The one about Brexit

I had planned for the next article in my road trip series to be about the different cars I had considered, how they compare to each other, and which car I eventually picked. That will still happen… just not yet.

However, this whole Brexit thing has gone into super-meltdown over the Xmas/New Year period as we’re still no closer to understanding under what conditions the UK will be leaving the EU (if at all — which gets my vote).

So, let’s have a long overdue Brexit rant instead :)

We’ve heard over the Xmas period that both UK and EU are ramping up their ‘No Deal’ contingency plans — in the UK this has so far involved hospitals purchasing masses of refrigeration equipment to enable them to stockpile medicines, the drafting of ~3500 army reserves to help cope with ‘civil unrest’ (how long before that becomes martial law?), and an ~£103M spent on opening up additional ferry routes to ease congestion at Dover/Calais (and the absolute cock-up surrounding spending some of that with a company that has no boats, and has never operated a ferry service… so about as much a ferry company as my own limited company is!). And for poor Chris Grayling, it just gets worse — because the contracts were awarded without a proper tender process, they’re anti-competitive — and now the owners of Eurotunnel want to receive THIER equal value contract. Fair play to them, but more wasted money by Chris Grayling. This man is so incompetent, he couldn’t organise a traffic jam on a motorway. literally.

What really amuses me about this is that it’s all referred to as ‘contingency plans’ and by our own government as ‘unforeseeable’. However, ‘No Deal’ is (and always has been) the default position when leaving the EU — the failure to reach a deal means that the ‘default’ is enacted — and the default was known the very second that Article50 was served. It’s not ‘unforeseen’ it’s ‘we weren’t willing to believe that we could be so incompetent as to allow this to happen’. Bit of a difference there, but you know — own it.

For the past 2 years, we really have seen a complete bunch of limp-wristed MPs that should be kicked into the curb and left their to rot. Thankfully, we’re starting to see some adults entering into the conversation now with well formed arguments that will hopefully drive out a better outcome than “just set fire to everything, it’s all shit anyway— so why does it matter?”

The “meaningful vote” on the PMs Withdrawal Agreement is scheduled for Tuesday, and it still looks like she’s going to lose that. Thanks to some brilliant politicisation (that’s a word I just invented), she only has 3 days to come back with an alternative after that. Realistically, I see that she’s going to come back with one of these 2 options:

  1. ask the EU27 for an extension to the Article50 deadline
  2. propose Norway-plus agreement

I don’t see the 2nd as being something she’d do — that means that Freedom of Movement is retained (yay!), and I believe that’s the line she said she won’t cross many times (foolish, but hey). So, that leaves us with the 1st option.

I don’t see the other EU27 agreeing to an extension — what would it accomplish? we’ve had our 2 years, and through our own incompetence, we’ve pissed it away without any significant progress.

After that, it seems that the next logical step is the withdrawal of Article50. However, I don’t expect that to be the end of it.

I’d expect the next thing would be either a General Election, or a 2nd referendum — the outcome of either of those would dictate if we then started this whole process again, or whether it’s put to bed for at least the next 4 years.

The only other outcome I can foresee at the moment is the Norway-plus agreement — which I’d be OK-ish with. It retains FOM for people and goods, and provides most of the benefits of being in Europe. It doesn’t tie us to European laws (which I have no problem with — infact, as an IT contractor have benefitted from — specifically, the European Employment Agency Regulations). But I’d still be able to live or work in Europe, and my European employer would have to abide by those.

Any of those outcomes also sees the most ineffective, unlikable, and downright unpleasant leader I’ve ever known out of a job — probably by the end of next week. I hope she’s started packing already. I know you’re not good with deadlines…

Let’s hope that those that broke campaign laws during the referendum are punished to the full extent of the law — made examples of. I’ve read lots of comments about a 2nd referendum would “destroy democracy”, but this is complete and utter bollocks. Remember, the referendum is advisory -it’s not contractual in any way, shape, or form — the government are free to completely ignore the result. However, the laws which Leave campaign broke are NOT advisory, and they’re not free to be ignored — however, if this is the approach that’s taken — that laws CAN be ignored, then that’s a MUCH greater blow to our democracy. IMHO, the referendum result should be void for this reason alone (just as if you cheat in the Olympics you get disqualified). A 2nd referendum would be a lucky (and more than fair) outcome for the Leave campaigners (and voters) that did stick to the rules.

I’m actually a lot more positive about potential outcomes right now — and this may be because I spent a lot of time over the Xmas/New Year period planning my own Brexit contingency. I won’t talk about that now, because hopefully it’s not something that will ever happen… however, if it needs to — I’m prepared.

Let’s also hope “No Deal” Brexit is finally dead in the water, and never to be heard of again — in no possible scenario does that end well for anybody. In fact, in all studies it has been predicted to cause significant to catastrophic damage to both the country and individuals.

That reminds me of an old Russian proverb, which goes something like this:

A man fishing in a river catches a magic talking fish (it’s magic in addition to the ability to talk, which to be fair is pretty magical in itself). The fish says to him “if you release me and put me back, I will grant you any wish you desire. However, whatever I grant to you I will grant double that to your neighbour”. Without hesitation the man says to the fish “in that case, take one of my eyes”.

Normal service will resume with the next post — unless bat-shit craziness happens next week. Then there will be more ranting.