Gordon Brown warns that a no-deal Brexit would turn the UK into a spivs’ and speculators’ paradise as they exploit shortages of food and medicine and the resulting price rises.
Given Boris Johnson’s drive to “Get Brexit Done”, an equally determined effort to stop no-deal and talk of a snap general election, it is perhaps understandable that we have, as a nation, stopped talking about what life would be like outside the European Union.
Brexit Day, if it comes, will be a day of celebration for some, trepidation and sorrow for others, but the most ardent Leave supporters may perhaps view it as Paradise Found.
Gordon Brown, however, will today warn that no-deal would create a different kind of paradise, one for “spivs and speculators”, in which profiteers start buying up food and medicine to sell as prices rises.
The former Prime Minister, in a speech to councils in St Andrews, will point out the UK receives a million medical consignments from the EU every day, along with 30 per cent of supplies. Border checks imposed overnight on 31 October would interrupt this currently smooth flow of goods in a way that he said would ultimately affect millions of ordinary people.
Brown also highlighted the concerns of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society about about the number of commonly used drugs that are already in short supply, such as statins, anti-depressants and wound dressings. The export of 30 drugs to Europe has been banned by the NHS for precisely this reason.
So what are the benefits of leaving? Why are we doing this again? The UK is a net contributor to the EU, so the Government would save money, but the damage to the economy is likely to dwarf these savings so the country will suffer and tax revenues will fall.
Brexit Britian would have complete sovereignty over its affairs following a no-deal Brexit so, for example, would be able to put controls on immigration from the EU, but given that migrants are an economic and cultural boon to this country it’s unclear how this will make life here any better. Studies have found a small negative effect on the wages of low-skilled workers, but this was off-set by other factors such as rises in the mininum wage.
Brexiteers also point to the ability to cut our own trade deals, although why anyone expects these deals will be on better terms than those secured by the EU is hard to fathom, given the much greater size of its economy.
Johnson seems to realise hard times are coming, hence his extraordinary spending-splurge pledges. Get ready for trouble in paradise.