Updated: Mar 6, 2021
Our country is teetering on the edge of a precipice. The nature of the UK's Brexit fate will depend on what our government does or does not do over the coming few days.
As things stand, irrespective of whether there is or is not a Brexit deal, we will plummet off the edge into economic and social disaster at 11 PM on New Year's Eve.
The only difference between 'deal' and 'no deal' will be the height of the cliff we are all about to be pushed off – and the speed of our descent.
That difference was outlined by the government's own Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which last week made it crystal clear that 'no deal' will, over the coming years, reduce the U.K.'s economic growth by a whopping 6%, while the sort of deal the government wants will reduce it by a still very damaging 4%.
This is not some academic abstraction. It will mean more jobs lost, more lives ruined - massively adding to the damage Covid-19 has already done.
Because Harrow and Hillingdon European Movement's members all live in and around the Prime Minister's parliamentary constituency (Uxbridge and South Ruislip), we have an extra special responsibility to speak out at this crucial and historic time.
We therefore want to make one last desperate appeal - a sort of Brexit SOS - to our most famous local MP (and also to all other MPs) to do everything possible to avert 'no deal' - and to ensure instead that we get a deal that genuinely safeguards jobs, living standards and existing rights.
Forcing the country and its MPs to choose between leaping off either a 100 metre high cliff or only an oven-ready 65 metre high one (i.e. a 6% cut in UK economic [GDP] prospects versus 'only' a 4% one!) is totally immoral - when one realizes that each lost percentage point represents literally thousands of lost jobs and lost life opportunities.
The government has, without doubt, used Covid as political cover to manoeuvre us all on to that cliff edge. They have shamelessly taken advantage of the fact that the nation has been understandably preoccupied with the current terrible pandemic.
But the reality is that the Prime Minister's constituents and everybody else in the UK, will be hit by a catastrophic double whammy of Brexit-induced and Covid-induced economic damage – unless the government wakes up and reaches major far-reaching, ambitious and mutually beneficial compromises with the rest of our continent.
However, if the government succeeds in getting the appalling thin (4% off UK GDP growth!) deal that it bizarrely wants, then that will be a very hot potato for all our country's MPs (irrespective of what party they belong to).
Obviously, many MPs (probably the majority) will vote for (or reluctantly support) or abstain from voting on whatever deal the Prime Minister comes up with – but, even if they vote for it, we appeal to them to make it crystal clear that they are only doing so under immoral and appalling duress. They should very publicly lambast the Prime Minister and his government for forcing them to choose whether to make our country throw itself off the 100 meter high cliff or 'just' the nice cuddly friendly oven-ready 65 metre high one.
They should make it clear that the deal they are voting for (or not using their vote to oppose) will be disastrous for our country – and that they are only going through the horrific technicality of voting for it (or abstaining), because the only alternative being offered by this appalling ideological-driven hard-line ultra-Brexiteer government is 50% even more disastrous.
They must also make it clear that they will fight tooth and nail to prevent the government interpreting any Parliamentary vote as approval for Mr Johnson's appalling plans and to prevent the government using any such vote to wreak further damage on our country..
The 65 metre high cliff (the cuddly 4% reduction in GDP growth) option - i.e. the deal the government bizarrely wants - will still impact tens of millions of people's living standards, jobs and rights.
Tragically, the Brexit chickens are about to come home to roost. We appeal to all opposition party MPs and their leaders (and indeed concerned Tory MPs) to speak out loud and clear even at this late stage.
So, as Secretary of Harrow and Hillingdon European Movement, I appeal to all members of the public to write to your respective MPs ( and to the Prime Minister in Downing Street) urging them to compromise, protect living standards, jobs and rights – and take whatever action is needed to prevent our country plummeting over a 'deal' or 'no deal' precipice.
We recognise that Brexit has sadly happened – but that does not give the government carte blanche to push the country off a cliff.
Our nation's prosperity, unity and survival must take precedence over ideology and party politics.
Even at this late stage, we must do everything we can to make our government listen – because even Mr Johnson might not be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again at the bottom of the fast-approaching cliff.
Hillingdon and other parts of West London will be hit particularly badly by the double whammy Mr Johnson is embarked upon. Indeed, of the nine London boroughs likely to be worst affected, five (including Hillingdon) are located in a roughly 13 mile long 10 mile wide swathe across West London.
Economic forecasts suggest that, by the end of next year, Hillingdon - which includes the Prime Minister's constituency - will be almost three times more badly affected than most other parts of Greater London.
That's partly because a 'thin deal' or 'no deal' end-2020 Brexit will particularly impact industrial jobs – and West London has 30,000 such jobs – and thousands more indirectly dependent on them. What's more, Hillingdon, Ealing and Brent account for more than 75% of all those We