Like most of you, I haven’t had a lot to discuss regarding Brexit over the last couple of months, and if I am honest I have been pleased to bury my head in other tasks as the Brexit situation doesn’t appear to be evolving at present. Now however I feel it is imperative that I start to ensure that our focus is returned to the Brexit debate, and in order to do so I would like to start by reminding everyone of some key points;
We are scheduled to leave the European Union on 31st October 2019 and I would suggest that it is incredibly dangerous to be complacent and assume that it won’t happen this time just like it didn’t in March.
In the event of a split from the EU, the only realistic solution being discussed is that there will be a requirement in some shape or form for customs clearance processes to be introduced. This means that all products passing to and from the UK to the EU will need some activity performed on them. What that activity may end up being is less clear, but the fact that there will be one, appears pretty likely.
Both candidates for the top job in the country are adamant that we will leave the EU and that the date we do so will be on or very close to 31st October 2019. I did my homework on famous Boris’s and there aren’t many, but one springs straight to mind, Mr Karloff. He plays Frankenstein’s Monster so obviously we have our nickname which I think is rather fitting. Jeremy Hunt supposedly wants to bring back Fox hunting, so I like the name The Fox, for him, I think it suits.
‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ is even suggesting he will use Prorogation to circumnavigate the restrictions that parliament has introduced to stop the country leaving the EU with a No Deal. This ancient tool is usually utilised by the monarch, maybe Boris has delusions of grandeur beyond the level of Prime Minister? I wonder whether he will ask for his portrait to be ‘Warts and All’. ‘The Fox’ doesn’t like to be outdone for long, so maybe he will be suggesting disbanding parliament and going back to rule by the monarch and the privy council? Maybe it is fitting that politics is carried out in the toilet?
In March, everyone was in a state of unprepared panic, with the concept of being washed over a waterfall perhaps the best analogy. If we extrapolate that for today’s position, we can suggest that the previous waterfall we thought was coming turned out to be some nasty rapids, that shook us around a bit with little permanent damage, but we are still hurtling down the river at the same pace to a real waterfall that is now again not very far away. The opportunities that would take us away from the waterfall are disappearing fast, especially with both candidates in the PM election determined to make leaving the EU key to their campaigns.
Although all the options we had in March are still in theory on the table, realistically for most of them their likelihood is reducing rapidly;
We stay in the EU after 31st October 2019 – if the candidates for PM are being truthful this is absolutely off the table, only parliament could realistically make this happen and that feels unlikely.
We have a second referendum – there was a time when this appeared relatively likely, but it has hardly been mentioned in the two candidate’s campaigns for PM, a suggestion that it is off the table.
We have a general election – this is a possibility – the MPs could produce a vote of no confidence in the new prime minister, but where would this get us? I feel it is unlikely because if we are still in the EU when a general election occurs, then Nigel Farage (shall we call him Lazarus) is likely to take a substantial amount of the vote from the Tories. ‘Turkeys generally don’t vote for Christmas’, although who knows in this political environment.
Theresa the Bruce’s deal is brought back on the table – let’s face it, it has only been rejected three times, but the EU has made it clear it will not renegotiate; this makes it difficult for an incoming PM. I cannot see either Frankenstein’s Monster or The Fox wanting to get embroiled in The Bruce’s failed deal.
A new deal is negotiated – this is a possibility, but it would require substantial movement by the EU for the new PM, and the time scales involved may make it difficult if not impossible to achieve. Maybe a simplified deal that just states the situation, with an intention to work on the details afterwards could be completed, but this is still unlikely to be agreed by the EU.
A No Deal – at present this is supposedly banned by parliament for the Prime Minister, but given Frankenstein’s Monster’s view he may try and force it through, realistically it is more likely that a No Deal will be left to happen by just letting the time run out. This however relies on the EU to not provide an extension, but it could create quite an interesting position if the UK let the deadline pass to see what the EU would do unilaterally?
With these possibilities in mind, I think we need to remember that we will be in trouble if we haven’t prepared for Brexit and it happens on 31st October. We need to start taking our medicine again in small doses now rather than bigger doses in a few weeks’ time.
Please therefore put Brexit back into your agenda, start having talks, start generating solutions, this has not gone away.
RHA are not sleeping, they have just announced six urgent actions that they recommend for the government to take to help smooth Brexit issues. Some of our customers have also not stopped thinking Brexit and have used this period to strengthen their preparations. When asked in a recent poll by RHA what action they had taken to prepare for Brexit 51% stated they had held discussions on Brexit but had no plan. 37% had done nothing and only 17% had actually made plans for a No deal Brexit.
Our request is therefore simple; prepare for Brexit, don’t leave it too late – act now!