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‘Out means out’ is the clear message that would give certainty to the Brexit Process

August 4, 2017 1 comment

Unspoken words illustrated by actions, almost always speak more loudly than the words which accompany them. The approach which has been taken by Theresa May’s Government towards Brexit is certainly no different.

Management of expectation should be fluent practice for the politicians who have reached the heights of having a seat at the top table in the land. So it would be reasonable to conclude that the jumping off point for the Brexit Negotiations provides us with an accurate picture of the priorities of the Government for delivering our exit process.

Begin-with-the-end-in-mind.

It is of no great surprise that many people are concerned, given that Brexit looks like an unholy mess. One which is playing into the hands of ardent Remainers such as Vince Cable, given that the whole approach to the process has been in many ways portrayed as being about doing the minimum necessary to qualify the UK as no longer being an EU Member.

The current approach could more accurately be framed as over-promising with the quiet or unintended expectation that they will ‘be given no choice’ but to under deliver. The alternative would be the more robust and arguably honest approach of being clear from the start with us all by stating that we are now going to be completely out of European Union Membership once the Article 50 Notice Period is complete, and that anything we gain in our interests thereafter will be a benefit.

What could then accurately be called an under-promise leading to what anyone who sees our true relationship with our European Partners will know will be a significant lessening of expectations in terms of what the Government will then assuredly over-deliver.

While more than a year may now have passed since the EU Referendum with Negotiations in Brussels now appearing to be underway, it is far from too late to adopt this approach.

Yes, giving this level of clarity to the overall message would draw criticism from Remainers who continue to be convinced that they can influence the Negotiation Process to a degree where Brexit would occur in name only. But it would also provide a distinct level of certainty within what for us all will remain a fluid situation for a long time to come, where stepping off now with the worst case scenario providing a basis for our negotiating position going forward being a far more productive place to begin.

To continue managing the public perception of the Brexit process in the way that it is, the Government appears to be either attempting to be all things to all people – which even when well intended is unlikely to work; or is playing the rather dangerous game of planning for the UK to remain technically tied to Membership of the European Union via a relationship which the majority of British people do not want.

Yes, there are very big interests with equally big voices making very loud predictions of doom and gloom, openly threatening to leave the UK if their needs aren’t prioritised.

A perfectly sensible question in response would be to ask them why they are here anyway if the European Market is that much more important than our own.

The reality however, is that these self-serving overtures are really nothing more than a plea to a political class to keep everything which works profitably for those interests basically the very same.

These businesses have had influence and power over Government for a very long time due to the role that money is seen to play in just about everything. Yet in terms of Brexit, Money has now come into direct conflict with democracy and the will of the People. Nobody should be in any doubt about the interests which will benefit most if the UK should in any way now Remain.

The message is clear. Things can never be the same as they were before 23rd June 2016. Obstructive as these other interests may be, they also deserve to receive a clear message from the Government about the direction of travel, so that they can work with their own worst case scenarios. Scenarios which you can be assured will prove to be a lot better when we have formally left the EU, than they would willingly have us all suppose now.

The damage being done daily with the current lacklustre approach in terms of the relationship between Westminster all British People – who have an evolving distrust of the establishment, has the potential to be far reaching, particularly if the Negotiation Process should ultimately result in an avoidable fudge.

Whilst no British voter has knowingly endorsed the process of ‘ever closer union’ which successive British Governments undertook to create an increasingly closer and subservient political union with the EU, it would be utterly foolish for political strategists to believe that they can somehow delay or prevent the distinct and clinical reversal of that unsanctioned action, when the democratic instruction given by the Referendum Vote was very clear.

Of course, any ardent Remainer reading these words can and will pick holes in an argument like this by using their own view of Brexit and the Referendum itself to justify alternative reasoning. Democracy does after all only work for some when they are getting the results that they themselves want.

As a supporter of leaving the European Union from a time long before it ever became politically fashionable to be so, I can nonetheless say that I did not feel comfortable with the polarity delivered by the Referendum Campaign. Yet it has become ridiculous that a follow-up debate about ‘what Brexit will look like’ should then have been allowed to develop by the establishment and then framed as an optional change which can come in a choice of shades, wrapped up as either a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit.

Accepting that we are leaving – as most Political Parties now at least indicate that they do, would sound much more sincere, convincing and less like they were paying mere lip service to this inevitable change if all were to adopt a more definite tone such as ‘out means out’, rather than ‘Brexit means Brexit’. One which not only makes clear but endorses the otherwise universally held understanding that you cannot remain attached and at the same time be genuinely separate or no longer a part of something – as the British Electorate have commanded that we must now be.

In my last blog, I discussed the reality and impact of ideas or ideologies in politics rather than management according to all the facts. Brexit has regrettably come to fall under the same umbrella of ideas. It should be clear that our perspective of the process and creation of policy right at this moment in time and how things will actually work when we arrive at March 2019 will not then be the same as now or at any point thereafter.

The only certainty is that we are leaving and that is why it would be far more productive to talk in terms of the relationship that the UK then aims to have with the EU as being an aspiration, instead of a fixed relationship that we the or they in some way have the power to guarantee.

Acceptance that all sides of UK Politics have something to bring to this debate is essential and must replace the virtue signalling and disingenuous assumption of moral authority adopted by some, who fail to understand the expectations of everyone with views and feelings from outside their own bubbles. Especially so, as they refuse to work with those who do or have an alternative view to their own.

Just as if we were destined to travel to the top of a hill, it would be generally accepted as inevitable that there would be a climb involved in getting there. There may of course be different routes, choices of gradients or even helicopter rides to assist us to ascend. But one way or the other, we know that we will have to have reached the top of the hill itself before we ourselves know and everyone else will fully accept that we have got there.

In terms of our exit from European Union, complete UK Sovereignty is the top of that hill.

Regaining the power for our Westminster Parliament to determine all rules, laws and the obligations under which we live and operate as a Nation must be the red line above which nothing is acceptable in terms of influence from any other European Nation, combination thereof or indeed any foreign power.

To allow this key component of honouring its obligation the British Electorate to appear in some way negotiable – depending upon whether we can secure ‘agreement’ over certain things such as access to the Free Market, the need for a ‘Customs Union’ or the method under which we ‘can’ allow people to move across our Borders – The Government has perhaps unwittingly embarked upon a game of high stakes chess with the sanctity of the democratic relationship between it and the People.

To the Government, to the Opposition and to the other Political Parties with seats in Westminster beyond, it is the agenda of the British people which must be prioritised, first and foremost before any of their own, or indeed the very specific and self-serving interests which all too often support and therefore have influence over them.

All the Government really needs to do is change, make clear and evangelise the core message to one which reflects ‘out means out’ and then the support and understanding of how we can all work with and benefit from Brexit will soon begin to appear.

Whilst the siren calls of public figures such as the Archbishop of Canterbury may suggest that the devil is in the detail, the real challenge for those across Government is to now genuinely commit to the journey. They will then find that the seemingly impossible level of technicalities to consider as part of the Brexit process will be much simpler to decide – even within the significant volumes that they will come.

‘Soft Brexit’ or ‘Hard Brexit’ are no more than a Yes/No choice to a question which no longer exists

December 20, 2016 1 comment

brexitIf you are driving a car and find yourself in the unfortunate position of knowing you are about to hit something, time and space might momentarily slow down as you brace for the inevitable impact, but you don’t get a choice over the damage it will cause and whether the impact will be soft or hard. You just deal with the consequences thereafter.

It’s an analogy which some will quickly dismiss in relation to Brexit, but the parallels are there for all to see. The distinct difference being that in relation to the European Referendum, the result – and therefore the destination to which we already know we must travel, is a genuine exit for Britain from the European Union.

Much is now being made of the difference between the two terms ‘soft Brexit’ and ‘hard Brexit’, yet they are discussed in a way which suggests a choice about leaving the EU continues to exist.

If we respect the will of the majority of the British people, we will also accept that it does not.

What will be discussed when Article 50 has been triggered, both with the remaining Member Countries of the European Union and also the many Countries beyond will be the relationship and the way that it will work between all of us thereafter.

On the part of some, it is intentionally misleading. With others it is the the effect of a process of engagement being conducted by politicians who simply do not understand the impact on the general public from what they are doing. But either way, talk about dictating the terms under which the Government will negotiate Brexit do little more than indicate that the ‘remain lobby’ intend to halt Brexit in all but name, simply by insisting that the key qualifications and requirements of membership will ultimately be retained.

For them to succeed would be a political fudge of momentous proportions, not least of all because it will be representative of the same manipulation and game playing, focused on self-interest and political expediency by those in power, which inadvertently created the disillusionment and disenfranchisement which led to the choice for Brexit in June.

The choice was not simply about Europe, even if the question was framed that way. Outspoken Europhiles as well as those masquerading as born-again leavers within the political bubble would do well to remember this. People know their minds and they are not going to accept a giant backslide of the kind being advocated under the auspices of the disingenuous suggestion that anyone sensible or without prejudice who voted for Brexit didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

Talking up technical truths may well have been a big part of what the success of the Leave Campaign message was about. But these messages resonated so well with people because as any good marketing man knows, the adverts that really sell are always the ones which play on an element of a story which is inherently true.

Remain failed to connect with a working majority not only because they relied upon events that had no guarantee of ever happening – no matter how scary they might have been presented to seem, but because they were not able to sell or even speak of benefits to the lives of everyone in this Country which as a majority we could either see or believe.

It is a mistake to believe that a different campaign on EU membership dressed as ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ Brexit will now yield a different result, just as it is foolish to imagine that the European political terrain of before the 23rd of June 2016 still exists.

brexit-2

Our focus should now be well and truly upon developing the best post-Brexit relationships that we possibly can, whilst recognising that the remaining Members of the EU have as much to lose from a bad deal with the UK, if not arguably more so than we ever could, given the position as a self-governing, unrestricted and fully-open-for-business entity that this Country will then actually be.

images thanks to http://www.inthenews.co.uk, http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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