AS warnings over the impact of Brexit have understandably built towards a crescendo, the Leavers have most certainly piped down on their claims that their ideological anti-Europe drive is going to bring prosperity.

Of course, the Brexiters are still making a racket. However, their tub-thumping is increasingly focused on declaring the split from the European Union is the “will of the people” and banging on about “taking back control”, “sovereignty”, “UK waters” and so on. As they have spouted this tiresome and meaningless rhetoric, they have actually celebrated the huge negatives of their Brexit drive. Yes, they have cheered the things that will damage the economy most, such as the Tory Brexiters’ clampdown on immigration from EU countries when free movement between the UK and the bloc ends on December 31. Home Secretary Priti Patel was cock-a-hoop when the legislation enabling this clampdown passed through Parliament last month.

This din on the ideological front has contrasted starkly with the Leavers’ recent silence on the big new trade deals they said the UK was going to be free to land as a result of Brexit. Remember how they were waxing lyrical about these in the run-up to the 2016 Leave vote, and in its wake as Conservative ministers racked up the air miles?

The UK Government, and Brexiters more generally, have instead tried to make much of trade deals which have seen Britain retain the same arrangements with various countries that it had as part of the EU. The Singapore deal trumpeted yesterday by Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss is a case in point. The fact of the matter is that the Brexiters have in more than four years failed to demonstrate any meaningful benefit at all from leaving the EU, while the huge negatives of the folly have become plainer to see by the day. And they were plenty clear before the 2016 vote, as was the simple truth that the Brexit campaign was all ideology and hot air. Mighty Blighty blah blah blah.

As the Emperor’s New Clothes nature of the Leave campaign has become ever more clear, and Boris Johnson’s talk last year of an “oven-ready” Brexit deal has been exposed for what it is, some arch-Brexiters have seemed more determined than ever to lash out verbally at those who would dare to criticise the cause they love so much.

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What has been most striking this week, as the Brexit drama has built and the Prime Minister has travelled to Brussels for face-to-face talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, is the plethora of warnings about, and some further manifestation of, negative Brexit effects.

The Brexit effects were spelled out in evidence by a range of industry organisations to the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee this week.

Labour MP Darren Jones, who chairs the committee, said the evidence “pointed, even in the event of a Brexit deal, to potential food shortages and price rises, and the threat of heaping significant costs onto our car industry, and also of concerns around financial services and the wider future relationship”.

Plenty of real things to worry about here.

And the “even in the event of a Brexit deal” point is a crucial one.

There has been a tendency by some to focus on the deal versus no-deal question. This is entirely understandable, given the utter short-term chaos which would be triggered by a no-deal departure following the end of the transition period on December 31.

However, the crucial point on Brexit for the UK’s medium and longer-term economic prosperity, or otherwise, and living standards was always going to be whether the departure from the EU would be hard or soft.

Obviously not leaving the EU at all would have been the best option for living standards, the economy and society but that should go without saying. It has been so clearly demonstrated since 2016 (and it was obvious before anyway).

What there has been no doubt about for a long time now – at least since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister and arguably well before that given the determination to leave the single market and customs union under the previous Theresa May administration – is that the exit will be hard.

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So when you hear talk of “landing zones” for a possible deal in the UK-EU negotiations, it must be borne in mind that for Britain this will be anything but a soft landing. That is not of course to say that it will be in any way painful for Mr Johnson and his Cabinet, who appear utterly focused on getting their desired hard Brexit done for ideological purposes, deal or not. But it will be painful for businesses and households, over years and decades.

Former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee members have been vociferous over the Brexit folly.

Andrew Sentance, who served on the MPC from 2006 to 2011, tweeted on Tuesday: “I wrote this in the summer – it remains true today.”

He embedded his July 23 tweet, which reads as follows: “We were told by the #Brexiteers from 2016 onwards that a UK-EU trade deal would be easy to negotiate. Once again they have misled the British public. Lies, duplicity and incompetence – that is the #Brexit agenda.”

Specialist Edinburgh financial services recruitment firm Core-Asset Consulting warned this week that “top talent is continuing to depart one of Scotland’s most influential sectors as confusion around the nature of Britain’s EU withdrawal is compounded by Covid-19”.

And it called for employers to be given some clarity as “firms offering ‘products’ designed for the EU move operations and roles formerly in Scotland overseas”.

There sadly does not seem to be that much chance of clarity right now from the Westminster Government, with talk of large differences remaining on UK and EU positions on a future trade deal after Wednesday night’s dinner meeting between Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen. Then last night we had the drama of the Prime Minister declaring the UK must prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

However, Core-Asset managing director Betsy Williamson warned this week: “We need greater awareness of the day-to-day issues facing the financial sector right now. From our perspective, Scotland is struggling and losing more talent and roles than needs to be the case.”

This week we have seen Japanese car giant Honda forced to suspend production at its Swindon plant because of a parts shortage arising from congestion at UK ports. Such congestion has been growing as some firms have looked, not surprisingly amid such a political shambles, to stockpile goods ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period.

As the actual effects of Brexit become clearer by the day, there has been nothing to back up the Leavers’ previous big talk of brave new trade deals. This is not surprising because this always looked like a fantasy, one that harked back to days of Empire. But the Brexiters assured voters ahead of the 2016 referendum that there would be such deals, as part of a supposedly bright new future. And it has been more than four years now since the vote. So it is hardly any wonder that the cat has got the Brexiters’ tongues on this score.

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The US trade deal the UK Government has been pursuing would in any case, even under the Johnson administration’s own estimates, produce only a 0.07 per cent to 0.16% boost to UK gross domestic product on a 15-year time horizon, even if it could be concluded. According to the forecasts by the May government, Brexit would on the basis of an average free trade deal with the EU result in UK GDP in 15 years’ time being 4.9% or 6.7% lower than if the country had stayed in the EU, on respective assumptions of no change to migration arrangements or zero net inflow of workers from European Economic Area countries. Of course, the Tories are clamping down on immigration, as celebrated by Ms Patel.

The respective no-deal impacts on UK GDP over 15 years would be 7.7% or 9.3% under the no change to migration arrangements and zero net inflow scenarios.

As the talks with the EU reach a climax, we must bear in mind that, whether or not Mr Johnson secures the narrow trade deal he is seeking, there will be major economic damage.

Former MPC member Danny Blanchflower this week summed up the effects of Brexit clearly in response to a tweet from Richard Bentall.

Tweeting in a personal capacity, Mr Bentall, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Sheffield, declared: “Never met a leaver who understood sovereignty. Most of them seem to think that any mutually agreed but binding undertaking undermines it. That’s the type of sovereignty that was made outdated by...the boat (except maybe in North Korea).”

Mr Blanchflower retweeted this and declared: “Indeed my friend. They never seem able to actually explain it. I don’t find it hard to explain what lower living standards, higher prices and unemployment means because of the Brexidiots’ actions!”

The exchange between the former MPC member, who is taking up a post at the University of Glasgow, and the clinical psychology professor sums up the simple truths of Brexit and its effects well.

These effects are real things with major implications for people’s lives. The rhetoric of the Brexit brigade, which appears to have to a large degree given up on its pretence of a bright future which persuaded some to vote Leave, is as vacuous as it is noisy.