LeaveHQ, 06/08/2019  

The Leave Alliance does not welcome a no deal Brexit. From the beginning we took the view that Brexit was a process rather than an event. To successfully complete the process we would have to evolve our way out lest we do enormous damage to the economy.

It would seem, however, that Brexit has taken on a momentum of its own thanks to pernicious attempts by remainers to sabotage Brexit entirely. This effectively rules out a managed departure. MP have had several opportunities to shape the process and three explicit opportunities to vote for a withdrawal agreement but instead decided to gamble - to play double or quits.

This has spectacularly backfired on them. We now have Boris Johnson as Prime Minister who has now set us on a course for a no deal exit. Though the ERG have a hand in ensuring the withdrawal agreement did not pass, the parliamentary balance of power was always in the remain camp. There could have been an agreement had those MPs been truthful when they said they would respect the 2016 vote. It now looks like there is little MPs can do to prevent a no deal Brexit. They have squandered every last opportunity to constructively engage in the process.

But, of course, the matter does not end here. As Sir Ivan Rogers recently noted, crashing out on to WTO terms is far from a satisfactory destination. We will exist in a trade limbo having handed all of the leverage over future talks to Brussels - during which EU member states will be cannibalising the UK's share of regional and global trade. Brexit is going to hurt far more than it ever needed to.

We now face years of talks with the EU along with considerable regulatory instability that will deter investment and cause disruption to supply chains. The "clean break" as demanded by the Brexit blob will be anything but. In their zeal to be free of the EU and set about their "free trade" experiment, the Brexiteers have have turned us down a destructive path where they are sure to learn hard lessons - not least that "WTO rules" are not the soft landing ground they assumed it was.

Though The Leave Alliance has consistently warned of this, stressing the need for a managed departure, we are now resigned to the inevitable. The die is cast. We always knew that one way or another Brexit would define politics for at least the next decade. It will just follow a path different to the one we anticipated and hoped for.

Ultimately Britain is going to have to stumble its way through the dark to relearn the art of statecraft. Primarily we are here because our hopelessly inept politics and media couldn't get to grips with the issues fast enough and had also burned whatever trust was left during the referendum. Some raised the warning flag over a no deal Brexit early on but leave voters no longer had any basis to believe what they were told after such a thoroughly dishonest remain campaign. Now those same "experts" who lied about the EEA Efta option are wheeled out to tell us that it's not so bad after all.

It's too much to hope that any lessons will have been learned for the future and the Tories will now do all they can to deflect blame for this galactic failure. Boris Johnson's insincere campaign to restart talks is part of that process. He has no intention of seeing through any withdrawal agreement. This is simply an act of political theatre to make the EU look like the intransigent party.

For a time the Tories may even get away with it. If the country is sufficiently prepared many of the anticipated headline effects of a no deal Brexit may never come to pass. It will be the longer term secondary effects that will sour public opinion against them. The Brexiteers very probably wont' be around long enough to negotiate the new relationship with the EU. Between now and then there is a window to debate what form that relationship should take, where once again the EEA Efta option might present itself as the most elegant solution. 

The hardliners Brexiters may have won this battle (with the able assistance of intransigent remainers) but the future relationship cannot and must not be defined by them. We now face a long fight of equal intensity to reshape our own democracy as well as our bilateral relations with the EU. Eventually a no deal Brexit will ensure the hardliners are discredited and marginalised which should clear the air for more temperate voices to be heard.

We regret that it has come to this but Brexit is fundamentally a constitutional question of who governs us, and a failure to deliver on the verdict of 2016 has its own hazards. That we are leaving without a deal is down to the hubris of parliament, the ignorance of our media and the inflexibility of the EU. You can be forgiven for thinking that it couldn't go any other way. There's just too much bad blood over this toxic issue. 

Perhaps, though, this is how it needed to go for us to lance the boil. Only when the misapprehensions and follies of the ultra Breixters are exposed to the cold light of reality can we move on to the next phase. The work does not end in November and we need to remind the zealots on both sides of the argument that they do not own Brexit. Saner voices must reclaim it if we are to unscramble this mess. 

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