James O'Brien: 'Project Fear is reality - now PM claims it's part of the plan'

5 October 2021, 15:37

By Fiona Jones

The predictions of empty shelves, driver shortages and worker shortages, which were branded 'Project Fear', are now a reality - and the Government insists it is part of the Brexit plan, says James O'Brien.

Supply and delivery issues could be set to continue beyond the initial fuel panic as only 127 EU drivers want to work in Britain of the 5,000 desired for the weeks leading up to the holidays.

As well as an estimated shortfall of 100,000 HGV drivers, large companies such as Tesco also warned last week that the labour crunch could lead to empty supermarket shelves and panic buying in the lead-up to Christmas.

The issue is extending from the haulage, farming and hospitality sectors to almost all parts of the economy, putting “severe pressure” on UK businesses, a new survey has warned.

James said, "People who told you that all of the predictions of what is happening now... were actually right, but the people who said they were wrong are now claiming they knew this was going to happen all along."

Tory ministers ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis and Iain Duncan Smith have both told LBC the fault of shortages lie with the industries themselves, which James branded both "pathetic and brilliant."

He continued: "'Project Fear' described labour shortages and possible threats to the supply chain of food, the possibility, of empty shelves in supermarket..and big problems with things like farming, agriculture, slaughtering, and butchery, all of the things that are now really happening.

Read more: Haulage industry has 'serious measure of blame' for HGV shortage, Iain Duncan Smith says

"The point was, everybody who warned that this was going to happen was shouted down by the people who are now in power.

"Everybody who explained and predicted, from the Governor of the Bank of England, to the head of most FTSE 100 countries and every Prime Minister this country has ever had, everybody who explained and predicted what is happening now was shouted down by the people now in power.

"What do the people now in power do when the stuff they said was never going to happen starts happening?

"They will claim the polar opposite. They will move effortlessly, they will move seamlessly, they will move shamelessly from insisting quite robustly, occasionally even dare I say rudely, from insisting that all of these predictions were ridiculous, all of these Project Fear explanations were scaremongering nonsense, all of these people were miserable Remoaners.

"And now almost before your very eyes, they're saying no no, they were right all along. But this was always part of our plan.

"That's what they're doing to you now, led by Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and the rest of them. Getting away with it, not properly held to account for it, not properly even questioned about it.

"They're going from claiming it was all a load of scaremongering, Remoaner, Project Fear nonsense to claiming that everybody knew that this was going to happen. The people that we derided and dismissed and denied, of course they were right all along, everybody knew this was going to happen and that was the plan.

"If businesses aren't ready to deal with all the things we told business were not going to happen then that is the fault of businesses. They should have known we were wrong. That is the message from Government."

He reiterated: "The message that Downing Street is giving those businesses is: it's your fault for not being ready to deal with all the things we told you wouldn't happen."

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