The Times has seen the Operation Yellowhammer document. That’s the series of the worst things that can – will – happen if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31. Guess what will happen?
Yes, very serious, we all agree, we’d better call it off.
France will impose EU mandatory controls on UK goods on Day 1 of No Deal and has built infrastructure and IT systems to manage and process customs declarations and to support a risk-based control regime. On Day 1 of No Deal, 50%-85% of HGVs travelling via the short straits may not be ready for French customs. The lack of trader readiness combined with limited space in French ports to hold “unready” HGVs could reduce the flow rate to 40%-60% of current levels within one day. The worst disruption to the short Channel crossings might last 3 months before flow rates rise to about 50%-70% (as more traders get prepared), although disruption could continue much longer. In the event of serious disruption, the French might act to ensure some flow through the short Channel crossings.
So, if the Frogs insist upon all the paperwork – hey, they’re Frogs – then there will be traffic jams. Which will diminish pretty quickly. And knowing that there will be jams means that people will use alternative routes of course. And, well, that’s about it.
Well, OK, maybe peeps flying for a weekend break might have to wait 20 minutes to get their passport checked. Although quite why isn’t made clear, we’re already out of Schengen.
But that is about it. And therefore:
The term “Project Fear” must be expunged from the respectable political lexicon. Now that we know the full detail of the government’s Operation Yellowhammer assumptions about a no-deal Brexit, these two words – scornfully applied for three years to all warnings about Brexit – have no meaningful place in the present political emergency. “There’s a lot of scaremongering around,” declared the energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, in dismissive response to the Sunday Times’ reports on the leaked Yellowhammer document. Really? These, after all, are the government’s own assessments, not the panicked assertions of ultra-remainers.
In the event of a no-deal exit, there are likely to be serious shortages of fuel, food and medicine; disruption at the nation’s ports; civil disorder; increased poverty; and a hard border with Ireland. To be profoundly and vocally concerned about such a prospect is not “scaremongering”, but a basic civic responsibility.
Those first four are all the same thing, traffic jams. Civil disorder is if people are idiots about traffic jams. Poverty is about the fall in the pound, something that has largely already happened. A hard border with Ireland being something we’re not going to do anyway – because traffic jams of course.
But because traffic jams we must call the whole thing off.
You know, it’s hardly Gotterdammerung, is it? The M20 looking like the M25 on a bad day means we must continue to be ruled by Druncker and Van der Lyin’?
So, just where are all the damn adults?