Brexit Negotiations, Driving me to despair.
I should be encouraged that over 75% of the electorate here in the UK supported parties politically who are prepared to leave the EU at the last general election. That election was only in June this year and I already feel like it’s been a lifetime. That all said, I do have concerns over a ‘no deal’ scenario should the Politicians fail to reach an agreement with regards to our trade relationship with the EU. I am not saying the sky will fall if we end up with a ‘no deal’ scenario, on the contrary. But leaving the EU without a trade deal and going onto WTO tariffs isn’t exactly what I voted for back in June 2016.
With companies like Citibank in London and Easy Jet now looking at setting up secondary headquarters in Europe, the warning signs are there for the British government. We also haven’t helped ourselves by dithering on European citizens’ rights, and the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson telling the EU it can ‘go whistle ‘when it comes to any potential ‘divorce bill’. So much for having a deep and special relationship with our allies and partners across the channel. With countries like India, China, Canada and the USA as potential trade partners in the future we need to be a country that meets its obligations, not a petulant child that tells our partners to ‘go whistle’ just because we don’t agree with something they say.
The deeper we go into this Brexit rabbit hole, the more problems I can see arising. This isn’t just around the issues I have raised already. The big stumbling block is going to be the jurisdiction of courts. Michel Barnier is on record several times that he wants to maintain the ECJ/ECHR jurisdiction in a post Brexit world. This would effectively be staying inside the EU via the back door, and with Theresa May on record stating she will keep us signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights, I do wonder if she really is prepared to walk away at all?
The problems don’t end there for our Politicians, there has been wide condemnation of the EU withdrawal Bill. A key piece of legislation that the government has regularly stated should lead to a smooth Brexit when we eventually leave the EU. This legislation is supposed to effectively copy and paste EU law into British law providing that smooth transition for business, on the day we leave. Tory backbench MPs have tabled over 150 amendments totalling well over 30 pages, so it doesn’t surprise me that this bill includes a power grab; The Henry Viii clause. This clause states
‘The Government sometimes adds this provision to a Bill to enable the Government to repeal or amend it after it has become an Act of Parliament. The provision enables primary legislation to be amended or repealed by subordinate legislation with or without further parliamentary scrutiny.
Such provisions are known as Henry VIII clauses, so named from the Statute of Proclamations 1539 which gave King Henry VIII power to legislate by proclamation.’
This clause will allow future governments to effectively go around parliament and avoid scrutiny if it so desires. Avoiding the votes that could slow down key pieces of legislation, like for example abolishing the Abortion Act of 1967.
Ultimately either way I think those of us that voted for Brexit, myself included. Need to start preparing for disappointment. Whether Mrs May backslides on various issues to maintain our current trade relationship, walks away from the EU entirely or wastes two years negotiating with those who won’t compromise. I can well see Britain being made to look rather silly, if we don’t already. Looking at the options available, I see no value in remaining at the negotiating table. Let’s leave and get on with it.
We’re already at a crossroad and which way Mrs May turns next will define our countries future for years to come. Her speech in Florence on Friday this week is set to be the most important of her premiership, but I really don’t expect anything different from what we know already from the Lancaster House speech earlier this year. The hope, prosperity and vision of what Brexit was meant to bring our country has all but disappeared for me. You never know these days with politics though, Theresa May could deliver a rousing speech Friday and my council of despair today may become a distant memory.