Leader: A Mad Max Brexit

Brexit won’t mean being “plunged into a Mad Max-style world”, according to David Davis.

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The Brexit secretary, David Davis, has often brushed aside fears that leaving the European Union will be difficult. “There will be no downside to Brexit, only a considerable upside,” he said in October 2016.

Other Brexiteers have shown similar hubris. “The day after we vote to leave we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want,” said Michael Gove before the referendum. And in July 2017, Liam Fox claimed that “the free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history”.

How times change. On 20 February, Mr Davis gave a speech that was intended to mock the gloom of other European leaders. Britain would not, he said, be “plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction”.

The most recent Mad Max film, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, featured a citadel full of women held captive for their breast milk, a crazed tyrant hoarding scarce water in a desert, and drug-addicted men strapped to the front of enormous lorries playing glam rock music on improbably large guitars. It is certainly reassuring to hear that whatever course Brexit takes, we can expect a better outcome than this. 

This article first appeared in the 22 February 2018 issue of the New Statesman, Sunni vs Shia