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Will A Second COVID-19 Lockdown Coincide With A “No Deal” Brexit?

Will A Second COVID-19 Lockdown Coincide With A “No Deal” Brexit?

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/25/2020 – 02:00

Authored by Steven Guinness,

When I last posted an article about Brexit in May I discussed how the convergence of a possible world trade organisation scenario with the EU and the Covid-19 lockdown measures would serve to exacerbate the economic strain that the UK is currently being subjected to. I argued that as the devastation brought about by the self imposed lockdown became more profound, not only would a WTO Brexit compound matters but it would also put further downward pressure on sterling and prove a harbinger for a significant spike in inflation over the coming years.

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Four months on and a number of developments have since occurred. As I predicted, the transition period was not extended, meaning it will come to an end on the 31st December 2020. Shortly afterwards a cabinet office document of ‘worst case scenarios‘ was revealed that detailed what may happen should a no deal Brexit coincide with a ‘second wave‘ of Covid-19. One possibility raised was how the government could decide to deploy the military on the streets of Britain in the event of public disorder.

Earlier this month, with trade negotiations floundering, Boris Johnson announced that if a deal cannot be agreed by October 15th the UK will walk away and revert to WTO tariffs. Following on from this was his latest intervention came just days ago when he unveiled renewed Covid-19 restrictions on the population after a rise in those testing positive for the virus, just as the final rounds of Brexit negotiations are due to begin.

One aspect to pick up on here is how when addressing the nation this week, Johnson made clear that he would be prepared to authorise using the military to ‘backfill when necessary‘ should the police require more support to enforce restrictions. Johnson also told the House of Commons that he had the option to ‘draw on military support where required to free up the police.’

Johnson’s official spokesman had this to say on the matter:

This would involve the military backfilling certain duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police officers can be out enforcing the virus response.

This is not about providing any additional powers to the military, or them replacing the police in enforcement roles, and they will not be handing out fines. It is about freeing up more police officers.

So here we have both Brexit and Covid-19 being talked about as potentially escalating to the stage where the military could be called upon under the guise of helping to maintain social order.

From my perspective here’s why I think this should be taken seriously:

Before the original lockdown was implemented on March 24th, I saw first hand in my role as a supermarket worker how the usual lucid nature of shoppers rapidly gave way to palpable fear and hysteria. After weeks of wall to wall coverage on Covid-19 in the media, the threat of a national lockdown began to enter the narrative. People responded by rushing to buy up food and medical supplies. As a consequence supply chains were severely impacted with shelves lying empty for weeks on end.

This demonstrated to me one inescapable fact. As much as people claim to distrust the mainstream media, what it actually showed was just how many continue to rely on outlets like Sky, the BBC and daily newspapers in guiding their perceptions. Their relentless messaging was undoubtedly a driving influence over the behaviour of people leading into the lockdown.

What I witnessed was how the threat of being deprived of essentials triggered within people a survival instinct. After weeks of preparatory propaganda, they knew what was coming and were inspired to act. The UK’s ceremonial exit from the EU on January 31st was now no longer part of the news agenda. Months of discord over Brexit was consigned to history.

But here’s the problem – the UK did not leave the European Union in any meaningful way on January 31st. Nothing materially changed in terms of the relationship. When those in support of Brexit declared on the morning of February 1st 2020 that the sky had not fallen in, they were at best being disingenuous.  This is primarily because the country remains a member of the single market and the customs union. The real point of exit, when the UK is due to vacate the institutions that make up the EU, is not set to happen until the end of 2020 when the transition period expires. 

The arrival of Covid-19 rendered Brexit an afterthought. But with the end of the transition period less than 100 days away, this is no longer the case. People are beginning to think about Brexit again.

My worry is that the public response to a likely no deal scenario will be met in a similar manner to how fears over a national lockdown were met. Boris Johnson’s deadline of October 15th for a trade deal, which coincides with a European Council meeting, is quickly approaching, as is the threat of a second lockdown.

If Johnson keeps to his word and the 15th passes without agreement, the UK will declare their intention to move onto WTO tariffs come January 1st 2021. That would leave exactly eleven weeks before this became a reality. Plenty of time for the media to begin a campaign of fear based propaganda – centred around stories of food and medicine shortages – and for the government to promote a nationwide communications programme urging people to prepare for potential disruption.

In truth it has already started. This week the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, warned that in a no deal scenario up to 7,000 port bound trucks looking to cross the channel could be delayed if hauliers do not have the requisite paperwork:

Irrespective of the outcome of negotiations between the UK and EU, traders will face new customs controls and processes. Simply put, if traders, both in the UK and EU, have not completed the right paperwork, their goods will be stopped when entering the EU and disruption will occur. It is essential that traders act now and get ready for new formalities.

With Christmas approaching, I suspect that warnings such as this will once again trigger within people the same fear that they felt back in March. There are already some signs, albeit isolated, of people starting to stockpile.

But unlike six months ago, the British public now have more than Covid-19 to consider. On the one hand you have people observing social distancing rules, which were not a requirement during the first bout of panic buying. On the other are increasing concerns that supermarkets may soon see an upsurge in customer demand off the back of a potential second lockdown, supply chain disruption following a no deal Brexit and the yearly onslaught of Christmas shopping.

It seems obvious to me that the media would portray a ‘second wave‘ of Covid-19 and a disorderly Brexit as a two pronged threat to the public.

You can probably tell where I am going with this. If a second lockdown is implemented, I suspect it would occur in the weeks leading up to Christmas. As fears would mount over access to supplies and people began to pile into supermarkets to stock up, warnings would be abound that because of the uptake in custom people are failing to social distance resulting in the spread of the virus, which in turn would create a rationale within the media for a second lockdown. A economically ruinous lockdown that would largely be blamed on Brexit. And, of course, running beneath Brexit is the narrative of a rise in nationalism and protectionism, which global planners have cited as dangers to the post World War Two ‘rules based global order.’

If you put aside any ideological bias you may have over Brexit, you begin to see how a chaotic separation from the EU is beneficial to global planners. This is something I have discussed in numerous articles over the past couple of years. Central bankers speak of the ‘post Brexit architecture‘ in terms of the the future make-up of the global economic system. Most recently the World Economic Forum launched their ‘Great Reset‘ initiative, which includes plans for a global economic reset that would likely encompass the recomposition of currencies, the introduction of central bank digital currency and a desire to replace ‘failed institutions, processes and rules with new ones that are better suited to current and future needs‘.

One of those institutions just happens to be the World Trade Organisation, which was earmarked for reform back in 2018. The WTO would play the leading role in a no deal Brexit outcome, and if it is shown as being not up to the job then this strengthens the hand of global planners to either remodel or replace it entirely.

As I have long argued, the most vulnerable aspect to Brexit is pound sterling, both in terms of its value and its role as a global reserve currency. Brexit can and I think will play a part in global planners attempting to reconstruct the economic system in their own image. In that sense it is why I believe they want Brexit to happen and in as disorderly a way as possible. Chaos is often advantageous to globalists, not detrimental. Especially when they have already laid out their solutions through Sustainable Development and the Great Reset. All they need is a sufficient number of crises in order to position themselves as the benefactors.

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About The Author

Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge's mission is to widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public, to skeptically examine and, where necessary, attack the flaccid institution that financial journalism has become, to liberate oppressed knowledge, to provide analysis uninhibited by political constraint and to facilitate information's unending quest for freedom. Visit

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