To go ahead with ‘hard Brexit’ in good conscience, the British government needs to believe all of the following:
- That introducing trade tariffs on trade with neighbours can make Britain into a great trading nation
- That the EU will let the UK sell goods and services into Europe without agreeing to follow European rules
- That international trading partners will slight the EU in order to hold preemptive trade negotiations with Britain
- That London’s banking centre can thrive without full access to the European Union
- That foreign manufacturers like Toyota and Nissan are too firmly entrenched to move out of Britain.
- That the UK isn’t dependent on EU labour to any great degree
- That Scotland will stay in the Union no matter what
Leader writers at the Telegraph might pretend to believe some of these things two or three days a week, but even the most hardened eurosceptic knows that at least some of these things are definitely not true. If even one of these things turns out not to be the case, it will mean a major recession at best, and the collapse of the United Kingdom at worst.