September 17, 2018
Even by the current standards of politics, the UK is currently in a very odd place. Brexit negotiations seem to be happening by a painful process of elimination.
Earlier in the year the government had to accept amendments that make it almost impossible to deliberately remove it from the Single Market and Customs Union. A date in January 2019 is set to force the government to a vote in the Commons on the matter. There does not appear to be a Commons majority to deliberately take the UK out of the EU on the hardest of terms.
The middle ground – currently the Chequers plan – has finally managed to unite the Conservative Party. They all hate it! As best I can describe it, the Chequers deal is Norway with extras for manufacturing. There seems to be no support in the Commons for this either.
Remaining in the EU is an option that has been gathering momentum for months and survey after survey suggests that if there were to be another referendum, it would be the winning option. The Prime Minister, however, has made it very clear that another vote is not a possibility. While I understand her position, the ground has moved substantially beneath her feet and continues to do so.
The UK’s real problem is that everyone in Britain is so divided now that another vote is the only real way to settle this. Whatever Parliament or the Cabinet does will be wrong to many millions of people. If, however, the population does vote to leave on the hardest of terms even after all this time and new information, then so be it. How can you argue with that result? But that is not an option!
This leaves Theresa May in a terrible situation, mainly of her own making. Politicians all worry about their “legacy” and should she manage to exit the EU with no deal and fall back onto whatever terms may have been arranged at the WTO, her legacy will be disastrous. It will be especially bad if the final polling in mid March shows an overwhelming desire by people to remain in the EU. Then she will have backed the wrong horse all the way in to a self-made recession. What a disaster that would be for everyone.financialguy