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  1. Politics
  2. Brexit
23 July 2018

A no deal Brexit may cause “civil unrest”. Yet the government has rejected all other deals

The Tories don’t want a hard border with Ireland, don’t want a border in the Irish Sea and don’t want to remain within the regulatory orbit of the EU.

By Stephen Bush

Just think, if in June 2017 I’d told you that next year government ministers would be angrily railing against Amazon, you’d think that Jeremy Corbyn would have won the election.

Amazon’s top man in the UK, Doug Gurr, warned on Friday that within two weeks of a no deal exit there would be civil unrest at a meeting between concerned businesses and ministers from the Brexit department, and an account of the meeting has found its way to the Times.

It highlights one reason why the Brexiteer meme that Theresa May bungled Brexit by failing to plan for a no deal is nonsense. As the government begins to step up planning for a no deal, it also has to reassure both citizens and businesses not to worry because it doesn’t really mean what it’s saying, as Dominic Raab did not only in private on Friday but in public yesterday on the BBC. The bluff comes pre-called.

In any case, were I looking for ways to safeguard the future of Brexit, telling a country on its eighth year of spending restraint that we needed to spend £20bn on some ports that we may never actually end up needing wouldn’t be high up the list.

Of course, as it stands, it looks more likely than not that we will end up needing those ports. The Conservatives don’t want a hard border on the island of Ireland, don’t want a border in the Irish Sea and don’t want to remain within the regulatory orbit of the European Union either: that is to say, they have rejected all the possible Brexits. All that’s left is no deal at all – unless private warnings from business are met with concrete action to shift the parliamentary politics.

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