Today I walked into on a conversation at work in which Brexit was being compared to trying to be ‘friends with benefits’ after a divorce! Not a bad analogy!
This week on radio 4, ex-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was being interviewed on his thoughts on Brexit. this is what I understand him to be saying:
1) Yes – it is taking what seems like an age for the MPs to make a decision on Brexit
2) This is because it is extremely complicated to leave the EU after so many years of close relationship and trying to strike a deal and understand all of the details involved is not straightforward – so it’s both right and important that our MPs do what they are elected to do.
3) Theresa May’s deal has been rejected with good reason. It would have been better if she had worked on a few options and worked on a cross party agreement for something more likely to satisfy the varying positions.
4) The options we are left with are as follows:
a) crash out with no deal and trade by WTO rules, but the WTO is in a mess and this will cause some real short term pain for our economy. I don’t know about you, but I know loads of people for whom this would mean very difficult financial positions and would put homes and jobs at severe risk. The economy would recover long-term, but it could take years and years. After all the austerity – can we really handle this?
b) Go for a Norway plus deal, but this leaves us pretty much in the EU, but without the benefits.
c) Go for a Canada plus deal, but the EU are very unlikely to accept this as it is really bad for them, and actually worse for us too. And it leaves us with the Irish border issue.
d) Have a people’s vote (2nd referendum) to check that we still want to do this, now that we know much more than we did when we voted and this time, make the vote binding. this is what happened in Ireland and they realised that they were so much worse off outside of the EU
e) In the mean time, the EU needs to have some time for reflection and understand why the UK voted to leave and why we are seeing such a massive rise of nationalism across Europe right now and think about how we can find a new story for Europe that works for everybody.
Over the last few weeks I’ve taken time to really listen to people who voted for us to leave the EU and there are some really good reasons involved and some I definitely disagree with, but given all of the above, although it is painful, I don’t see how we can do anything except have a further vote. It was amazing to hear the lovely people of Germany reach out to us today to ask us to reconsider. After everything that happened in the last century, the fact that we call each other friends is amazing. Given what we know now, do we really want to Brexit?