LETTER TO SCMP:
Quite why the South China Morning Post should opine on Brexit from these distant shores is a mystery. But if you are going to do it, at least get your facts straight. ("A no-deal Brexit is in no one's interest", 28 August).
You say "A British government report recently warned that a no-deal Brexit could lead to shortages of food and medicines, job losses, and chaos at Britain's ports". Presuming that your reference is to the leaked "Yellowhammer Report", you fail to mention that each of these is clearly labelled as "worst case", and that much planning to avoid exactly these outcomes has already been done.
The French port of Calais has stepped up the number of checkpoints, employed 700 customs staff, and bought scanners to check lorries as they drive past. The president of the Port Boulogne Calais has said 'there will not be any delay' in shipping food and drugs in a no-deal Brexit.
On the UK side, government has installed computer systems to cope with new customs controls. It has set up an inland clearing site for lorries in Milton Keynes, to keep them away from ports. Major supermarkets have reassured ministers they have diversified supplies enough that food will remain on the shelves. Despite the concern about car manufacturing, one of Britain's best-known car companies has told government it can cope. NHS stockpiling ensures that even if the border preparations failed, patients still get drugs. Drugs companies say they have two years' of supplies. 'The scare stories about food and drugs are completely unjustified,' a government planner has said.There is then the issue of tariffs with the EU — about 4 per cent on average. They would clearly be (marginally) bad for trade. But on average they are less than the depreciation of sterling, so exporters would still be more competitive than they were before the referendum.
Scare stories about "crashing out" are precisely that: scaremongering.
Meantime any deal that Britain may able to get before October 31 can only be a mutant of Theresa May's failed efforts, and thus worse for Britain than Remaining. But Remain is not an option as it would be a betrayal of democracy.
And so, to PM Johnson, with apologies to King Henry:
Once more unto the breach, dear Boris, once more…
When the blast of Brexit blows in your ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood…
A-deal Brexit is in no one's interest
Sent from my iPad