Enough of the mixed cliche/pun or whatever. As we head towards the Christmas period a number of things are starting to crystallize about Brexit – the chances of getting a soft Brexit are becoming slimmer by the day. The latest blow to this came from the latest twist in the Singapore/EU trade deal which would seem to indicate that any Brexit deal will have to ratified by all of the remaining EU countries which will be a devil’s own job. Of course the advantage that Britain has over Singapore is that we already comply with all the standards etc that the EU requires. However, this doesn’t mean that it will be easy, even before we come to the ratification by other EU countries, because of two real stumbling blocks: Free movement of people and the role of the European Court of Justice. How this is overcome is where a willingness to compromise on both sides will be paramount and a realisation that it is in both sides interest to do so.
This doesn’t mean that a deal won’t be struck but it looks very very unlikely in the two year article 50 period and I doubt that there is any political will on the British side to extend that time line which means we will have to trade with the EU as though we were never a member of the EU which of course will hurt the EU just as much as it will hurt Britain but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
So in the New Year anybody who is responsible for exporting from Britain will really have to come to terms with a world where there is no trade deal between Britain and the EU and have to plan accordingly. It will mean that some jobs will be displaced but as to what the true extent of that maybe we will have to wait and see. There will be a huge amount of noise and smoke floating around as groups lobby for their own special interest but that is one of the many costs of living in a free country.
So as the year come to a close I have now spent quite a bit of time reflecting on Brexit and I have to say I have somewhat changed my mind. Yes I wanted us to stay in the EU but that boat has sailed. I now think that we need to embrace Brevit as a clean break as anything else will be a drag on the economy. We are going to have to accept that in the short term there will be a cost to be paid and we will have to hope that it is worth it. I suspect it won’t be as high as I feared before the vote but there will be a cost nonetheless. We do have numerous advantages compared to all of the countries left in the EU and we should try and profit from them especially if the EU doesn’t want to work with Britain to both our mutual benefit. It is going to be a bumpy and at times painful next 10 years but we will survive because you know what we have been through these things before and we have done so in the past.