• December 2018

We need a cunning plan…but sadly that’s not what we’ve got!


As we get closer to the Brexit precipice, I am more and more inclined to believe that it is perhaps worth losing the battle now, to go on to win it another time.  By that, I mean perhaps we should step away from stubborness, personal political agenda, saving face and the current political pain we are all experiencing, on all sides, and stay in to influence from the inside.  Currently it feels like Blackadder, Baldrick and Captain Darling going over the top in the last episode of the series…and that seemed all too pointless as well.

Why are we here?  Because Cameron and Co threw us under a bus by holding the Referendum in the first place, and we must also hold the EU accountable too.  They did not budge an inch on any of Cameron’s negotiations on control of the borders etc, and thus left him and the Tory party with no leverage or incentive to persuade those already wavering on the EU fence to come back over to their side.  Now, having cancelled the meaningful vote because of a blatant lack of confidence in it, Theresa May is also off to Brussels with cap in hand again. Perhaps she will also come back with as worthless rewards as Cameron; 3 christmas baubles, 2 unhelpful changes and a partridge in a pear tree, or even worse, as it looks, a painful Baldrick shiner.

Clearly, this deal will end in tears. We won’t be able to agree terms and the Northern Ireland challenge is a BIG problem.  If we keep pushing this deal up the never-ending hill, gathering moss and more obstacles as it goes, we will be looking at decades of uncertainty and pain for business, the political system in the UK, the good people of our country and a likely impact on EU trade too.  We need stability, and this deal is a million miles from it. Theresa May could do with one of Baldrick’s cunning plans….a giant ‘political’ turnip that, for him, would save the day. At this point, I’m not sure anyone has planted it, let alone found it !

We are at a crossroads, and we must make robust decisions.  In my world, if the conditions change, I make a different plan, I don’t just carry on blindly saying this is the plan, when it is no longer fit for purpose and will drag us all into the wasteland. Things change and you make the crucial decisions based on those changes.  To now wait for a vote to happen before the 21st January is to continue the farce. The EU has said that there is no room whatsoever for renegotiation…so what is going to change by that point? It is bordering on criminal to delay the vote to so near the Brexit deadline that MPs have no choice other than May’s terrible deal or ‘armageddon’, due to a lack of plan B.  This is reckless and is almost a criminal act against democracy !

Have remainers made it so difficult for us to negotiate anything meaningful, have the Brexiteers stirred the pot so much that many have been blind-sided, has the EU been so intent on making us the example of the naughty child that they have given us no leverage, is the Northern Ireland issue insurmountable and are we flogging a dead horse?  Perhaps the answer to all of these is sadly yes. There is much wrong with the EU, and I still believe it plays a part in the very fabric of our future, but to leave at any cost because Theresa May won’t see the wood for the trees doesn’t cut it. Even a cunning plan from Baldrick can’t save this one. We need to put our best fighting trousers on, and realise that maybe everyone has found this too hard, the timing isn’t right and rather than sticking two pencils up our nose and being done with it, we need to hold our hands up and say right sentiment, wrong timing.

Cameron didn’t have a plan B when he called the election, and he must take responsibility for his part in this satire.  The lack of plan B for Cameron didn’t end well and created the playground of discontent that our politicians, and sadly the rest of us, are now playing in.  Theresa May also doesn’t have a plan B. Did we learn nothing? In business, you have to have a back-up plan when external influences create difference. To not have a back-up is reckless, and leaves us the laughing stock of Europe.  

The decision to leave was not necessarily a bad decision, but as in anything, the execution is the measure of it and the politicians were unfortunately not up to the job.  I don’t want to hear any more nonsense about the people have made a decision, we can’t go back on it. Politicians aren’t playing by those rules and Theresa May has constantly flip flopped over decisions.  ‘No election’…announces an election a few days later, ‘we are definitely going ahead with the meaningful vote’…announces vote deferred minutes later, ‘the Cabinet are united’….resignations. Democracy is all about people being able to change their mind, especially when the facts and conditions have changed and weren’t what was voted for in the first place.  

With no consensus in parliament, nor the likelihood of one, perhaps a second referendum is our only option now, with just two binary questions; May’s deal or withdraw Article 50 and stay in.  Our future rests on a knife edge. We should live to fight another day; a worthier battle with meaning. It now feels to me that the only sensible option we have been left with is to rescind Article 50 – the antidote to the ailing May Chequers Deal – and escape the tarnished handcuffs that it would leave us in; strangled by an everlasting Backstop.  In business, if the deal isn’t a good deal, you step away from it and that’s what we need to do here. One step back to be able to step forward in the future or risk terminal failure.

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