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Brexit weekly briefing: is no deal for Britain really better than a bad deal?

Written by The Guardian

A TV audience applauded Theresa May’s ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ soundbite. But what might a ‘no deal’ Brexit look like?

Welcome to the Guardian’s weekly Brexit briefing, a summary of developments as the UK heads towards the EU door marked “exit”. If you would like to receive it as a weekly early morning email, please sign up here.

You can listen to our latest Brexit Means podcast, updated every Wednesday, here. And with the general election under way in the UK, you can also sign up to the Snap, our daily email election briefing, here.

British exports of goods and services would shrink very sharply … provoking a sharp fall in the value of sterling. Inflation would rise as the weakening of sterling and the imposition of tariffs boosted the prices of goods, in turn eroding disposable incomes and consumption. The result would be a deep recession.”

We have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans … we Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.

Related: Ashdown ‘horrified’ by parallels between UK and 1930s Germany

At the heart of this lies the hubristic idea that Britain can just go back to doing things as it did before – dictating the terms of commerce, while keeping its business partners at arm’s length. You know, like when they were colonies.

There is no such thing as ‘no deal’. There is orderly transition or there is frantic patching up of essential arrangements as they expire … if May is bluffing, it is only her domestic audience that can be fooled and they won’t stay fooled for long. If she isn’t bluffing, she is delusional. In private, EU politicians have urged British counterparts to level with voters and prepare them for compromise. Their fear is that UK pragmatism will be lost for good. Merkel has resorted to voicing that anxiety in public. When the world’s most experienced democratic leader warns that [Britain] is starting to look unhinged, it is worth considering that she may be right.

Theresa May’s election campaign has been a collection of unforced errors. What’s most concerning is that this is how she performed against Jeremy Corbyn. The entire reason this election is taking place right now is because he is such a weak candidate. How will she do when she is facing a much larger, more powerful, better-prepared opponent? On the evidence of what we’ve seen so far, there is ample reason for concern.

I fear #BattleForNumber10 showed that many just want a hard Brexit, however much damage it’ll do, and trust May to give it them. Depressing.

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