What’s the sensible thing to do when you are at the top of a cliff?

Every day, we learn something else which proves that the Remain campaign was right all along. The Leavers brushed off any concerns as scaremongering but, in fact, the hit our economy will take if Brexit goes ahead is huge. We see from the Autumn Statement that we’ll be about £200 billion worse off by 2021. This week, a report highlighted that inward investment from US companies will drop like a stone. From the Independent:

Nearly 40 per cent of US businesses with a base in the UK say they are considering moving elsewhere in the EU because of Brexit, according to a report, warning that the vote to leave could also hit trade relations between Britain and America.

The survey by international law firm Gowling WLG also found that two-thirds of the 533 US firms polled said the UK’s vote to the leave the EU was already impacting investments choices in the country.

It’s not just the economic uncertainty. Elections in France and Germany could dramatically change the outcome of our negotiations with the EU and it would be prudent to wait until they are over before invoking Article 50. There really is no rush. After all, Governments don’t enact everything in their manifestos in their first year in power. That would be impossible.

All we have in terms of a Brexit from the Government, six months on, is that Brexit is both brexit and red, white and blue. You get clearer vision if you go out in the fog wearing sunglasses.

Despite all of this, Theresa May is determined to invoke Article 50 by 31st March regardless. This has more to do with keeping her own brexiteers quiet than what is safe and responsible for the country. She wants to get in there before the actual consequences start to hit and people get nervous – and change their minds.

If you are running along and realise you are coming to the edge of a cliff, what do you do? Do you keep going and face the inevitable consequences, regardless? That’s not the most sensible thing. Surely you would pause, look about, find some safety equipment at the very least, or re-evaluate your route and see if there was another way of doing all this.

I don’t think that most people voted Leave because they wanted to be made poorer. In fact, we know that half of them aren’t prepared for it to cost them even one penny.

Perhaps we should be calling for the invocation of Article 50 to be delayed – not for the 48%, but for everybody. Labour won’t do it because they are running scared of UKIP and don’t have the vision or the principles to counteract that deceptively seductive right wing populism. Someone has to be the responsible adult here and that someone, to date, has been the Liberal Democrats. We’ve called it right, but I wonder if we should be talking more about delaying Article 50 until there is a plan for dealing with the social, economic and political consequences at the very least. In the same way as you would pause at the top of the cliff and put on your safety ropes, we should not jump off the EU cliff while the way ahead is so clearly dangerous and damaging.

We have led the way sensibly on this issue. Nick Clegg’s Brexit Challenge papers lay out the complex issues in an authoritative and credible manner.  Perhaps we need to do more to show people that there is an alternative to Brexit and map out the route to get there.

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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11 Comments

  • Another straw in the wind today. Lego to increase prices by 5% because of currency changes post referendum. “Merry Christmas”.

  • The government seems remarkably complacent, yet ordinary members of the Conservative Party are clearly worried judging by comments on their web sites and folk I know locally. Mrs May has nailed her cross to the good ship Brexit, will she go down with her. Very soon that 38 – 40% in the polls is going to significantly reduce and it seems unlikely that Corbyn will be able to remain unless something dramatic happens for Labour. The Conservatives cannot go on like this for another 6 – 12 months, it is okay appeasing the Daily Express but eventually they will have to re-arm!.

  • Nearly 40 per cent of US businesses with a base in the UK say they are considering moving elsewhere in the EU because of Brexit

    These are job losses that will be seen. What people aren’t seeing is what those new to Europe are doing, ie. those from China etc. Whilst the government tries to paint a rosy picture by making big about the few new companies who have said they will invest in the UK, what people are missing are the significant companies not on the government list who would have established in the UK but voted with their feet and are establishing European operations in other EU member states…

  • @ theakes Mrs May has nailed her cross to the good ship Brexit, will she go down with her”.

    What odds are the bookies offering for it all to go to pot over the next twelve months… that May will go… that Boris will have a Damascene Moment, change his mind about Brexit, mount his white charger and lever himself in as PM ?

    Stranger thingshappen… tho’ for sure Gove won’t get a job.

  • I don’t know about ‘the good ship Brexit’; at the moment it seems more like a re-run of the ‘Titanic’, “Iceberg, what iceberg?”…….
    Like the ‘Titanic’ there are few lifeboats but, one thing is certain, May, Johnson, Davis, etc. will ensure that they have a place…

  • I think Remainer grief has reached the ‘bargaining’ phase.

  • Since the referendum China has made massive commitments to invest in the UK and the Norwegian Wealth Fund is buying large properties in Oxford Street. AXA are going ahead with building the tallest building in London and Google and Amazon have announced new investments. There will be thousands of new jobs at Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover and the head of Aviva has said the insurance industry will stay in London regardless. I could quote many more examples of good news for the UK and I’m sure others will point out the bad bits. However, whichever way you look at it leaving the EU is not jumping off a cliff, but politicians ignoring a democratic vote now that certainly is.

  • Whats the sensible thing to do when you are at the top of the cliff?

    Whats the sensible thing to do when the EU is at the top of the cliff and is about to fall off and pull you with it?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4017312/European-nations-disappear-unless-unite-Juncker-says.html
    At an event commemorating the EU’s landmark Maastricht Treaty, Mr Juncker warned that in ten years Europe’s share in the world economy would fall to 15 per cent from the current 25 per cent.
    In 20 years, no European countries would be part of the G7 group of the world’s top seven economies.

    Why would we want to remain tied to a project whose global share of the world economy is falling? Why would we want to be part of a bloc of countries that are more and more engaged in protectionist trade policies.

    Why would we be a part of a failed project that is tearing families apart, has youth unemployment skyrocketing, forcing people to leave their countries, friends and families and support networks in order to look for work in other countries out of sheer desperation rather than through choice

    We will be far better off, out of the single market, away from this political union and thus able to make our own trade agreements with the rest of the world.

    The EU, is jumping off the cliff, I do not wish to jump with it thank you very much

  • jedibeeftrix 16th Dec '16 - 11:47pm

    “Despite all of this, Theresa May is determined to invoke Article 50 by 31st March regardless. This has more to do with keeping her own brexiteers quiet than what is safe and responsible for the country.”

    Do you think europe wants to go into election season without any answer over whether britain will definitively not be electing MEP’s in May 2019?
    It would be a hilarious shambles which the pomp of the eu parliament would be desperate to avoid.
    And we’d have nothing to lose, why, i’d have a crack just for giggles.
    They want a nice clean solution in place by September 2018, with plenty of time for the eu parliament to ratify it by year end.
    And so onward to an eu election in May 2019.
    We have nothing to lose in that stakes, who cares if the monster raving looney party tops the polling up and down the land in early 2019!

  • ‘I don’t think that most people voted Leave because they wanted to be made poorer. In fact, we know that half of them aren’t prepared for it to cost them even one penny’.

    They will already be poorer if they have exchanged pounds for virtually any other currency, relied on risk-free savings interest as already poor rates have fallen further or they’ve had to renew their gas & electric supply contracts as prices have shot up.
    So yes, let’s call for the invocation of Article 50 to be delayed as the longer this can be postponed the more prices will increase and the level of unease will rise in pragmatic Brexiteers, then minds will change.

  • Tony Greaves 17th Dec '16 - 2:49pm

    Fix up a rope and ab down.

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