Brexit, MPs & a “meaningful vote”

In the recent Brexit select committee David Davis MP & principle Brexit minister admitted that the Government hasn’t estimated the economic impact of “No Deal” with the EU.  He, and therefore the Government, have no idea what “No Deal” would mean for the UK.

However, only a short while ago, our MPs (who, by the way, are now looking for our votes as our representatives) voted down the chance to have a “meaningful vote” on the final deal in 2 years time, in other words they gave up the chance to send the PM back to the EU to ask for a better deal if they do not like the one she’s achieved.

They ALSO then agreed to completely bypass the 5 year parliament act (an act by the way which was designed to provide stability & continuity in times of crisis) in order to hold a 2nd general election at the very start of our negotiation process.

So let’s just put that together.  There are now 2 Brexit options at the end of this process:

  1. An unknown deal with the EU, which will vary between a little bit worse & a great deal worse than what we have now.
  2. No deal.  And we have no idea of the economic impact of No deal.

Responsibility for that deal, what’s “good” and what’s “bad” for the UK & its regions, which sectors to look to protect & which to sacrifice, will be entirely in the Government’s hands, along with the other 27 nations.  If they approach it badly, are ill prepared, arrogant or if they just misunderstand what a “good” & “bad” deal looks like, well, too bad.

Bear in mind as well that this government is so incompetent it cannot even get a simple National Insurance change through without U-turning.  This same government will embark on the most complex negotiation this country has ever seen.

Meanwhile over the next 2 years the economy and even the world could change.  Trump could start a trade war, there could be a recession, the pound could crash further, external investment into the UK could drop.

And yet our MPs just voted to say “yes, that’s fine – we’re happy in 2 years time to pick between a completely unknown deal, and a none deal with completely unknown consequences.”

In addition, they in effect deliberately reduced our negotiation window by:

  1. starting the 18 month negotiation clock, by triggering article 50
  2. reducing the 18 month window by a further 3 months by agreeing to an election

Why would anyone in their right mind fire the starting pistol and then go back to the changing rooms to put their kit on? We took 9 months to trigger article 50, if an election was needed why not trigger it in 12 months?

 

Imagine the board of directors for a company called UK Futures Ltd.  The head of the company comes to a board meeting and says “Our shareholders have told us they want us to diversify.  Our options are:

  1. to restructure all of our existing trade partnerships in ways we cannot predict as yet or
  2. to drop all existing trade partnerships and try to create new ones.

We don’t yet know what 1) looks like nor what 2) will cost us.  Both are exceedingly complex, so complex it’s almost impossible to predict the outcomes of either.

However, we want you to agree, right now, that there can be no alternative plan 3) in 2 years time.  We also want you to agree, today, that you will pick between 1) and 2) at that time, regardless of the final quality of 1) or the final cost of 2) and regardless of what happens in the economy around us over the next 2 years.  Furthermore, you must agree to do this even if the shareholders change their mind in the meantime.  Is everyone OK with that?”

What would you think of a Board member’s competence if he or she said “yep, sounds fine by me, go ahead”?

What if the CEO then said “right, that’s settled.  OK, the clock is ticking, so I now need you all to agree to reapply for your board positions over the next 2-3 months”

This is what our MPs have done.  They have willingly given agreement that they will (assuming they do actually get the chance) pick only between a deal they cannot predict and a none deal that they cannot cost in March 2019, regardless of what happens in between.  And then agreed to bypass a key statute designed to avoid exactly this kind of cynical election maneuver in order to add more disruption and to shorten our already tight timescale.

Our MPs.  Our representatives.  The ones we charge with looking after the national interest.

 

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