Time is ticking quickly towards the end of March and Theresa May’s “promise” to trigger Article 50. As long as the House of Lords don’t block the way or demand revisions, it seems a certainty now. Whether we individually voted to leave or remain, Brexit is a reality. The only questions are: what is the plan, and what will the deal be? Brexit alone is not enough: it is the details of the Brexit Deal that matters.
The German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, has made his thoughts clear on the matter most – and most logically, it would seem. He’s in favour of a sensible, mutually favourable deal since both the UK and the EU (or Germany, for his sake) benefit more from having a constructive Brexit Deal in place. It almost seems like a refreshingly cogent piece of political opinion amidst the usual bickering we have to put up with. Of course, it is somewhat different to his predecessor’s opinion. In 2013, Guido Westerwelle had warned that the UK would not be able to continue on the way it was, as a member of the EU but “cherry picking” its part. Although he wasn’t giving a threat of a “put up and shut up stance,” had we voted to remain, his stance was clearly more stern than Mr Gabriel’s.
However, it does seem that he’s been singing from a slightly different score than British Politicians. Theresa May has stood by her attempts to be firm, stating that “the UK” – since she clearly has shouldered the voice of everyone in the UK – is leaving, deal or no deal, whichever is better for us. Without sounding too much like a popular daytime TV show, it appears that she is prepared to exit without a deal if necessary: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”
Does our PM really speak on our behalf over the Brexit Deal?
I can see her logic, and of course it makes sense. But the referendum was posed on the basis that voters would be informed what the options were in detail. Either we remained a part of a reformed EU, or we left and followed our own plan.
The problem is, we were never given the details of a negotiated reform, nor details of the plan if we left. The vote was, essentially, a blind flip of the coin. Or more precisely, a flip of the coin you got in change after having purchased your regular hyperbole-spewing media rag. (Read our previous blog on “Polar Politics”)
On Sunday, Justice Minister Liz Truss did the typical slithery-slippery political interview with Andrew Marr wherein she finally took an age and a half to answer one of his questions on Article 50. Finally, she said that Article 50 is not revocable once triggered, according to law as it is. However, she also confused her own point by stating that if she voted on the EU referendum now she would vote to leave. Interestingly, she was on the “Remain” side running up to the referendum, and when challenged by Andrew Marr over the fact she had changed her mind, she tried to deny it. Marr then put the simple question forward:
“So the arguments you used before were wrong; you have changed your mind. If that is so, why can’t the British people, if the circumstances change, change their minds too?”
(The Andrew Marr Show, 19/02/2017)
This is a good question when considering the Brexit Deal. Given what we know so much more about the situation, would everyone vote the same? After all, we now know the NHS will not be getting £350m a week, as stated on the side of the bus. The UK had never lost the sovereignty we were allegedly reclaiming. There was no plan at all in place ready for Brexit result. The details of the EU reforms had not been decided – let alone presented – in order to make the choice a genuine one. In fact, it could be argued that in the absence of even the slightest idea of what the Brexit Deal would look like, the whole referendum was false.
So Andrew Marr’s question to Liz Truss seems an entirely valid one. As such, we’ve decided to host our own simple poll on the question. Knowing what you know now, with the power of hindsight – which of course I understand is a luxury in all walks of life – how would you vote?
So as we battle our way through political jargon, party back-biting, and old leaders coming back like bad film sequel, it seems that Brexit really does mean “Brexit.” But since no-one can even agree on what my shopping bill will look like, I can’t say I am any closer to being able to say what the Brexit Deal will be for me.