It’s beginning to get a bit serious, not to say scary, isn’t it? The British House of Commons has told Theresa May that whatever else they may want Brexit to mean, it’s not the deal that she’s negotiated. WH-A-A-AT? Two and a half years of, um, negotiations thrown out the window and just 68 days …(Let’s pause for a moment while we take that in – it was over two years, now it’s just over two months…) just two months and a wee bit before Decision Day.
You’re probably sick to death reading and listening to people about Brexit. Maybe that’s because it’s so important. It’s also very confusing, despite Theresa May reassuring us all that Brexit means Brexit. So what are the alternatives we’re looking at?
- Since Theresa May’s deal has been taken to the automobile graveyard and pulped into a neat little bundle for disposal in the appropriate place, the British parliament will have to come up with an alternative package – and quick. This will be difficult to do at all, never mind quickly. And even if they do manage to hammer out a package that the House of Commons is happy with, there’s still the little matter of the EU27 – that’s 27 different states, by the way – who must ALL agree to this new package. That looks like a near impossibility. You scale the Everest of Westminster and you then have to scale the Kilimanjaro of Brussels. Hard to see.
- The 29 March comes and the Brits have no agreed strategy or package to offer Brussels. In which case it’s toodle-oo, sayonara, slan, auf wiedersen, UK – it’s been good to know you. And if anyone thinks that what happens next is exaggerated, that Britain has always survived, we’ll do it, maybe consider this one example: for many farmers, a break from the EU will mean that 80% of their income has been washed away. And that’s only for starters. Now that is a scary prospect, not least because a hard border will have to be established, because you simply must differentiate between the south of Ireland, which enjoys all the EU benefits as a member, and the north of Ireland, which enjoys the motherly arm of the UK around its shoulders. (Yes, Virginia, I am now engaging in hysterical irony.)
- So if an agreed package cannot be constructed by the end of March, what impact will that have on Ireland? I think you know the answer to that one. It’ll be an economic bloodbath, with the added potential for all hell to break loose over the border. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
- The funny thing is, there’s a way out. Simple if more than a little humiliating: let’s call the whole thing off. It’s clear now that play it as you will, Brexit is going to be a disaster, and a double disaster because all parties disagree and a hard brexit is coming up the road faster than Prince Philip coming out of a side road. The way out? Do what’s obviously necessary: have a second referendum and ask the British people do they really want to sail off into the high seas all alone, hoping that the treasure map promised actually charts the route to all that treasure. Anyone with even one semi-healthy brain cell should see that the UK, if its citizens are semi-sane, will realize it’s dangerous to come out of the EU and that it’d make more sense to stay where they are and, yes, work for a better and more accountable EU, by all means, but for God’s sake STAY. No, don’t ask for an extension to Article 50 and get more time to do more talking – just turn the car around and GO BACK. Because if you don’t, the UK will begin to disintegrate. Ask Nicola Sturgeon.