Brexit donkeys still leading us.
Byline: IAN GIBSON Upton
CHANGES in the size of the economy are normally measured in low single figures such as 0.9% or 1.2%. But as the economy is now expected to experience the worst downturn for centuries, larger even than that seen in the winter of 1709 and at the outbreak of the second world war, there are predictions that during this quarter our GDP will have shrunk by 35%, yes, 35%. It is astounding, and no-one alive today has ever seen anything like this.
Yet even under these conditions, with Britain having left the EU in January and now being in the transition period, during which we negotiate the trade terms with the EU, Boris Johnson is still insisting that there can be no delay in the deadline of June for asking for an extension to the negotiation of the Brexit departure terms.
These negotiations are due to conclude in December - even though weeks have been lost because some of the negotiators have been ill with the coronavirus.
It is as if the current government positively wants the leaving terms to be crashing out with a No Deal exit, cutting us off from 45% of our export markets and making it harder to import goods. This is madness.
It is the same madness, a chronic case of overwhelming Euro-phobia, which led the Government to refuse to take part in the Europe-wide procurement of ventilators and PPE, even though during the transition period we are still eligible to participate.
Is pandering to the Brexit fanatics is more important than tackling the coronavirus? Even while he bears the heavy responsibility of leading the country through the virus pandemic, the Prime Minister is still pursuing the extreme No Deal position which he used to destroy Theresa May's Government, put himself into ..Health Secretary Matt Hancock PA Video/PA Wire Downing Street 10 months ago by persuading the 0.2% of the country who are Conservative party members to make him leader of the party in place of Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock and the other candidates.
This extremist Euro-phobic policy is utterly against the national interest. As in many things, the donkeys are still leading us.