Brexit battle over? Not even close

Brexit: May should invoke Article 50 ‘within weeks’, says John Whittingdale

Scary headlines are coming thick and fast for those of us who are not exactly excited about Brexit, in fact many people are thinking it’s all over for Brexit bar a few minor details.

But it’s not, not by a long chalk.

Whittingdale can huff and puff, Redwood can agitate that we should just send a letter to the EU and walk away, polls can be quoted, the Express can have shouty headlines like “Trigger Article 50 and stop all these delays over Brexit”.

None of it amounts to anything.  The PM cannot trigger article 50 and start the negotiation process until the legal challenge currently underway runs its course sometime in December when the inevitable appeals are heard.  It’s currently 50-50 perhaps that the Courts will decide an Act of Parliament is required.   Even then, May has already said she won’t trigger Article 50 until early in the new year.

It may even start later as “Ministers are now thinking the trigger could be delayed to autumn 2017,”, not only because of the Elections happening in Europe but because the Brexit departments in the UK just can’t get the staff and may not be ready until then.

Then we have the 2 year Article 50 process itself, and the associated trade negotiations.

Once these are under way, surely there is no turning back?  Well, lets make no mistake, triggering A50 is a big deal politically as a statement of intent however, it’s at least evens that we could back out – withdraw our intention to leave – if (when) negotiations started going badly – and return to full EU membership.

That means 3 years – potentially almost 3 years before Brexit can move beyond the point of no return.

6 months, maybe 18, maybe even 36, for all of us to help reveal the foolishness and lack of credibility of this activity.

Anyone who is in a position of knowledge and/or authority or even an MP (it appears the latter doesn’t necessarily imply the former these days) should know this, and therefore anyone who tries to imply anything different can safely be dismissed as a blusterer or an idiot.

And anyone trying to rush things through before we are ready to start negotiating is putting their ideology above the national interest.

So, the next time we see Redwood or the Express or the Mail or anyone shouting “Brexit now, get on with it” – just see it for what it is, a desperate attempt to create noise & distraction and to keep momentum going for Brexit, in the absence of any real progress by the departments involved. And why?

Because they are all worried about the emerging picture, the interventions by Japan, the inevitable impact on the economy from the uncertainty.  And so they are looking to create enough noise to distract people from realizing that Brexit is really very,very silly.

Let’s not let them. This is just the beginning.

P.S. just a personal theory, but you may be wondering why May has introduced the controversial idea of Grammar schools when she has such a slim majority.  Why introduce something that has such a high chance of creating division and heat at a time like this?  It’s almost like the time Osborne announced the (now failed) Academies plan, at the end of a badly flawed and ultimately rejected budget  

6 thoughts on “Brexit battle over? Not even close

  1. I agree with your general theme, that Brexit can be delayed and ultimately cancelled. However you are wrong to say that “it’s at least evens that we could back out – withdraw our intention to leave” even after having served an Article 50 notice. The U.K. would need the agreement of the rest of the EU to do so and surely that agreement would come at a price, possibly a price that would be unacceptable to the public.

    The best legal commentary I have read on whether an Article 50 notice can be revoked or not, by Jake Rylatt, concludes as follows: “Beyond the legal arguments, it is to be emphasised that the decision to make an Article 50 notification is not one that should be taken on the basis that, if the negotiations are not going to script for the UK, there is a possibility that the process could simply be unilaterally stopped. Basing such a fundamental decision on the chance that highly technical legal arguments might step in and save the day risks creating further uncertainty and undermining the negotiating position of the UK. The blinkers should be removed and the political realities understood; pushing the big red button marked ‘Brexit’ is a step of unquestionable gravity that may not be so easily undone.”


    1. Hi Paul, had a chat with a few people on that and I understand your point. The reason for this piece is to people who perhaps think its all over that it’s not – there is a long road ahead. You’re right to say A50 activation is a very serious step and we talked about adding in the “Backout” option. In the end I decided to leave it in, only to emphasise that we are a long way from Brexit being over. But I agree – backing out would be a huge step, government probably wouldn’t survive it


  2. Paul – added “Well, lets make no mistake, triggering A50 is a big deal politically as a statement of intent however” in deference to your comment


  3. Thanks Nog, much appreciated. Our culture badly undervalues the ability to listen to contrary views and modify one’s own opinion in the light of them. It is refreshing to come across someone on social media who does not suffer from that affliction. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A senior labour politician said yesterday (Sept 26) that “we have to accept the referendum result”, which is really worrying. Even those who don’t believe in Brexit, think we have no alternative but to go through with it. Why oh Why?
    If we cannot have another referendum, there is nothing to stop an independent opinion poll of a large sample to see how people feel now.
    The sample should be from the 18-25 age group and from the 40 -50 age group. The older voters cannot be expected to change their vote. Equally the middle group who wanted to stay in, cannot be expected to change their vote either.
    1] What did you vote in the June referendum?
    2] Do you think that the Brexit leaders lied during the campaign?
    YES – NO
    3] If there was another referendum, what would you vote now
    This pool needs to be sponsored. Just as Brexit had billionaire sponsors, so Bremain needs to find a big sponsor, like Sir Richard Branson. The results will hopefully show a swing towards BREMAIN that will stop BREXIT being a foregone conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

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