As U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May continues to try to guide her “Soft Brexit” plan through Parliament, the United Kingdom is making plans for what the government considers the “worst case scenario.” On Monday morning, officials in Great Britain began testing solutions to forestall expected chaos at the borders should a “no deal” Brexit occur in late March.
On Monday, the British Department for Transportation and Kent County attempted to manufacture a traffic jam heading into Dover, a major ferry and trade conduit between the U.K. and Europe. Officials had hoped as many as 150 lorries (trucks) would show up to test the government’s plan to use the abandoned Manston Airfield as a holding bay for excess vehicles, but only 89 lorries appeared.
The stress test, officially called Operation Brock but labeled a “war game” by some, was widely criticized as being too late and insufficient considering the real demands on the system.
“Less than a hundred lorries is a drop in the ocean compared to the more than 10,000 that go to the channel ports everyday,” said Charlie Elphicke, a Conservative member of Parliament (MP) from Dover.
“Sending lorries across Kent on a wild goose chase to Manston Airport and then to the Port of Dover by small and winding, often single-track ‘A roads’ through Kent villages is not the right plan.”
Those who wish to remain in the EU are mocking the test as well. Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, who is calling for a second vote on Brexit, called the test “a taxpayer-funded farce.”
Some in the trucking profession saw the stress-test as farcical as well. Richard Burnett of the Royal Hauler’s Association (RHA) said in a statement, “Today’s trial cannot possibly duplicate the reality of 4,000 trucks being held at Manston Airport in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”
“It’s too little too late — this process should have started nine months ago. At this stage it looks like window dressing.”
Should the U.K. leave the European Union with no exit deal in place, many are predicting the immediate introduction of tariffs and customs barriers, which would dramatically slow rail, ferry, and motor-vehicle traffic between Great Britain and Europe. It is thought by some that the anticipated delays might leave the U.K. without adequate supplies of food and medicine.
As both sides ponder the implications of a no-deal Brexit, Parliament is expected to take up debate on May’s Brexit Deal on Wednesday. A December vote on the plan was postponed because the proposed plan was expected to be defeated. May sought extra time to gain concessions from the EU, most importantly on the “Irish Backstop” issue, which many Brexiteers fear would lock Great Britain in a long-term trade union with the EU.
“There was some movement from the European Union,” May claimed during a press conference concerning the U.K.’s National Health Service. “I’ve been speaking to European leaders in the intervening period, speaking to colleagues … we’re continuing to work on further assurances, further undertakings from the European Union in relation to the concern that’s been expressed by Parliamentarians.”
But according to the EU, any “movement” on their part is only wishful thinking by May. In fact, they’ve announced that the deal already negotiated with May is the absolute best that the U.K. can hope for. “The deal that is on the table is the best and the only deal possible,” said Margaritis Schinas, a spokesperson for the European Commission. “This deal will not be renegotiated.”
After parliamentary debate, a new vote on May’s plan is expected to be held on or about January 15.
Meanwhile, the calls for a second Brexit Referendum are growing louder, as the fear being manufactured by “Remainers” starts to take hold. A poll released by BMG earlier this week claimed that support among British citizens for remaining in the EU has grown to 52 percent, while only 40 percent now wish to leave.
Of course, similar polls in 2016 showed the “Remain” side winning handily, and look how that turned out.
If the vote on May’s agreement with the EU fails next week — and current signs are suggesting it will — a “no-deal” Brexit is the best option for Great Britain. It’s far better to face a bit of temporary disruption — which will almost certainly not be as bad as many are predicting — than to remain in the globalist bureaucratic mess that is the European Union one more day than necessary.
Photo: AP Images