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By Jason Michael
EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING Europe’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, speaking at a press conference, made it absolutely clear that from the standpoint of the European Union the only deal on offer to the United Kingdom is the deal that has already been negotiated. Europe has said repeatedly that the negotiations are over, and all that remains to be done is for the British government to have this deal passed by the Westminster parliament. Since 25 November 2018, however, when the EU27 leaders finalised their endorsement of the withdrawal agreement and approved a draft political declaration on the future of EU-UK relations – the official end of the Article 50 negotiations, the British government has been effectively pretending to the public in the United Kingdom that these talks are still on-going. This duplicitous behaviour, it would seem, has been intended to buy the British Prime Minister some time to put the hard sell on “her deal.”
It certainly hasn’t helped matters that, for his own politically ambitious reasons, the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has been pretending he could somehow go to Brussels and secure a better deal. With both the British government and opposition refusing to inform the public that the negotiations had ended, the electorate in the UK has been kept largely in the dark, believing that perhaps this process is leading somewhere – hopefully to somewhere other than disaster. It has taken this firm statement from Mr Barnier to finally ram the message home; the negotiations have ended, they will not be reopened, and the deal on the table is the only deal on offer.
Jeremy Corbyn is "very happy" to meet the Prime Minister and has said that parliament needs an opportunity vote. We… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) April 02, 2019
This wilful obfuscation on the part of the British government and opposition – now long over the threshold of criminal negligence – has left the majority of the British public dangerously unprepared for the hard Brexit cliff edge, the storm of social, political, and economic chaos which is about to break over its head. A no-deal Brexit, described by the British government in its own economic report as an “Apocalypse scenario,” does mean food shortages, does mean a break in the supply of essential medicines and medical equipment, does mean serious civil disorder, and does make political collapse a distinct possibility. Crashing out of the European Union without a deal will, as the government has conceded, will cause a fall in the UK’s GDP of between 10 and 12 per cent over a fifteen-year period – that is a fall five times the magnitude of that caused by the 2007 global credit crunch, the recession that saw the introduction of savage austerity to Britain and the north of Ireland.
The bottom line, which can now no longer be ignored, is that the Brexit we are facing due to British gross political incompetence will cost lives. People are going to die as a direct consequence of the failures of the British government. This is an economic and mathematical certainty. The island of Britain produces only about 40 per cent of the food it requires to feed its entire population. The UK does not manufacture most of the life-saving medicines hundreds of thousands of people depend on to stay alive. Without a trade deal with the EU and without any contingency planning – of which there is none, the UK is heading into a disaster of an unprecedented scale.
That the penny has finally dropped, after passing the first deadline and fast approaching the date of the first extension, a clearly panicked Mrs May addressed the public last night to acknowledge for the first time what the EU27 has been saying all along: The withdrawal agreement is the only political solution that stands between the survival of the British state and an absolute catastrophe. Her proposal has been to invite the Mr Corbyn to talks in a move highly reminiscent of the failure of European democracies in the 1930s, in the hope of pulling him into what amounts to a government of national unity – an effective suspension of parliamentary opposition – in order to save the state. Yet, Corbyn, while happy to speak with the Prime Minister, has his own red lines. His Labour Party, through its own internal divisions and recent Commons vote abstentions, has played a significant part in bringing us to this dangerous and chaotic situation. In fact, when it comes to assessments of where we are at in this process, we can’t go wrong with what Ann Widdicombe said on BBC Newsnight:
We’ve got the worst Prime Minister since Anthony Eden, we got the worst leader of the opposition in the entire history of the Labour Party, and we’ve got the worst parliament since Oliver Cromwell. And with that combination we are actually engaged in the most important international negotiations for fifty years.
Risking making the greatest understatement of the decade, it’s fair to say that we are in a mess. Given that both the government and the opposition are committed to leaving the EU, and given that right-wing mobs are now gathering around Westminster with placards depicting executions and advocating political violence – a sure indication we have reached a pre-revolutionary phase of this unfolding shambles, there will be no re-run of the Brexit referendum and there will be no so-called People’s Vote. Those ships have sailed. Whether we like it or not, we are now heading into the abyss – and there is nothing, short of taking to the streets and manning barricades ourselves, that will halt this miserable trajectory. It is now time that we act to protect ourselves.
Scotland must, if it is not to be sucked under by the sinking of Britannia, move towards an independence referendum. The same goes for Wales, and the north of Ireland must likewise opt for a unity referendum in order to reunify with the rest of the island of Ireland. Failing this, or if these actions are not taken in time, then we as individuals must act to save ourselves and our families. We are in a seriously precarious predicament, and – quite frankly – we now have to expect and be prepared for the worst. This is not a drill. Stockpiling non-perishable food is a must. A crash out Brexit may land on us like a bolt from the blue, giving us precisely no time to prepare. Having something put aside is just sensible home economics, and we must use it to our advantage. Elise Xavier, a Canadian living in the UK, has prepared an excellent guide to emergency stockpiling. My recommendation is that you read this and follow as much of her advice as you can.
Stockpile medicines. Not everyone can do this, given medical restrictions. But where it is possible, and where GPs can be persuaded to help, make sure that you have something set aside – even just a few weeks’ worth of supplies. Remember, this crisis will not last forever. Shortages will not be a permanent consequence. But shortages in the short term will mean that many will have to go without or with less than is needed. If you can, please put something aside. They will not go to waste. No matter what happens, all of your stocks will be used up in time.
May: I couldn't get my deal through Parliament, so I'll try and ram it through under the guise of 'cross-party coop… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Sarah Mackie (@lumi_1984) April 02, 2019
Many people will not be able to stockpile. Not everyone – thanks to the Conservative Party and its austerity programme and sanctions regime – has the money to buy more than is needed to stay alive from day to day. For the love of God, people, be mindful of this. If you can, set aside a little extra for those who will have to go without. Remember, we are a community. The bonds we build during this emergency will strengthen the bonds of our community and nation and will lay the foundations for a better environment once we get back to normal – and we will get back to normal.
There is, I am sure, a special place in hell for those who have brought us here without having even a sketch of an idea of what to do with the mayhem they have created. But this too will pass. This crisis is not forever. What we must concentrate on today is how to protect and survive. Tomorrow, when this nightmare is over and behind us, we will begin the process of bringing those responsible to justice. We will continue the struggle for independence here in Scotland. This crime will not be forgotten. It will never be forgiven. Be assured of that. But right now, we have other priorities. From now on, we have to pull together and weather this storm as a community and as a nation. I cannot impress upon my readers enough just how much of an emergency this is. Be prepared. This is not a drill.
Woman Stockpiles Food and Medicine for Brexit