Lovely report by Ian Dunt of the press conference in which the minister responsible for Brexit unveiled the government’s “planning’ for a no-deal exit from the EU:
He kept trying to sound upbeat about it, but his nerves gave him away. As the press conference wore on, Dominic Raab started to come across like some kind of deranged flight steward, insisting that in the “unlikely scenario” of no-deal, everything would be fine. The plane would hit the water smoothly, just like in those cartoons they put on the safety leaflets, and then happy families would slide down into the inflatable rafts.
The Brexit secretary had been sent out to release the first batch of the government’s summer holiday airport thrillers, in the form of about 70 technical papers on what the UK would do in the event of no-deal. He attempted to maintain a smile and confident manner throughout, but his brow glimmered with sweat and his voice kept wavering mid-sentence. It was not a convincing performance.
His task was, to be fair, unenviable. He needed to make no-deal look terrible and also fine, because it is only by the simultaneous maintenance of both of these contradictory propositions that the Tory party can be held together.
Theresa May needs no-deal to look awful, because a comparison with it is the only thing to recommend her own rubbish Chequers plan. The ERG hardliners on the backbenches need it to look completely normal, because it is the only form of Brexit which does not demand that they face the existence of objective reality.
This must be the worst government in Britain’s history.