So the letter is signed, sealed and ….(I’m not sure how it is delivered) but no matter. The rollercoaster of all rollercoaster rides starts today. After the best part of nine months of posturing this is it. Britain is starting the process to leave the European Union (EU).
Before I go on I think it is only fair I set out my position. I didn’t want to leave the EU and voted accordingly. However, we lost and so I have moved on and are now looking to get the best deal for Britain and the EU. I accept the government’s position of leaving the single market and customs union because it makes things easier for the negotiation – we want to make a fresh start so there will be no hangover from the past – also we did vote to leave the EU and these are intrinsic parts of the EU so that is what the country voted for and we have to make the best of it. This doesn’t mean that I have suddenly become a fully paid up member of the Brexit wing (more on them in a moment) but rather that we can make a fresh start of our relationship with the EU. What that final relationship looks like I haven’t got the first clue but then again I am not alone as no one, not even the Prime Minister, has either. I have said this before but it is worth repeating – anyone who says they know how this will work out is lying – they don’t.
So I guess my position is this – I didn’t want to be here but now we are I want to make the best of it. I accept that there will need to be compromises on both sides and I also accept that this relationship will take years to finally sort out but I really do hope in the end both sides come out of it stronger. I really don’t think that is a Brexit position but a realistic one.
Talking of Brexiteers the one thing that we can expect from many of them is gnashing of teeth and loud cries of disgust over the necessary compromises need to make the whole thing work. I am totally sick and tired of being told that WTO rule will be fine – they would be in a vacuum but that is not where we find ourselves – trade is but one part of our complicated relationship with the EU and there are many many things that need to be sorted out beyond the World Trade Organisation. Last week we saw 70 MPs writing a letter to the BBC complaining about what they see as ‘bias’ coverage of the effects of Brexit so far. Leaving aside that Brexit hasn’t started until today we are now supposed to only embrace the ‘good news’ according to these MPs. One of the programmes that so irritated the MPs was Countryfile, possibly the most harmless puff piece programme going, which had the temerity to actually suggest that Brexit might have an adverse effect on the farming world – who would have thought? This is just one example of what will be a continued wall of noise over the next two years where every little flounce by the EU side will be seen as a great indignity served against the ‘will of the people’ whereas it is most likely just a negotiating tactic. If I hear the ‘will of the people’ being used one more time to cover whatever cocked eyed view is being put forward by yet another Brexiteer I think I’ll scream! They no more know what the ‘will of the people’ is than I do and they certainly don’t have anymore right to it than other politician. The people voted to leave the EU and that is it, they didn’t express a view on the exact shape that exit will take no matter how many times Nigel Farage or his like stand up and say this is what they wanted but not that.
So there we have it in a nutshell. We are leaving the EU, we don’t know what shape the country will be in at the end of this complex process but we are going to try and make the best of it. Many of the politicians who were most vehemently for leaving the EU probably won’t like what the actual deal looks like but I think they are one the fringe of the political world and it will fall on the like of Boris Johnson to put them back in their crazy box and sell the deal – after all isn’t that why he is the Foreign Secretary?
Cry havoc indeed.