The Way Forward

Gonna talk about a bit of news next. Last night, the UK Parliament chose to reject the proposed deal between the UK and the EU. It’s difficult to see how it could have been otherwise.

For my money, the day after she was elected, Theresa May should have reached out and formed a Government of National Unity, suspending party politics, just like in the war. I’d have had people like Nigel Farage around, as an example of somebody who’s been really vocal in his opposition to the EU. And, of course, not just Farage but vocal “remain” supporters, too. The problem there is that many people with the loudest voices, Soubry or Rees-Mogg, say, have risen to prominence since the referendum. But there were certainly some of the big players around before, Farage as I say. Maybe someone could have persuaded Cameron to stay involved in some way?

Even that could still have gone pear-shaped, but the chief goal should have been to deliver Brexit such that we exploited the opportunities, and avoided the pitfalls. The reason that the goal is to deliver Brexit is simply because that is how we voted in 2016. The reason that it might have gone pear-shaped is because I think a lot of people, even senior politicians, just want to ignore the 2016 vote in favour of not delivering Brexit. There’s not a lot of “respecting the result” going on. Perhaps Cameron saw this, that’s why he got out immediately? So maybe we’d have ended up in the same place, but I think it was our only chance.

Perhaps May would argue that she *had* tried to arrange a variety of Brexit positions around her? but all of these people were within her own party. In 2016, Labour was weaker, and May could have tried to build a consensus around something. After the 2017 election, they sniff hr blood. Party politics is well and truly alive and kicking, and, really, everyone is as bad as each other. When somebody talks about doing something “in the national interest”, most probably it is a lie.

So, what is the way forward? Clearly the clock is ticking toward our exit on March 29, and much as the UK Parliament does not want to leave without a deal on the table, it is difficult to see how that will happen. Possibly the only option, they feel, is to pause the process? But, of course, many Brexiters want to get out as soon as possible, so they wouldn’t be happy for a pause.

It looks to me as though (a) there’ll be no agreement to pause A50, and (b) it is unlikely they will coalesce around any deal, especially one to which the rest of the EU will agree, before 29th March. So I think, unfortunately, that the UK will leave the EU without a deal.

Of course, just because there is no deal on that date does not mean “no deal” forever. Indeed, if things stop working, I’m pretty sure that there will be lots of haste to put something in place? The main reason that I wanted to see a deal was because the people who’ll be affected more than me, the heads of retailers etc., all say they want something in place. I’m sure, if some of them start going to the wall (either here or in the EU, it cuts both ways), if any of these horror scenarios come to pass, that people will move pretty quickly. So, I think “no deal” is a temporary thing, but as experience tells us, it takes years to negotiate to some kind of arrangement from nothing. So, this issue isn’t going away anytime soon…