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Mark Steel: The Brexit scare tactics have gone into overdrive
January 12, 2019
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These no-deal exercises, where the government practises what happens if we leave the EU without an agreement, look like fun. The rehearsal of lorries queuing up all day in Kent was an excellent exercise, because most of Kent voted to leave, as it was fed up of being overcrowded, especially by foreigners.

So now it seems the population of Kent will increase by 10 million, all of whom will be Romanian lorry drivers stuck in a queue outside Maidstone. This is probably an imaginative ploy to persuade us to support Theresa May’s plan, by suggesting catastrophe will take place if we don’t.

So hopefully she has organised more activities, such as a volcano in Hemel Hempstead. Molten lava will be poured from the roof of Asda as a rehearsal for the likely geological impact of rejecting her agreement.

Presumably, Michael Gove and Amber Rudd will be sent out in balaclavas to plant bombs in Armagh, then appear on the news to say “we are simply taking precautions, as any sensible government would, in rehearsing what would happen if there was no deal on the Irish backstop. And as a result, members of the cabinet joined an active unit of the Continuity IRA.”

Maybe they’ll tell us all their behaviour over the last two years has been in preparation for a no-deal Brexit, by showing us what happens when everyone in charge of anything is an idiot.

The problem is the Brexit issue has divided the country into two irreconcilable groups; not for or against leaving the EU, but one that follows the matter obsessively, and one that’s so sick of the whole thing that they wouldn’t be bothered if we were annexed by Syria.

So every day the government faces a new humiliation – charged with contempt or losing 270 key votes in 10 minutes, and we’re just used to it, so nothing changes. Next week, if there is a motion passed in the commons that Philip Hammond has to have a huge phallic symbols painted on his back during any announcement on the economy, most people would take no notice.

Then Labour will announce they are putting forward an amendment that the cabinet has to make a face like a goldfish for 10 minutes while everyone else tries to throw bits of soggy paper in their mouths, which will win with a majority of 360, but May will insist this is only a setback and she’s still confident she can get her deal passed.

Even more imaginative are the people who insist we should welcome leaving with no agreement. Their argument is we shouldn’t worry about shortages of food and medical supplies because “we stood against the Blitz, so we can put up with this”.

It won’t be so bad, they insist, because instead of being shackled by the EU, we’ll be free to carry on under the rules of the World Trade Organisation. So power will be removed from elites such as the EU, and handed to the common everyday folk who run the WTO. Because the first thing the WTO does, before implementing a plan for the global economy, is ask the Wilson family who live in Lincolnshire what they think.

Once we’re under WTO rules they’ll pop round every day, like a rural priest in the 1950s or a village bobby from a children’s story. At last we’ll have taken back control.

The Independent

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