M Omar Iftikhar
THE United Kingdom is at the verge of experiencing a historic makeover of its socio-political and economic fabric. UK’s new Premier, Boris Johnson, is adamant to face a no-deal Brexit. The UK will, most possibly and as it is evident, crash once the deadline to negotiate passes on 31 October 2019. The ‘central scenario’ as diplomats and advisers are referring to Prime Minister Johnson’s plan reveal that the UK will face harsh realities and a crisis never seen before once the no-deal Brexit is implemented. There were speculations following Boris Johnson’s taking power in July 2019 that the UK may accept a deal ahead of the completion of the Brexit. However, Johnson was unbending regarding his initial comments on a no-deal Brexit which he had been saying even before becoming the Prime Minister of the UK.
“It was clear UK does not have another plan,” were the words of a senior EU diplomat during a meeting with David Frost, the government’s new chief Europe adviser. While Boris Johnson’s decision for a no-deal Brexit has landed the UK in hot waters, he was already in the news – mainly not for the right reasons – especially because of his verbal ruckus, ethnocentric policies, and his rigid doctrines attached to certain political mindsets. During 2015, Boris Johnson’s staunch support for the Brexit made him a permanent part of the news. Despite the no-deal Brexit expected to take Britain into political and economic oblivion, Johnson has not budged from his original viewpoint even after meeting with government and EU officials.
The citizens of Britain, on the other hand, are unsure of their future following the no-deal Brexit. Britain’s borders will certainly see ceaseless lines of hopefuls trying to enter Britain from the EU and vice versa. This will increase border patrolling. An interruption and a disruption in flights will also be a scenario the British would be compelled to face once EU and Britain’s airspace will be redefined. Similarly, cargo shipments transported by land will also face disturbance and disorder as highways will come under new jurisdictions.
A no-deal Brexit will also affect the business, trade and economic activities of Britain, making the country work as a newly founded country. Furthermore, businesses are concerned about how the data will be distributed between companies and their clients following the no-deal Brexit. The companies in Britain serving their clients in the EU will face disruption in data management. Technology-based companies, therefore, will be the most adversely affected for their data will be divided between Britain and the EU and would require legal assistance before it is used by both. Moreover, it is feared that following a no-deal Brexit, the lucrative financial services sector of the UK is likely to lose its special rights that authorize British-based companies to operate in the EU’s single market.
The UK would also need to relinquish its exclusive provisions and agreements, pacts and contracts it had signed with EU countries related to the tariff, business operations and the movement of assets, human and capital resources from EU to Britain and vice versa. Following the no-deal Brexit, it will take time for Britain to resume normal operations as it would require time to complete and implement all legalities. Additionally, the UK would need to use default terms of the World Trade Organization (WTO) when dealing with the EU.
Boris Johnson, therefore, would have a daunting task ahead of him as he tries to complete his hundred days in office. These hundred days will compel Johnson and his cabinet ministers to make tough decisions to delineate the fate of the UK in the post-Brexit period. The world’s fifth-largest economy, Britain, will enter an era of chaos when it breaks away from the EU that will take away much strength from London’s financial and economic status.
—The writer is a freelance columnist based in Karachi.
M Omar Iftikhar