Once again, the news from all those Brexit negotiations is grim. And once again, with the certainty of night following day, the grim news is followed by demands from our free and fearless press to ignore it and look over there, because they found another of those here today and gone tomorrow politicians who says it’s rubbish.
Sky News reported yesterday that “Whitehall officials are reported to have drawn up three different scenarios for a cross-government group preparing for Britain's departure from the EU. According to the Sunday Times, these include mild and severe scenarios of the UK leaving the bloc without a deal, while a further scenario is known as ‘Armageddon’”.
There was more. “A source told the newspaper: ‘In the second scenario, not even the worst, the port of Dover will collapse on day one. The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks … You would have to medevac medicine into Britain, and at the end of week two we would be running out of petrol as well”.
The source of these claims? “The documents are said to have been written for the Inter-Ministerial Group on Preparedness by civil servants at the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU), Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Transport”. And no denial, either. “A Whitehall source told Sky News that ‘inevitably the government has been discussing a range of scenarios’, adding: ‘It's something that's been discussed extensively.’” So this morning the Murdoch Sun has come out with guns blazing.
“Project Fear’s laughable doomsday report is trying to scare Britain away from a successful no-deal Brexit” it has told. And who is backing the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker? “Jacob Rees-Mogg has rightly dismissed it as ‘Project Fear on speed’. It is a wicked attempt to terrify us into bottling a no-deal Brexit”. And what, pray, does the Honourable Member for times long past know that the Civil Service does not?
That, of course, is not told. But Rees Mogg does claim “It is a fallacy that countries will unilaterally decide to stop selling you their goods. The idea that food will not get through at Dover is entirely wrong”. Oh, it would get through - eventually. That is the fact that Rees Mogg would rather not face up to. Instead, he blethers “We would be free to import food, medicines, fuel as we wished and the EU could only stop this if it were to impose sanctions, which is not a credible thought”. Look over there!
There is no analysis of any kind. Just the likes of Rees Mogg loftily scoffing that anyone bringing bad news is talking rubbish, because he says so. And if anyone finds that unsettling, the attitude of the Murdoch press is far worse. Rather than stop and think, all they can manage is “Theresa May has just enough time to prepare for any potential scenario, but only if she stops being bullied into paralysis by arch-Remainers in Downing Street and Whitehall … Get on with it, PM”. Very Colonel Ross of them.
Yes, as far as the Murdoch mafiosi is concerned, Theresa May has had her instructions and that is that. That’s what you get when you sell out to the press barons whose only interest in Brexit is to enable them and their pals to asset-strip the UK in the subsequent fire sale. Another reason, if one were needed, to say once more - Don’t Buy The Sun.