The dangerous delusion of no-deal Brexit

The dangerous delusion of no-deal Brexit:

“A no-deal Brexit sounds simple, but it comes in several guises. One is
as a negotiating tactic, to strengthen Britain’s weak bargaining
position. But this works only if the threat of no deal is credible, and
few people in Brussels think it is. Another of its purposes is to win
more support at home for Mrs May’s Chequers plan, by showing voters the
horrors that would result from rejecting it. So far, this is not
working, either. Polls find that voters prefer no deal to Chequers by
two to one. …

Customs would be a big problem. Brexiteers say Britain should keep its
borders open, without controls or tariffs. Yet the EU would be unable to
reciprocate, not least because WTO rules say that tariff-free access
would have to be offered to all members. The number of customs forms for
exporters would quadruple, costing £20bn a year. An extra two minutes’
delay for lorries at Dover would mean long queues in Kent. Unilateral
free trade would ravage British farming and manufacturing. And one-way
free trade does not help lorry drivers, who must return fully laden. …

Regulatory obstacles would be even worse. A no-deal Brexit would take
Britain out of all the EU’s agencies, as well as its courts. Brexiteers
may welcome this, but setting up alternatives would take years. The EU
is clear that trade in goods like chemicals, pharmaceuticals or cars
depends on Britain meeting its standards. Britain’s car industry, which
employs 800,000 people and exports 80% of its output, is especially
vulnerable, as it would lose EU certification for vehicles, as well as
facing 10% tariffs. …

Brexiteers may call this Project Fear 2.0, but the evidence is against
them. Market confidence would suffer. John Springford of the Centre for
European Reform, a think-tank, says a no-deal Brexit would trigger both a
recession and a run on the pound. No deal is not a serious option, even
if today’s febrile politics pretends it is.”