What are the risks of Brexit without a deal?

Why is the PM still trying to get a deal?

I have written many times about the risks of Brexit, and I keep writing, because the risks are evolving, or at least my understanding of their probability and severity is. I am increasingly concerned that many brexiters underestimate the potential harm that a hard Brexit would cause. Apparently many EU leaders underestimate the harm a no-deal Brexit would do to the rest of the EU too.  Any deal, no matter how poor, would enable the transitional arrangements to operate, and some arrangements would surely be made for such things as:

  • aviation
  • educational and business travel
  • law-enforcement and intelligence

In a no-deal Brexit, even the arrangements already negotiated  would no longer stand.

Dice: deal or no deal, Brexit is a gamble - we all need to manage the risks.
Dice: deal or no deal, Brexit is a gamble – we all need to manage the risks.
Those who want no deal ignore the importance of goodwill

When we cross the deadline, we are bound to find things nobody has resolved. In the event of a deal, even a bad one, we can hope that common sense and  goodwill would enable both sides to find ways around the difficulties, until they have made more permanent arrangements.

If there is no deal, it is likely that the atmosphere will be different.  It is bad now, but could improve if a deal is done. Each side will blame the other for the failure to reach agreement. We can rely on the British tabloids to pour petrol on the flames. It would then be likely that officials on both sides of the Channel, would take a pedantic approach to every situation that falls into a grey area. They could be anyone from police and customs officers to local and national civil servants.

The recent scallop wars show how easily things can go wrong. Perhaps we Britons will find out what a hostile environment is like, when we apply for visas. Think of the Windrush scandal in reverse.

Can those who want no deal do any more harm after Brexit?

Yes! It is possible they have another agenda that is hiding behind Brexit. Am I a conspiracy theorist? No. I usually follow the cock-up theory of history. Of course, that one applies to Brexit too. I will write about this conspiracy risk in another blog.

A cartoon man with a question mark. Is he pondering what the hard brexiters have in store?
A cartoon man with a question mark. Is he pondering what the hard brexiters have in store?