The Absurdity of “Get Brexit Done”

December 17, 2019 | By Paul Mackenzie Ross | Filed in: business, politics.

So, the results came in on Friday 13th December – The British people want to “ get Brexit done”.

Of course, they also didn’t like Jeremy Corbin, a radical Labour MP who was subjected to numerous character assassination attempts but who didn’t defend himself against them anywhere near strongly enough. They also had no love for Jo Swinson, the ineffective Liberal who pinned her whole strategy to the 48% remain vote, that may or may not have increased to tilt the scales to revoke article 50.

It seems that we, and I mean the royal we, want Brexit. “Get Brexit done”, because it’s “oven ready”.

I worked in a small business, itself purely serving the small business community, for over a decade before I moved into charities and the big corporate world. The thing that all businesses like is this – certainty.

And although the “Get Brexit done” rallying call has had people flock to the flag, raising it high and cheering that this will all soon be over by January 31st 2020, Brexit will certainly not be done.

There will still be no certainty on the first day of February next year. We don’t know if the pound will rise or fall. Or crash.

We don’t know how the markets will react. On Friday 13th December 2019 they rallied. But that’s because there is only certainty that railways, water companies and other public services will not be re-nationalised as per the Labour manifesto. Of course this pleases the markets but that rise due to shareholders knowing they retain their dividends is short-lived. It is not guaranteed to last the five years that the majority Tory government will be in power. What are the chances that stock market spike was a “dead cat bounce”?

The only certainty on Saturday the 1st February 2020 is that we are definitely out of the European Union. And that is it.

How “out” will look absolutely nobody knows. Nobody. No economics professors, no businesses and certainly no politicians know.

What we do know is that we don’t know.

And that’s what we voted for. More uncertainty. We have no choice now but to somehow all grab hold of eachother, teetering in the precipice of the unknown and take a giant leap into it.

Some will no doubt land very softly, thank you very much. But, as with all these things, there will be winners and there will be losers. That’s what these radical decisions result in.

“Disruptive technology” is a good analogy to guide us in this area; The ride hailing app Uber means that you can get a cheaper taxi home than a Hackney Carriage. And who can blame people for making a toss-up between a licenced, regulated £50 ride or the £30 drive with no background checks? You take your chances and you pay the price right? Cue Uber scare stories

What’s ironic here is that Corbyn was rejected for being too radical and yet here we are, radically leaving Europe, radically rejecting a common market and frictionless trade zone, radically accepting that working standards could come down, radically anticipating that food standards will need to fall in order to trade with the USA.

We are in an age of disruptive opinions, potentially radical change and yet, ironically again, the status quo will not change… for those in power, those with money. The poor people who brought the line that “Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser” will be the ones who suffer. The Boris Bus that stated if we leave the EU we’ll have £350 million a week to spend on hospitals was a lie (But it’s OK to lie in politics, according to a High Court judge, who said lies are acceptable when they are “politial claims”) . Yet has anyone stepped forward and admitted that they lied? No. And Boris still lies and yet the mandate he was given means that people don’t care that they’re lied to. What a crying shame.

This is where we are now. We‘ve rejected Europe. We made it certain that we want to “take back control”, whatever that really actually means, and that really is it. For the next five years or even more we will be negotiating our way out of Europe, out of laws, out of regulation, into what? 70 new trade deals with 130 countries or something like that? They won’t be signed, sealed and dated 31st January 2020.

I say all this as someone who voted remain. I also did not vote to turn the country blue this December. But I must now live with the consequences of the decision of people who are happy that “at least we made a decision”.

You did. Not me. You made that decision. And I will live or die by your decision. Being deeply embedded in business again I really don’t know how this leap in the dark will affect us all, in terms of how expensive goods and services will need to be, how that will affect inflation, what the interest rate will need to be, how many homeowners will be affected, what this will do to society, the economy etc.

Because, ultimately, if it does all go swimmingly then great. But there could be some big winners and still losers too. And if it doesn’t work out then those with the least money in the bank, those with the tightest mortgages and jobs hinged on free trade with Europe, will suffer the most.

I’m really trying my very best to be positive and be an optimist. But having taken a kicking from being in the losing side twice now, I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and am facing the future and whatever it may bring.

But, as is the theme throughout this post, I still haven’t got a clue what the future looks like.

Do you?

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