Brexit – A Week in Review

Well, this Brexit thing is getting a bit boring; at this rate, all the media organisations will have to lay off staff, although Donald has managed to keep interest going in his wall to cover the slack a little.  Yes, hardly anything has happened, Theresa the Bruce has only lost two votes in parliament in 24 hours, pah this is old hat, and an unprecedented decision by the speaker to allow a vote on the prime minister having 21 days to come up with a new plan once her Brexit deal crashes in flames in Westminster.  The vote was successful and so the time scale was reduced to just 3 days. 

Some have suggested that 3 days isn’t really long enough to come up with a whole new set of ideas, but I feel this is a slight red herring. Unless The Bruce has been living with her head buried in a bucket of sand for the last three weeks, I think she could have fairly accurately predicted this result from mid-December when she pulled the vote initially.  This result is a win for Comrade One, as it supports his proposition that Theresa the Bruce is just trying to run the clock down and it suggests that enough of parliament agrees with him leading to her defeat.

Labour have stated that they will propose a vote of no confidence in the government leading to a general election if The Bruce loses the vote on her deal on Tuesday, but they are not prepared to state whether their manifesto for that election would include a second referendum on leaving the EU. 

Whilst all that procrastinating has been going on in parliament, we have seen trucks parking up at Manston airport near Ramsgate and trying to drive to Dover without causing any problems, we heard the head of Calais ports, Jean-Marc Puissesseau make it clear that the French have been preparing and are ready.  The European Commission have released advice to all other European organisations and countries regarding a No Deal scenario. Then Jaguar Land Rover announced 4,500 job losses mainly from its 40,000 strong workforce in the UK.  In part, they blamed the ‘uncertainty’ of Brexit – a rather convenient narrative when you make a £90m pre-tax loss in the three months leading to 30 September 2018. Other than a brief week in August 2018, the pound has dropped to its lowest rate against the Euro since 2010, 21% less than its value at the end of 2015, just before the referendum was announced.  The British high street also recorded its worst Christmas since 2008 and although these elements may be unrelated specifically to Brexit, the disruption and uncertainty they cause doesn’t help ease the situation.

No matter what your view may be on the Brexit debate, it does feel now that the adage “It is a good day for bad news” applies across a full range of practical areas.  I don’t think that bad news is necessarily being specifically released in the shadow of Brexit, but all sorts of things appear to be happening in the country that there is no focus on because we are so blinkered towards the debate on Brexit.  This only fuels the fires of uncertainty for British business which continues to make planning incredibly difficult and problematic.

I hope that a clearer picture emerges after next week’s vote and the three days, although it is already being suggested that The Bruce may just announce that her strategy that she must release within 3 days of the vote will be stated as renegotiating a deal with the EU.  This will effectively give her the 21 days she originally had and we could be into February before we have any better idea.  If the Bruce continues in this vein, and the leave date gets nearer and nearer, the opportunities appear to lessen and we are likely to be left with the option of ‘The Bruce’s Deal’ or ‘No Deal’, which will win is anyone’s guess!

J

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