Opinion: Karen Constantine – My Brexit no deal dread! 

Cllr Karen Constantine

As a ‘no deal’ Brexit nightmare looms, Thanet could be badly hit. Regardless of how you voted in 2016,  did you vote for chaos, higher bills, job losses and medical shortages?

The reality is clear. Just look at the content of the leaked National Audit office report on Brexit from March this year.

“Delays at the border will mean significant reduction in flow of goods for up to six months. UK citizens will be subject to increased immigration checks at EU border posts. A reduction in choice and availability of certain fresh food supplies. The potential for price increases across utilities, food and fuel”.

According to the report about Operation Yellowhammer, published in The Sunday Times last weekend, the Government are trying downplay the significance of ‘months of meltdown at ports’. The Government’s cavalier strategy for dealing with a no deal Brexit has certainly triggered a significant public debate. Is this more ‘project fear’? Or are the real fears of food, fuel and medicine shortages and the possibility of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/preparation-and-planning-for-emergencies-responsibilities-of-responder-agencies-and-others being implemented, a wake up call for us all? Worse still, we face a recession, depressing UK business and investment, a drop in the value of the pound, and many more job losses. No wonder politicians from all parties agree our current course of action is wrong.

Is this what we wanted?

The fact remains, as the critical October 31st ‘leave’ date looms, we are woefully unprepared. There is no agreed strategy to overcome the current seemingly intractable obstacles. There is certainly no sign of a fresh deal with the EU.

Medical supplies will be “vulnerable to severe extended delays” as three-quarters of the UK’s medicines enter the country via the main Channel crossings.

Ports are likely to experience severe backlogs and delays. Dover in particular is a worry due to the volume of traffic passing through. It is the largest port in the UK and handles one sixth of the UK’s imports. In 2017 around 2.6 million freight vehicles passed through Dover.

On any day Dover handles around 10,500 lorries with the Channel Tunnel receiving a further 6,000 lorries daily.

The road haulage association have thoroughly explained that any delays to freight cost money any additional cost is ‘business critical’. They explain that much of our manufacturing base operates on a ‘just in time’ basis, requiring speedy deliveries, and that fresh food and medicines spoil all too easily.

With delays and subsequent losses incurred by business, the risk to employment is high. Just as jobs in road haulage are vulnerable, jobs in the supply chain are also at risk. We will all suffer from these delays and no doubt, as consumers, we will bear the additional cost. As the leaked report makes clear, there will be many months of delays with costly implications.

Also worryingly, defence chiefs say 3,500 troops are ready and a Government bunker at Whitehall has been prepared in case of civil unrest.

Manston gridlock

Manston has been ‘requisitioned’ to play its part in managing traffic. The plan to use the defunct airport as the world’s largest truck park is far from sensible. As a Kent County Councillor, I’ve been briefed that upwards of 7,500 lorries could be held for 72 hours. I’ve challenged this. I’ve expressed my fear that Thanet could easily become gridlocked. The only trial was underwhelming. Operation Brock remains untested. Thanet could end up being cut off, ambulances may well struggle, access to health services, homes, work and education could deteriorate.

I questioned Cllr Paul Carter, leader of KCC, if their was any chance of Manston becoming an inland customs point. I was told no. I intend to raise this question again at the next full council meeting.

But what about our local MP?

What disappoints me and what makes me see red is our own MP could and should be fighting our corner. Instead Craig Mackinlay has been reported as being instrumental in an undercover diplomatic initiative, prior to the first deadline of March 29 seeking, to block any extension to Brexit, despite all the evidence that it will be a disaster and that we simply weren’t ready. https://www.politico.eu/newsletter/london-playbook/politico-london-playbook-letter-to-the-president-emergency-pizza-session-patriotism-update/. What we need now are cool heads fighting for an extension to Article 50 because, whether we like it or not, the U.K. is not ready for a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Preparations have already cost billions. That money could be used in much better ways.

This is why I agree with the idea of a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s government followed by a Jeremy Corbyn led time limited temporary administration, to steer us through to a general election. The situation we find ourselves in is the worst crisis we have faced for an extremely long time. People must be given the full facts and the Brexit question must come back to the people. No one was asked to vote on what’s been described as a ‘fait accompli’ of a ‘no deal’ Brexit now being imposed on the UK.

Let’s cut through the complexities. We all have the facts, let’s do the sensible thing and vote again. Like buying a house or a car. It might look fine on the outside, but once the survey is done or the engine is tested the picture changes. Once you know it’s not what it first seems to be you have the option to change your mind – don’t you?


  1. I wish people would stop telling us that we need to think again! That the right thing to do is to vote again! I’m sure if you remainers had won the vote you’d totally be going against your own views if the leave voters were asking for another vote! We need to stop saying we didn’t know what we was voting for! How about stop worrying about the ifs & buts and just get on with it! Have a bit of pride and realise the any obstacles we may face along the way, we are more than capable of getting over them! Next time you have a vote go your way and are constantly told it’s the wrong decision and it needs to be changed, you may have an idea on how many of us are feeling. Let’s just get on with it and deal with things as they come!

  2. No to all above… I Voted for BREXIT…. Oh ye Labour Lumps with no faith in Britains success at ‘going it alone’ with the World at our feet for Free Trade.
    Funny how we managed for thousands of years before joining the ‘Common Market’, and now, according to you lot of fools, we cannot.

      • This is the reality of Brexit,The one that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage failed to mention when spouting off about £350 million a week for the NHS free trade and secure borders.
        We are just about to be hit by a economic and political sunami that will last for decades. Batten down the hatches and kiss goodby to your disposable income.

  3. “Faith in Britain’s success” isn’t a policy. It isn’t an economic strategy. It is just a hollow appeal to keep quiet and everything will be OK if you do what you’re told. Wave the Union Jack(soon to be minus the Scottish and Irish bits, perhaps) and play “Land of Hope and Glory” and nobody will notice! And if they DO start to worry and suffer, just demand they show some “Dunkirk spirit” and accuse them of being “Traitors” and “Enemies of the People” if they complain. Make sure they forget that just 37% of the eligible population voted for “Brexit” without the details spelled out, 35% voted to stay in an EU that they all knew about and 28% didn’t vote. Hardly a clear decision. Definitely not the “Voice of the People”.

  4. The EU has not existed for thousands of years ,it was created in the aftermath of the Second World War to protect Europe. Please tell me who is beating a path to our door for “ free trade” ?

  5. Capitulate with Corbyn??? Sicidedal if you wish to go down that route..Told how to run our own country, pay in the most for the privilege, our courts with no power and no say in any decision making. You must be brain dead those that wish to follow the EU under those terms – amongst others. We will be bottom of the pile and told how high to jump.

  6. All the “Could’s If’s Buts” We have another Mrs 20 Years in the making. “I thought this, I thought that”
    The End is Nigh.

  7. Yes – yet another piece of speculation – so the answer is to have another vote ? ? ?


    There has been 27 votes in Parliament and every time our learned politicians vote “no”.

    Do you want to revoke the Article 50 decision – no
    Do you want to leave with no deal – no
    Do you want to agree the current deal – no
    Do you want a customs union – no
    Do you want freedom of movement – no
    Etc., etc., etc – no – no – no

    We can keep voting till the cows come home and we will never reach a decision upon which everybody agrees.

    The fact of the matter is that the majority of the electorate who bothered to vote in the majority of constituencies voted to leave the EU. The vote remains the same regardless of whether you count the number of votes individually across the country or by the majorities within each constituency (which is how the MPs are elected).

    We are leaving on 31 October.

    If there are a few difficulties, then we can resolve them and get on with our lives. If there may be a few hold-ups with imports or a few temporary shortages then we will have to adapt and make do.

    Nobody is going to be bombing or torpedoing the ships crossing the channel or shooting down the cargo planes !

    All the European firms that sell their goods and produce to this country will want to ensure that their trade continues or their firms will go out of business – so I am sure that they will take steps to keep the supply lines open.

    Correspondence on this matter is now closed. It is getting boring. It has been the same old, same old for three years.

    Yawn . . . zzzzzzz

    • You might, when refreshed from your “zzzzz”, pause to wonder why it’s been the “same old, same old for three years”.
      Is it just possible that people with a bit of sense, those prepared to take time out from beating their chests and shouting “Brexit Brexit!”, have real concerns that a hard Brexit will be a catastrophe for the UK.
      If it is such a brilliant scheme, then why is it the case that 3 years on huge numbers of our MPs, from all political parties, are doing their best to see that, at the very least, we have some sort of post Brexit deal with Europe.
      What would you say to Welsh sheep farmers, car workers, oil refinery employees when they lose their jobs, ad they most certainly will, post Brexit?
      Or don’t you care, just as long as we get back our “Sovereignty ” back, and blue passports?

  8. Democracy is at stake here. The referendum saw the highest UK vote for over 20 years, and the vote was to leave the EU. Unlike the framing, the public knew what they were doing. I don’t follow any particular political party, but for many, it is an elite undemocratic organisation which does indeed mirror the claims of being a gravy train for the few, while being unable to sign off its accounts every year and losing vast amounts in corruption. I’ve worked across Europe and have many friends there, but we do need to regain our sovereignty before the draconian rules of the Maastricht Treaty arrive in 2020. I’m a European but not an EU.ite. Some of the project fear claims in this article are old news with worsts case scenarios. Most strategic planners do this. Some remember how we survived before the EU! We also witnessed Greece being thrown to the wolves and asset stripped under the EU’s watch. It’s just a good thing we never joined the Euro. And old Labour – Peter Shore, Tony Benn, Michael Foot etc. certainly have some illuminating speeches on video on some of the dangers. And remember those in receipt of EU grants are from our public money sent to the EU anyway.

    • “we do need to regain our sovereignty “? I’ve never understood what this actually means. When (if!) we leave the EU, how will things be different? Obviously our passports will just say “United Kingdom” with no ref to the EU, but in what other respect will things be different?

    • In fact only 38% of the Electorate in the Referendum voted to leave! Over 62% did not vote to leave! The turnout was 72 %, and the vote to leave was about 52%, so 52% of 72% is 37.44%. So only just under 38% of the Electorate actually voted to leave! This is not democratic! Not only that those who voted to leave did NOT know what the Terms & Conditions were to leave, which is why its taken 3 years to try and agree them, which they are still arguing about! This means those people who voted to leave, had no idea what they were voting for! We need another Referendum once we know what the Terms & Conditions are to Leave, until then we should stay as we are, until people can make an informed decision!

  9. I would happily have another vote if it was said right at the beginning it’s the best of 3 !! It wasnt it was 1 vote we had it and voted to leave.

    If the remainders were to get another vote and win would the leavers get another vote and if the leavers won would the remainders get another vote and win would the leavers get another vote and win would the remainders get another vote or do we just keep voting till the remainders win than we stop that seems fair!!

    • Following the total cods being made trying to interpret such an indecisive first Referendum result, a huge movement has developed in this country calling for a second Referendum now we know the actual situation and what options are on offer. To hold a THIRD Referendum would require another movement to demand it. Would the “Leave ” campaign generate the same mass movement on the streets to demand a third referendum that the “Remain” camp has created for a second? I very much doubt it. Over a million on the streets on two occasions so far demanding a second referendum. All major Parties apart from the Tories now supporting a second Referendum. Would the Leave campaign get that level of support in Parliament for a third try? No chance! The “Leave” campaign was the brainchild of Right wing Tories and the owners of the tabloid newspapers. And even some of them are getting worried about the damage that will be done by Brexit. I look forward to the second, and final, Referendum. There won’t be a third.

      • I think you need to bring yourself back down to earth, if the numbers your referring to are correct then why didn’t remain win the “first and only” referendum? It’s well known that the majority of media outlets sway towards remain therefore remain “protests” get much more publicity and are shown in a much better light! Let’s just stick with the facts we actually know. The voting turnout was one of the highest we’ve seen in this country and the majority of votes by over 1million voted to leave. Now don’t insult the intelligence of millions of people by telling them that they were wrong and didn’t know what they were voting for!

    • You didn’t know what you were voting for! If you think you did why didn’t tell Teresa May 3 years ago, then we wouldn’t be in the fix we are in now, Duurh! The Terms & Conditions to leave are still being argued about now, again, Duurh!

      • Oh how mature, the “right honourable sensible must be right” person resorting to Duurh! This is your go to as you most clearly think all those that voted leave are idiots. ????????????????

  10. The fact is no one knew what the Terms & Conditions of leaving the EU were at the time of the Referendum! If they think they did, why didn’t they tell Teresa May, or anyone during the last 3 years! Another fact is the bumbling, blustering Boris is till trying to negotiate the Terms & Conditions, when they are already cast in stone in a 550 page dossier, agreed by the 27 EU countries! And under no circumstances will they allow a hard border again between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Stand by for an almighty crisis, when 1.5 million ex pats try and return home, when they find out they no longer have any health insurance after living in the EU for the last few years! You couldn’t make it up!

  11. The majority of media outlets most definitely don’t support “Remain”. Over 80% of newspapers read in Britain supported the “Leave” cause. They campaigned vigorously with lurid headlines almost every day and were only following years of similar efforts, blaming the EU for all kinds of non-existent rules and regulations.

    The Daily Mail, the Sun, the Express, the Times, The Telegraph all supported “Brexit” and they still do, though I notice a certain anxiety creeping into some of their recent coverage. Only the Guardian and the Independent (with the Financial Times) generally supported “Remain” though also retaining a kind of mealy-mouthed wish to be seen as balanced. Which the “Leave ” papers never bothered to do.

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