How Brexit will affect the health of the nation

The BMJ treats us to a warning that Brexit will leave us all victim to the scourges of infectious disease:

“The government’s claims that it is prepared for no deal are implausible and at best [its preparations] might mitigate some of the worst consequences,” they say in a paper published in the British Medical Journal.

They say no deal would be likely to increase the difficulties for people already facing poverty, poor housing options and underfunded local services.

In the event of a post-Brexit recession, they say, “likely consequences include rises in suicides, alcohol-related deaths and some communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV, especially among vulnerable groups”.

We admit that we think this unlikely a priori. Moving ultimate governance from Brussels to Westminster doesn’t sound like it would have such effects at least. So, what is it that might cause all of this?

Loss of societal norms, such as trust in government, that could pave the way for civil disorder, especially in the face of shortages of food and medicines. Related to this is the threat, recently highlighted by the police in Northern Ireland, of increased violence there as paramilitary groups exploit community tensions encouraged by Brexit.

We do think that’s something of a stretch. Some 52% of those who bothered to make their opinion known on the subject have already registered their loss of trust in the current system of governance by insisting that we leave it and turn to another manner of it.

Yes, obviously, Brexit or not Brexit is a contentious matter and not one upon which we’d insist either way as a collective. And yet certain of the arguments against it are rather straining at logic aren’t they? Even, perhaps, could be described as more than a little pathetic?