To Brexit or Not to Brexit – That is the Question

There is a lot of concern whether UK will be able to complete the Brexit process even though the Tories continue to push, somewhat aimlessly, for the March 2019 date to end our European Union (EU) membership. From the beginning, it was evident that the government was poorly prepared for the negotiations. There was some hope that a more pragmatic approach would prevail when they realised the enormity of the task and its impact on the economy. However, an ambitious yet weak Prime Minister who wants to stay in power at all cost with an ideology cabinet that she cannot control results in her obstinately pursuing a Brexit agenda that she doesn’t believe. May’s reckless government is making a bad situation worse.

There are circumstances in which Brexit could fail. First one is Europe itself. At the moment, the EU 27 countries have to all agree on the deal. No matter what the deal is, the Tories will sell it as a win-win for the UK. However, EU 27 won’t see it that way. They will consider the deal in the cold light of day and judge if it’s good for them (Spain, for example, is worried about the ramifications of any proposed deals for Ireland and Scotland re Catalonia and what happens to Gibraltar).

The EU 27 countries will try to attract UK firms away, and they want access to the UK for their national workforce especially the Visegrád Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), they all want to maintain their citizens coming to work in the UK. They will support a close relationship but above all EU 27 wish to preserve the integrity of the EU and its single market. France and Germany are states who support greater EU integration. Scandinavian, Ireland and the Baltics want a close relationship with the UK but won’t diverge from the harder line pushed by France and Germany. A number of these governments also face their internal Eurosceptic oppositions, and they will want to show their public that leaving the EU is not a solution.

Another point that will affect Brexit is when we leave the EU we lose membership in both the union and the customs agreement. We would have to agree on new treaties that will be less-favourable covenants than we have now (although the impact on the economy is currently hard to quantify).

Point three; there may well be a significant public outcry on any Brexit deal. The British public is learning more about what it will mean to leave (as many have said we did not vote to be poorer), about project lies and the outright disinformation U.K. voter were given.

And then there is the whole issue with the Irish border and Scotland. Resolving these issues makes the entire enterprise highly problematic for England and could call into question the viability of any deal (especially with EU 27) and again especially if there is a possibility of violence returning to Ireland.

 

* Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team

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12 Comments

  • Brexiteers, all is not lost…Boris Johnson has ridden to the rescue by suggesting that Britain’s post-Brexit trade prospects could be bolstered if he had his own Foreign Office plane…..

    More like getting the blame in early for when the ‘magic trade deals’ fail to materialise, methinks..
    “Those meanies forced me to fly commercial first class.””I know my ‘Boris bikes’ were a fiasco but how can I be expected to do deals without my ‘Boris Jet’…

  • John Marriott 23rd May '18 - 9:49am

    Brexit is a bit like “The Mouse Trap”. It keeps going on and on and on! If there is really nothing new to say, why not give it a rest?

    Now, what about the Chelsea Flower Show? And then there’s the World Cup.

  • David Raw 23rd May ’18 – 10:44am………..According to the Guardian, “The EU has leapt ahead of the UK in the pursuit of free trade deals with Australia and New Zealand after member states gave the green light for talks to start within weeks………

    A friend in NZ tells me that, according to their media, they expect trade with the EU to increase by 20% over the next few years.
    His exact words were, quote, “So much for the need to increase our reliance on British trade.”.

  • William Fowler 23rd May '18 - 12:29pm

    Well if it all goes wrong guess we have to get used to chips with everything and potato wine, the UK is so far from being self-sufficient that it undermines any deal in a way that is almost laughable. The ruined currency and inability to raise prices also means the UK becomes less attractive as an export destination. As well as growing potatoes maybe I should dress up a country yokel to amuse the tourists?

  • Brexiteers customs plan could cost businesses up to £20bn, HMRC chief warns
    Jon Thompson told MPs the Brexiteers’ favoured plan for the Northern Ireland border might also take up to three years to implement.

    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/republic-of-ireland/brexiteers-customs-plan-could-cost-businesses-up-to-20bn-hmrc-chief-warns-36939413.html

    Still as many a brave Brexiteer would say what do experts know and even if he is right well it is a price well worth paying ( well a price worth paying as long as it’s not them).

  • William I fear your plan to take up a job as a tourist yokel is unlikely to come to fruition, there are many candidates more qualified than you at shouting “Get off moi land” for the amusement of tourists than you. You only have to look at the Daily Express and Daily Mails readers comments to find a reach seam of available talent.

  • One issue that seems to be ignored is what sort of trade deals with the rest of the world would be favourable to us. To have trade you need something to sell. How do we go back to being a manufacturing country and re-industrialise?

  • According to today’s Daily Mail front page*, there is a plot to subvert Brexit. I do hope so!
    * No of course I don’t buy the DM; never have. Saw a copy on the rack in our local shop.

  • Arnold Kiel 24th May '18 - 6:30pm

    Brexit is becoming farcical. Less than 100 irresponsible MPs and a minority of the population still want it. The latter more as a matter of self-esteem, not out of any substantive conviction. It looks like hitting a wall soon.

  • Peter Hirst 25th May '18 - 3:30pm

    We should campaign for another vote in about 10 years whatever the outcome of the present negotiations. This is a long-term decision that will impact on many of our values, status and standard of living. A commitment to have a re-think would take much of the pressure off to get it right this time.

  • Teresa Wilson 26th May '18 - 3:32pm

    Peter Hirst

    That is a suggestion worthy of the great Bojo himself.

    You mean we should leave, take whatever consequences follow in terms of economic fall out, renewed calls for Scottish independence, implications for the GFA, endless complexities relating to aircraft, isotopes, pensions and umpteen other things that nobody mentioned before the referendum? Sort our way through all that – and hope that at the end of it there will still be a functioning UK – THEN start negotiations to rejoin under far less favourable terms than at present (which we would have to do for a new vote to have any purpose)?

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