If you haven’t yet seen it, it is worth a watch.
If you haven’t yet seen it, it is worth a watch.
None of us knows what Brexit will look like.
The referendum question didn’t specify any particular kind of Brexit. So we didn’t choose one. And apart from a few stupid promises, probably on both sides, no one seemed to give much consideration to how things would be if Leave won.
When the votes were cast and the scene was set, Maybot had a blank page to write on.
When asked what Brexit would mean for the UK and Gibraltar, she replied that Brexit meant Brexit, and a few days later she elaborated to tell us that not only did Brexit mean Brexit, but it was red white and blue! She seemed either disinclined or unable to put any more meat on the bones.
OK, so that was helpful.
If any words could most typically describe the British approach to the whole Brexit situation they would, in my opinion, be “chaotic”, “incompetent”, “ham-fisted”, “disorganised”, “unclear”, “muddled”, “embarrassing”. “Red”, “white” and “blue” wouldn’t make the top 50!
I have always been sure that, had people even started to understand the complexities of what was voted for, they would not have voted for it. Personally, I had little idea what was coming. Of course, I knew the £350 million a week was nonsense, and I also understood that if all the Europeans went home overnight (or even over a year) the country would grind to a halt. But I had no idea of the complexities.
Just after the referendum, I read Ian Dunt’s book “Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?” .
Although I thought it might be a bit of an exaggeration and that worst case scenarii were painted, I was a bit shaken by how many normal everyday things would be affected.
Then I was introduced to Terry Entoure’s blog, and his forensic dissection of various aspects of the process, and I began to worry.
Both the Tory and Labour parties are split over Europe, and the message coming from them, despite Mrs May’s best efforts to threaten cabinet members with the sack, is confused and unclear,
Hard Brexit or Soft Brexit? Well, they argue about this back and forward but the simple truth as I can see it is that if we have a soft Brexit we will be in pretty much the same situation as we were in before. Simply put, being in the single market and the customs union may be essential for all our futures, but it will involve the UK in agreeing to the ongoing four freedom of movements: Capital, Goods, Services and People.
If we do that, we really won’t see any difference in our way of life. We will pay Europe to be part of the market, and the union of customs. Our good, services, capital and people will continue to move freely and all that will change is that we won’t have access to EU funding or jobs, and we won’t get a seat at the top table. So we’ll have to take whatever the 27 decide. All that is doable. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but that is more or less what Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have. (Switzerland seems to have a very complex treaty by treaty agreement. with more or less the same outcome.)
It is, in my view, the best solution. We’ll be worse off, but only marginally.
Hard Brexit is an altogether different prospect with our lives changing massively overnight, and a massive responsibility upon an excruciatingly incompetent government to get systems, regulatory bodies and trade deals up and running as quickly as possible. A recipe for disaster even with competent ministers.
Of course, the kind of people who in the days after the referendum were abusing anyone they thought looked or sounded foreign because…well, why weren’t they gone already? would never be satisfied, but, I thought, that would be a relatively small number. I mean what sentient person would want the alternative?
So I got a real shock when I saw this Yougov survey. Sixty-one percent of Leave voters asked if they would still vote for Brexit knowing that it would do harm to the economy, said “yes”. And 39% would still vote yes, even if it would harm their own jobs or those of their family.
Now I’m not convinced that that is actually the truth. A lot of them have just said that because they think that’s how they feel. However, I suspect that if the threat was actual, laid out by their own employers, leaving them subject to the tender mercies of the DWP death squads, rather than randomly proposed by an online, they would have run a mile.
But it shows a scary determination to pursue ‘Brexit no matter what’ path, of which I’m sure private polling will have already informed the UK government.
This doesn’t bode well for the future.
Those of you with access to second nationalities/passports for any reason (claims go back as far as grandfathers, at least in some countries) should be looking into the practicalities of it. Unfortunately, I have no such connections, but if I did I’d be on it like a rash.
Of course we could just vote for independence in Europe.
You promise above, in your letter to prospective donors, that the Liberal Democrats in Scotland will keep their word. (Well, I guess there has to be a first time for everything.)
But you know, or you should know that, as much as you stood on a platform of “no second independence referendum”, the SNP and the Greens stood on a platform of having a second referendum if there was a substantial change in circumstances...and they actually cited Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will as one of these circumstances. Scotland voted 62-38 to remain in varying degrees across the whole country. So, I’d say they kept their word to their voters too.
I don;t think that there can be any doubt at all that Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and the Greens intend that Scotland would remain, or rejoin the EU. Given that the Liberals have always been pro-EU, I’m sure you will appreciate the potentially horrific damage that leaving the EU will do to Scottish jobs, the economy, and the social fabric. And given that there is no effective opposition to the Tories in Westminster (the SNP only having 56 votes; your own party having 9 and Labour far too preoccupied with internecine warfare to bother their backsides about opposing Tories), I’m sure you would agree that Nicola Sturgeon’s prediction that we may be facing Conservative governments till 2030.
The Tories have (and I have to remind you here that they did a lot of it with the help of the Lib-Dems) starved councils and government services of money so that, in England, without the protection of the Scottish government, basic services are simply no longer coping. When the UK withdraws from the EU we know that we will lose its protection in many different areas.
Liam Fox has already talked about deregulating businesses and some of the nuttier element of the Conservative Party (who wield considerable power now) are talking about reducing standards to meet the demands of the Americans. No more EU protection, we will be left to the tender mercies of the Tories. And we all know that they don’t actually have any tender mercies, except when it comes to themselves, the Lords, big business and of course, the royal family.
This may well suit the people in England as that is what they voted for. But it won’t suit us here…and part of your name is “Democrats”, remnember?
I understand too that you are keen to have a second referendum on leaving the EU once Mrs May, Mr Fox and Mr Davis along with Mr Johnson, have finished their negotiations. In fact, I agree that that would be sensible, but of course, it is not going to happen. I’m not sure why a second referendum is good, for an outcome you disagreed with, and bad for an outcome you backed. Any explanation?
You say that the SNP will take Scotland out of Europe. I think you are getting a bit muddled here, Willie. You see that was the last campaign message. Remember…the only way to stay in the EU is to vote no to independence? We are trying to keep Scotland in the EU, and from what we can tell, they want us to be there.
You talk about fighting in the last referendum for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united. Can you tell me how you reckon that you score on that, given all the racism, and violence against EU citizens? And fair? To sick people, dying of cancer and being told to go get a job? Old people not being above to get any social care and ending up in hospital beds for months at a time? If that lot is your idea of open tolerant and united, then I’m damned if I can work out how your brain works.
Now I reckon that the Greens and the SNP, a majority in parliament, have kept their promises. As you can see I’ve taken this opportunity to remind you of one of the biggest you broke…the tuition fees pledge débacle… and of how your then boss aided and abetted the Tories, with, as I recall, your full support.
This article in the FT is worth a read. It’s relatively balanced as you would expect from the pink pages.
It seems to me that Mrs May is no diplomat. Laying down the law in advance of even the triggering of Article 50 and before any negotiations have begun sounds like a weak position made to look tough. But hey, what do I know? I’m not a negotiator. I’m not an economist. I’m not a politician. Thank heavens.
But the head of the Treasury probably knows a few things about where the money comes from and goes to. And I suspect that it’s one thing to have a Singapore-style economy in tiny Andorra (80,000), Monaco (38,000), Jersey (100,000), Guernsey (60,000), etc… and a rather different kettle of fish if you are trying to make it work over a population of 65 million in a medium sized land mass.
I suppose the question is, are we prepared to forgo a reasonable health service, passable pensions, social security, and a decent infrastructure so that a small area of the UK (City of London) can continue to prosper and give the UK an outward appearance of riches?
Or would we prefer a decent Scandinavian-style society that looks after its people and stops pretending that it’s playing at the big boys’ games?