Just chucking this out there for future kids writing essays on the psychotic mess that is Brexit. Well, future kids, at least you only have to write about it, rather than live through it. (Although, there’s a strong chance that my unborn grandchildren will still be trying to untangle the mess).
So, back to the title. Essentially, to do a “deal” is to change a situation, whereas to not do a deal is to keep things as they are. In these instances it is very likely true that maintaining the status quo will be better than committing to something that will not be beneficial. You might want to join a gym but if the terms and conditions include the right to take pictures of you as a sweaty mess and post them to social media without your consent, you’d quite likely turn them down and stay fat and unhealthy. Or at least look for a better deal elsewhere.
The problem with a “No Deal Brexit” is that, having already joined, the status quo now is to remain, not to flounce out and alienate our main trading partners and throw the country into turmoil.
Imagine, if you will, the UK as a gentleman who likes to frequent a particular shop. Mr Brit purchases many items from this shop and decides that he’d like to join their business as an equal partner. They all agree on a smart new corporate outfit to wear and undergo major work on the shop with plans for a few extensions and an R&D room. But a few years on Mr Brit decides to leave the firm. A severance package is thrashed out but at the last minute Mr Brit says that it’s not good enough. In this instance he refuses to pay his share of the things he’d agreed to buy. The other partners remind him that in that case he will also have to give back his corporate clothing – and so he looks around for what he was wearing before he joined. Unfortunately, those moth-bitten old clothes were thrown away years ago.
The upshot is that, instead of maintaining a status quo, this No Deal scenario sees the UK locked out, standing on a public street stark naked with nowhere to go – apart from the tangerine-coloured driver of a garish Cadillac that has been slowly kerb-crawling around the area and which is taking an unhealthy interest in the UK’s most precious bits…
So, for “no deal” to be better than a “bad deal” in terms of Brexit, the true definition of no deal is the status quo of “no Brexit”. If Brexiters really want to leave they have to come up with a deal that is better than the status quo – and that’s a tough ask because as, has been pointed out many times: “What is deliverable is undesirable and what is desirable is undeliverable“.