I said in my last post I don’t often rant, but I am going to again… I know everyone is bored with the Brexit farce that has taken place this past 2.5 years (even longer if you count the run up to the referendum), but today should have been the day we exited the European Union. But as we all can’t have failed to notice we are, in reality, no further forward with a Brexit strategy now than we were 6/12/18 months ago… All the talk of deadlines and blackmail to accept a poor deal / best deal likely (depending on your viewpoint) continues to be all the media and politicians talk about. Whether the deal is a good or bad one has never been clear, but the handling of it all has been chaotic, politically manipulated, party politics driven, ego enhanced and so embarrassing for those involved and the country in it’s standing in the world…
Anyway – for what it is worth this is my take – of course you won’t agree, as like everything to do with Brexit the country is so split despite the referendum vote.
My distilled view of what is happening now (there are those can expand on these points for millions of words, and have done, but you’ll get the gist):-
The deal – seems a very soft Brexit at best, with ourselves pretty much still tied to the European Union without any voting rights. The farce re the backstop shows that the backstop will be in place indefinitely as no-one has come up with any suitable alternative to a hard border, so it’s either a hard border or not. The deal has lots of tie ups with the EU that effectively shackles us from fully open trading with the rest of the world. That cannot be what Brexit was all about.
The Negotiations – Since day one of the negotiations, the Conservative party defined the negotiation platform as a Tory Brexit Minister leading a party centric negotiation – which was always going to end badly? And with a government led by an out and out Remainer (despite what might be said to the contrary about the approach since the vote), there is a view that the Prime Minister wants effectively the best Brexit that leaves us as close to Europe as possible. This has not gone unnoticed in her party and hence the massive splits and the votes that don’t go the Government’s way. The negotiations from the start were weakly handled and basically we asked the EU how we could leave without upsetting them too much. And they have taken advantage of our weak stance, knowing the Prime Minister is a Remainer at heart and knowing she wants close ties. I do not like Margaret Thatcher and the way she did things back in the 80s, but I do know the whole Brexit thing could have been different if she’d been in charge. She would (as she did on our over payments in the 80s), would have told the EU our terms for Brexit. It’s obvious to me (now) that any negotiation with the EU should have been done Cross Party with basically Brexiteers on the committee creating a broad political stance, but supporting the base aims of Brexit (not to try and leave us with a foot in the door on many things). The committee could also have had a few business leaders and professors of economics on the board to keep the politics value led. The result would have been different to this.
Where We Are Now – who knows where we are! We have continued (political) sniping, calls for a People’s Vote, petitions for and against Brexit, Leavers and Remainers marching on London, and that is hampering any attempts to achieve a way forward. And whether Brexit happens in April, May or whenever, it isn’t going to be pretty. I do not see the current state as black and white. I don’t agree Brexit vote means Brexit now, the Brexit I think we voted for is NOT the Brexit that is happening. I don’t agree with being blackmailed by the government in to “accepting a poor deal as it is the only deal” stance. That doesn’t make sense and it has been voted down twice (and splitting the deal to get past the Speaker is another tactical farce likely to fail). I agree with people who say the referendum was a bit of a farce too, in that all politician’s on both sides (or the remain/leave camps) basically a) did not know the extent to what this would turn into b) told political lies to achieve their aims and c) pretty much expected the vote to be predictable (ie. stay in, not leave). I think all parties were shocked and the two main parties official message was to remain if you remember.
So What do We Do NOW?! – We have to stop the political circus that is happening daily and weekly at the moment. You might not agree, but it seems to me we should:-
- Revoke Article 50 NOW– this just seems the only sensible thing left to do now!! Tell the EU we are still going to Brexit, but we need more time to get the country behind an acceptable plan (notice I didn’t say deal). We can do it – The EU’s top court has ruled the UK can revoke Article 50 and halt Brexit without the permission of other member states. A judgement by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in December gives the UK the right to unilaterally withdraw its notification to leave the EU.
- Create a cross party committee to oversee Brexit – but at this stage do NOT negotiate with the EU. This committee is politicians from all sides (including Scottish and Northern Ireland members) and with outsiders from Business/Industry and Academic economic experts.
- THE BREXIT PLAN – They need to come up with the basis of a plan that forms the negotiation with the EU. The plan needs to be done within 2 years. The plan needs to solve all customs, people movement, trade tariffs and the Irish Border problems. At least from a UK/British point of view. This plan can also set some tolerances (not necessarily public) for which negotiations with the EU can bend without having to re-evaluate the plan again. The plan can also cover some of the What If’s the EU will object to…
- The Approval – The Plan needs approval by the people. This doesn’t have to be a referendum, but it does have to mean the MPs that represent the people get the views of their constituents at open meetings etc. And this time the people MUST accept the PLAN and BREXIT.
- The NEGOTIATIONS – Implement Article 50 again with appropriate notice. Take a hard stance with the EU on our expectations and demands. 18 months max. If the EU doesn’t like what is proposed, then they should be warned we will leave anyway (but at least we’ll have our own plans in place this time).
In summary – this country is in a shocking state politically, economically and with it’s standing within the world. We have to stop bending to the effectively blackmail situation the EU and the Conservative Government are forcing us into, and take control of our destiny. Brexiteers won’t be happy with the above, Remainers certainly won’t, but I get a big sense that MOST of us are unhappy with what the results of these next few weeks might be whichever side of the Remain/Leave camp we are on. Let’s unite on that at least. Lets be sensible – Revoke Article 50 NOW!