Brexit is a boring, slow-motion train wreck

August 2018: The most ...

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 3:51 PM
Updated: Aug 23, 2018 3:51 PM

August 2018: The most dramatic week yet in Donald Trump's presidency.

Australia's government is in turmoil as its prime minister fights a leadership challenge.

Brexit

Continents and regions

Europe

European Union

Government organizations - Intl

Northern Europe

United Kingdom

Government and public administration

Political Figures - Intl

Politics

Theresa May

And in the UK, Theresa May's government is ordering stockpiling of medicines, warning of soaring credit card costs, lost pensions and disruption to food supplies in the event of no deal being reached with the EU on Brexit.

Except these dramatic developments, as alarming as they should be to British citizens, businesses and politicians, have emerged in a series of 25 incredibly technical documents covering finance, farming, medicine and even imported sperm donation.

The British love dry, bureaucratic technical reports as much as they love queuing. Which is to say, they love it a lot.

May's government has been under pressure to reveal its contingency plans for what will happen to the country's infrastructure, mass transit, health care and trade if her ministers cannot broker a deal with Brussels.

Britain is leaving the European Union in seven months, and yet more than two years on from its public vote for Brexit, a deal has not yet been reached.

Talks have been slow, held back by political wrangling among May's own senior ministers. The Prime Minister's latest vision for an exit strategy, known as the Chequers plan, is opposed by large parts of her own Conservative Party, as well as negotiators in Brussels.

In reality, the deadline for a Brexit deal is far sooner than March, because a deal is supposed to be struck by October so it can be ratified by Britain's parliament, as well as legislatures in other EU countries. As such, the prospect of a no-deal scenario grows more likely by the day.

In theory, then, British politics should be as dramatic as the events that are unfolding in the US and Australia. Brexit -- and the apocalyptic worst-case scenarios as set out under a no deal -- should be one of the most significant pieces of political theater the UK has witnessed in years.

The EU mantras of clocks ticking and "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" should be electrifying the body politic in the UK. In reality, Brexit has become stultifying and technocratic.

But is this deliberate? Dominic Raab, who has been in his job as Brexit Secretary for a matter of weeks, unveiled the no-deal planning papers in a speech in London on Thursday morning. The content of his speech was technical and sober, his delivery studiously dry and calm. He spoke of "managing and mitigating the risks." There was only one line that gave a hint of drama, when the minister said: "Amidst all of the technical detail we understand that real livelihoods are at stake here."

Yet, as many observers pointed out on Twitter, Raab was sweating profusely -- no doubt as a result of the atmospherics in the room, but the contrast served as a reminder of the disconnect between the newly published papers and what many see as the very real and alarming prospect of chaos if a no-deal Brexit does take place.

The UK government is having to walk a very fine line: if it engages in alarmist language, it will be accused by pro-Brexit politicians and commentators of trying to create panic and "project fear," and prevent what those Brexiteers really want, which is a much harder Brexit than the Chequers plan envisages, with all trade and customs links to the EU severed.

Yet if the government does not entertain the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal, with all of the associated complexities and logistical problems that entails, there will be public outcry if that no-deal scenario comes to pass.

British businesses, in particular, have been calling for no-deal contingency planning from May's government for at least a year. They are alarmed that it has taken until now, with seven months to go before Brexit Day, for that planning to be published.

Politicians and civil servants are still haunted by events of 18 years ago next month, when what started off as an apparently innocuous, small-scale protest by UK farmers over the rising cost of fuel turned into a full-blown crisis within a matter of days when an oil refinery was blockaded, gas pumps ran dry across the country, supermarket shelves were emptied by panicking citizens and hospital operations were canceled.

The Labour government of the time, taken by surprise, nearly fell. It was a sign of how Britain, a country famous for its queuing and stable but dull bureaucracy, tipped into panic-buying and chaos in the space of 72 hours. That is the no-deal Brexit dilemma facing May's government right now.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 441935

Reported Deaths: 5885
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin918591461
Ramsey39405729
Dakota32551324
Anoka30638354
Washington19827221
Stearns17686184
St. Louis13453237
Scott1178693
Wright11485101
Olmsted1024870
Sherburne812364
Carver686636
Clay643278
Rice595266
Kandiyohi551069
Blue Earth533833
Crow Wing476573
Otter Tail449860
Chisago446331
Benton414885
Winona383946
Douglas370366
Nobles364646
Mower358026
Goodhue340757
Polk326754
McLeod321644
Morrison308743
Beltrami305746
Lyon298735
Itasca281143
Becker279438
Isanti279440
Carlton276942
Steele26879
Pine263813
Freeborn237219
Todd230029
Nicollet222136
Brown212334
Mille Lacs211645
Le Sueur206515
Cass203823
Meeker197433
Waseca187515
Martin168226
Wabasha16712
Roseau164916
Hubbard146937
Redwood138527
Renville136139
Houston133213
Dodge13134
Chippewa130632
Cottonwood125118
Fillmore12084
Wadena118214
Rock108511
Sibley10757
Aitkin106633
Watonwan10548
Faribault103214
Kanabec96818
Pennington95915
Pipestone92522
Yellow Medicine92514
Murray8585
Jackson84510
Swift82617
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6968
Clearwater68114
Lac qui Parle65216
Lake62215
Wilkin6179
Koochiching57910
Lincoln4771
Big Stone4513
Unassigned43568
Grant4247
Norman4218
Mahnomen4077
Kittson36619
Red Lake3154
Traverse2433
Lake of the Woods1741
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 300884

Reported Deaths: 4197
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk44949440
Linn17563269
Scott15228161
Black Hawk13552228
Woodbury12896175
Johnson1191749
Dubuque11229148
Pottawattamie8863112
Dallas874169
Story857433
Webster464768
Cerro Gordo458766
Sioux452451
Clinton445461
Warren430637
Marshall424561
Buena Vista389029
Muscatine382275
Des Moines377340
Plymouth347967
Wapello336796
Jasper315955
Lee310828
Marion298852
Jones268949
Henry262130
Carroll252233
Bremer240048
Crawford227622
Boone214116
Washington213531
Benton207543
Mahaska189936
Jackson189631
Tama184757
Dickinson183225
Delaware171136
Kossuth169241
Clay165319
Wright161724
Fayette157022
Buchanan156920
Hamilton156828
Hardin153129
Harrison152961
Winneshiek150819
Clayton149848
Cedar149119
Butler145423
Page143115
Floyd137236
Cherokee137125
Mills135216
Lyon133132
Poweshiek131024
Hancock127924
Allamakee125927
Iowa122122
Calhoun12159
Jefferson118623
Grundy118522
Winnebago117229
Madison11639
Mitchell114634
Louisa113729
Cass111741
Chickasaw110111
Sac110115
Emmet109931
Appanoose108838
Union107922
Humboldt103919
Guthrie102124
Shelby101026
Franklin99818
Unassigned9370
Palo Alto8969
Keokuk84225
Montgomery82722
Howard81119
Monroe79918
Pocahontas77211
Clarke7717
Ida73530
Greene6837
Davis68221
Adair68120
Lucas6458
Osceola6349
Monona62316
Taylor5889
Worth5873
Fremont5005
Van Buren49112
Decatur4744
Ringgold4229
Wayne41321
Audubon4118
Adams2923
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 25°
Mason City
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 22°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 25°
Austin
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 24°
Charles City
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 24°
Snow moving out of the area
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Mega Millions jackpot soars to $750 million

Image

Increase in 2021 travel plans

Image

The Rochester Fire Department is hiring

Image

League of Women Voters Minnesota sends letter to legislative leaders

Image

River Bend Assisted Living receives Pfizer vaccine

Image

MLK Poetry Contest

Image

First Friday for indoor dining

Image

Digging out from last night's storm

Image

Rochester Business Coalition Call to Action

Image

Mask Maker Recognized By Governor Reynolds

Community Events