No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal

A simple statement, this nevertheless seems to cause consternation in the hearts of those who never wished to leave the EU. And yet it is trivially, self-evidently true.

Leaving aside the utter folly of announcing any other policy – one does not get good results from a negotiation by telling the other side you’ll accept any offer, no matter how bad – it is obvious that there are some deals that are worse than no deal. The deal in which we send 14 young citizens every year to Crete, to be eaten by the minotaur, is worse than no deal. The deal in which we pay an annual sum of £500bn for tariff free access on aubergines and broccoli only, is worse than no deal. It does not take a genius to come up with other ‘worse than no deal’ scenarios.

Of course, reasonable people may disagree on what a ‘bad deal’ is, or what price is worth paying for what benefits. But once one has accepted the principle one is, as Churchill might have said, simply haggling about the price.