Johnson: Actually, No-Deal Brexit is Good

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Various British media outlets reported over the weekend that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plans for abandoning trade talks with the European Union (EU) had leaked to the press, but abandoning talks and moving forward with a hard Brexit would be "good," Johnson says.

Boris Johnson's plans are reportedly centered around walking back the EU withdrawal agreement he signed in January of this year. And more specifically, Johnson wants to unilaterally repeal the provisions that would ensure a harder border does not return to Ireland.

If Johnson moves forward with his plan to nullify part of the agreement, that would obviously signal that he's abandoning talks with the EU. But don't worry; a hard, no-deal Brexit would be great.

Speculation mounted over the weekend that Britain was preparing for the collapse of trade talks with the European Union, after a report that the UK was planning to renege on key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement.

In an email to Conservative Party members on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would “not back down in negotiations” and said no deal would be “a good outcome.”

The collapse of talks would put the UK on course to exit the Brexit transition period without a deal at the end of December, an outcome widely seen as economically damaging for the UK.

Having secured the provisions to settle the matter maintaining an open border in Ireland, it seems insane to walk that back now at the 11th hour.

British political watchers who know better than I do speculate that Johnson never wanted to concede on control of Ireland's market in the first place so -- if they're going to go through a hard Brexit in any case -- he feels like he may as well break the agreement.

This will break international law the British government agreed to by their own admission.

I don't know what this will mean for Ireland in the long term or whether this could renew the prospect of violence, but I think we can safely say the British economy will be truly fucked next year.

To be clear, the reason why trade talks are collapsing is not necessarily because of the new rules governing trade in Ireland; it's because Boris Johnson's government will not agree to rules against subsidizing domestic industries.

The European Union does not want to see Britain directly subsidize industries and then allow those industries to sell their subsidized products in the European market for less than what the corresponding European industries can demand.

That seems reasonable to me, but I actually believe in the power of free market supply and demand. The truth is conservatives are the ones who don't believe in free markets. Conservative economic policy is rigged in favor of monopoly power, concentrated wealth, and direct or indirect subsidies for preferred businesses.

Boris Johnson shot down recent reports that he's planning to resign next year after the Brexit is complete, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if he did. What better time to leave than right after destroying the world? Maybe Johnson and Trump can retire together.

  • muselet

    For those keeping score at home:

    • Boris Johnson is proposing the UK break international law (but only “in a very specific and limited way,” so why is anyone getting bent out of shape about it?). That will cause:

    • a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, which torpedoes not only UK/EU trade agreements, but also the Good Friday Agreement. That might very well cause:

    • a return of The Troubles. A frictionless border wasn’t some frippery, it was a key part of the Good Friday Agreement. The consequences of this do not bear contemplation.

    I think it’s fair to predict that Boris Johnson will not go down in British history as a great, or even adequate, PM.

    And, just to show that currency traders are weird, the pound sterling is still trading at roughly the same levels it has been for the past six months. I find that inexplicable.


    • KanaW

      Aside from the fact that Johnson is most likely as much of a conman as Trump, they’re both the type that believes that if they only hand the uber-rich enough perks that those same uber-rich will allow them into their ranks. Sort of like the fool whose only value at a party is that he can supply the drugs, so he gets invited to everything, and therefore thinks he’s popular.

      Johnson has done the same thing over here that Trump has done in the states – enrich all his friends and give lucrative contracts to anyone who kowtows to him.

      I’ve thought for the last couple of decades that the markets and the currency trading has no relationship to the reality that people live anymore.

      • muselet

        As far as I can tell, the big difference between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump is that Johnson is a candidate for—Monty Python’s Flying Circus reference incoming—Upper-Class Twit of the Year (he’s just inbred enough to qualify), while Trump is forever the arriviste desperate for approval from his betters. Oh, and Johnson seems really to believe his line of patter, which is always dangerous for a conman.

        I’m not sure a cocksure idiot is better or worse for a nation than an insecure idiot.


        • KanaW

          I agree with most of that, but I’m not sure Johnson actually believes what he’s saying, since he’s switched sides on the Brexit thing three times now over the last few years, before he got the chance to grab the PM job (sort of like May, who was totally against it until she was for it, so she could get the power). 🙁