I haven’t written anything on the Blog for a few weeks now. I apologise for that lapse, but I think, like everyone else involved with Brexit, I needed some time out to recover from the twists and turns of the whole process, and it has certainly felt over the last few weeks that the pressure has been released. Unfortunately, this is a false view, and although I may have been able to forget about the whole process whilst the MP’s had their Easter break, fundamentally nothing has changed other than the date. I must, therefore, stress to you all that you must not yet forget the name Brexit; we still have a hard slog ahead.
The first point of my concern is the imminent European elections, unless an agreement is reached incredibly soon, we will be asked to vote for some new MEPs on 23rd May. “What does that matter, nobody pays any attention to them anyway” I hear many of you shout, and that may be the case. The elections, however, are a political minefield, the main parties must partake, but who can say whether anyone will vote for them. UKIP has edged further to the right with discussions to allow Tommy Robinson to join the party, whether they will see as successful a result as in previous European elections is now challenged by Farage’s Brexit Party which contains fourteen sitting MEP’s. The clever money I have heard is on a resurgence for the Green Party, of course, the SNP and the newly formed Independence Party would hope to do well.
Theresa the Bruce appears to be continuing regardless, and yes she is still trying to persuade the Labour leader Comrade One to support her deal whilst at the same time not appearing to negotiate on any of her ‘red lines’. If this deal is eventually accepted, it may well go down in history as a prime example of stubbornness over reason. Then again the whole concept of leaving the EU is likely to be viewed in the future as either one of the most perceptive insights ever realised or alternatively the most disastrous own goal in history, trouble is at the moment nobody really knows which and more and more people are starting to not care either way. ‘Just get on with it’ is a loud a frequent chant.
The problem we have in business is that none of this really helps. Yes we have breathing space, but has this really helped us in any way? We still have no clear understanding of the end result or in reality when changes to areas such as border controls, customs requirements and trade agreements will be implemented. As such understanding what resources we need and when is still difficult, if not impossible to predict. We all hoped for certainty so that we could at least prepare with the knowledge of what we would need to tackle, and when we would need to tackle it. We now know that we will potentially leave the EU on 31st October, but what that means is still undefined. The chance to leave earlier is still available based on a deal that remains undefined. We could assume that 31st October is a definite date, but we thought that about 29th March, 14th April, 23rd May and 30th June, now who knows what this means? All options are still possible; remain in the EU, a general election, a public vote, The Bruce’s deal, another agreed deal or a No deal, the front runner is still impossible to predict with any surety.
We, therefore, need to take this breath and recover from the mayhem of the last six months to two years and prepare ourselves for the next stage. We now know that the politicians are in a massive state of flux which could potentially get worse before it gets better. To rely upon them to steer us safely through this storm is more than dangerous and as such, we need to act ourselves. The good news, however, is that there are things we can do, such as organising our supply chains so we know what we will do in an environment where customs clearance checks are required, reading the government releases, looking at EU actions, listening to industry experts and monitoring the political situation. Looking at David’s blog will help you prepare for some of these issues in a professional and rational manner. I recommend that you follow what he suggests. We can also use this period to discuss options and put in place contingencies for differing scenarios. Only when they saw the cliff edge, did some of our customers realise what a momentous change was potentially imminent, the true impact that such a change could bring and how unprepared they really were. Let us, therefore, use this time constructively and let us help you become more prepared for whatever the outcome may be.