
It is what Boris Johnson wanted all along.
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