If we leave the EU without a deal, it will be the EU’s fault and they will be damaging themselves
Austin Mitchell former Labour MP for Great Grimsby lays bare a “No Deal” and places the fault firmly at the feet of the EU.
Austin writes: The clamour against “No Deal” is Remain’s fig leaf. Nothing to do with reality, it’s based on the assumption that an EU, which Remainers love so much and paint as the only force for good in a darkening world, will crucify Britain, try to wreck our economy, try to dictate who our government should be and then blame it on us as a justified punishment for being so naughty as to to want to leave it.
Blair and Brown have joined together for the first time since Granita to warn against it; Tory soon-to-be-ex ministers lament it; Labour, in their role as the New Liberals, denounce it; The Guardian turns its Remainer propaganda loose on it; and Lib Dems quake more at the prospect than they do at global warming, sexism or the fight for PR. Yet it’s permissible to wonder why, since if No Deal happens it won’t be us, but the EU which will produce it, none of this rage is directed at them.
Rampant Remainers aim to tie government’s hand against it. Imagine the effect of that. Everyone entering a negotiation needs that threat in their pack. Without it, we go naked into the conference chamber. Because its 27 members all want something different, the EU can only agree on “no”. Remove the No Deal threat and there’s no incentive for that wobbly, would-be empire, to say anything different. They can just sit there chanting “nein, nein, nein” like a speaking clock stuck at nine o’clock.
Yet if an unacceptable deal which we can’t get through Parliament is all that’s on offer, it means deadlock and “no deal”. The EU would then be insisting that we change our constitutional procedures, get a new government and deny the will of the people, then put all that to another referendum to require the people to change their minds. That’s EU democracy.
To persuade us to enjoy that humiliation the “anti-No Dealers” have launched their third campaign of fear. The first, claiming there’d be huge damage if we voted for Brexit, failed to appear. The second, that leaving would be a disaster, failed to persuade, perhaps because we grew faster and had less unemployment than most of the EU. So now they’ve narrowed the terror down to “No Deal”, though I don’t think that means that any other kind of deal is now acceptable.
Yet even this new No Deal phobia isn’t credible. Many of the assumptions on which the claims by the Bank of England and the Treasury are made just aren’t true. Other problems are exaggerated. The assumption is that a malevolent EU will set out to damage us – an odd view from those who love it, and unlikely. There’ll be some disruption but fish gotta swim, planes gotta fly and I gotta get my pills or I die. It’s hardly logical to bash their nearest neighbour and trading partner while doing dirty deals with Russia. The harsher they are to us, the more they damage themselves – and particularly Ireland, just as a European recession looks likely.
It’s true that the pound will fall but that will boost exports and tax imports. We should boost that right now by state aid to industry to seize its opportunity and backing for import substitution. Provide both and any damage from leaving can be countered by a spending boost to end austerity (itself the cause of our weakness), boost the economy, stimulate demand and lower the excessive costs imposed on manufacturing by council tax, water, power and port charges.
In the unlikely event that the EU does try to cripple us, they will be damaging themselves, beginning a Trumpian trade war to defend their protectionist bloc, and holding back trade and developing nations by agricultural protectionism. All that not only goes against the spirit of the age, but adds both to the problems of recession the world is already facing, and to the economic damage imposed by the euro on its own weaker members.
That doesn’t sound like the fairytale paradise Remainers claim the EU to be. But then I like Europe too much to believe they’ll be that nasty. It’s the Remainers who really want to punish us for voting Brexit. We’ve rejected the views of our establishment and our elite. That’s naughty.
Austin Mitchell former Labour MP for Great Grimsby between 1977 and 2015.