Negotiation of Great Britain and European Union (Brexit). Statesman or politicians with clasped hands.

Brexit Update – 12th February

Theresa the Bruce is off and travelling again, those in Brussels have still been pretty unfriendly and refused to renegotiate the deal on the Irish backstop.  She has been to see the Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar who by all accounts served her a very fine fillet of beef with green beans and Dauphinoise potatoes.  During the dinner he very politely said that he was as one with the EU on the point of the backstop and was not prepared to budge.  Informing the press that it had not been a “day for negotiations” but rather an opportunity to “share perspectives”, presumably on the quality of the beef, I wonder if it was an Irish or British beast?  I’m sure The Bruce was happy with her supper and came home refreshed but absolutely no further forward than she had been when she went.  Well we will find out today – Tuesday 12th February whether she made any progress with anybody.  It is a little worrying, or to a cynical mind; suspicious that we only have 45 days left until 29th March and yet we still haven’t got a clue what is going to happen then.

After her jollies, jet setting about, back in the UK The Bruce sent a nice friendly letter to Comrade One explaining that she would be keen to meet and continue discussing his views and opinions on the affair but made it very clear that she would be taking absolutely no notice of them.  Poor Comrade One appears to be having little impact on The Bruce’s territory and has slumped in the polls with the last ‘YouGov’ poll suggesting that The Bruce’s persistence has seen her pull out a lead of 7 points over the Labour leader.  This would indicate that she is not just secure on her present course, but that the people of the UK appear to sympathise with her predicament and are doing so more and more.  Certainly the feeling that I am now finding prevalent across my colleagues, friends, peers, acquaintances, radio and TV articles is the one that suggests we should just get on with it and sort it all out and blow the consequences.  Nearly everyone I come across has had enough and just wants some certainty to cling on to. 

The concept of a Remainer or a Brexiteer even appears to be fading into obscurity with a new phrase perhaps a ‘29th Marcher’ appearing to replace it.  People have had enough and the concept of an extension of Article 50 is seen as a prolonging of the uncertainty, an 18 month transition period is viewed even more so.  This then brings us into the area of real contention and concern; I think nearly everyone accepts that most if not all aren’t ready for a hard Brexit on 29th March.  I would suggest that a long extension period, with all its uncertainties would be viewed extremely negatively by most individuals and business especially.  A limited extension however may be considered to be realistic and beneficial; it may be able to provide sufficient time to allow businesses that would then have a definite date and understanding to work to, the time to prepare appropriately for the guaranteed timeline and trade deal.

At Hellmann, we have been preparing for a ‘No Deal’ scenario on 29th March 2019 for some time, because we felt we had no choice but to do so.  We have employed additional staff, contacted our customers, suppliers and partners and have been working with them to help them prepare for a worst-case scenario.  We have trialled different processes and routes, implemented a new system for import clearances and considered the impacts on space and resources.

No one is 100% Brexit ready, as they can’t actually be certain what will happen yet, but we at Hellmann are constantly reviewing the situation and working tirelessly towards the best solution, with a dedicated team committed to all that may be required.  Although, if Brexit doesn’t happen on 29th March, or is extended for 18 months we will have wasted substantial money and resources. Worst still would be the continued uncertainty that could lead to greater wastes of time, effort and resources.

Justin

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