“Get Brexit Done” really mean?
One thing that unites both Remainers and Leavers is a desire for an end to this nightmare. The bitterness and division that have been stoked by the Brexit debate have not been good for anyone. But it’s just not as simple as that.
For the last three years, we had a government committed to delivering Brexit, but it ended up with a “deal” that would have left the United Kingdom worse off than under present EU membership arrangements. (FT article 28/11/18)
MPs – democratically elected by the people a year after the referendum to represent the best interests of their constituents – understandably therefore declined to give it their approval, so Theresa May was forced to stand down as Prime Minister and was replaced (by Conservative activists) by Boris Johnson.
He came to office promising to deliver Brexit by October 31 “do or die”. But what does that mean - leaving the EU with a deal even worse than Mrs May's or, indeed, leaving without a deal? The government’s own “Operation Yellowhammer” report has warned that a no-deal Brexit could mean food and medicine shortages, long queues of lorries at Britain’s ports and even civil unrest. (FT article 18/8/19)
A 'no deal' Brexit must be avoided at all costs, or Britain faces years – possibly decades - of economic chaos, job losses and even more difficult negotiations with our closest neighbours and biggest trading partners to replace deals we already have in place - with Britain in a weaker bargaining position than ever.
And even if a new deal is agreed, serious economic problems and constitutional issues remain.
The Johnson government’s latest proposals could still ultimately fail to resolve the most intractable problem thrown up by Brexit: How to preserve the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland. That deal is based on an open border between the north and south of Ireland, but that only works because both the UK and the Republic are members of the EU.
Without a totally open border, the prospect is of increased smuggling and criminality - fuelling and funding the currently small-scale dissident terror groups who are waiting for their opportunity.
And that’s not the only threat to the United Kingdom. Scotland, which voted strongly to remain in the EU, will be unhappy with any Brexit deal and the pressures for another independence vote will only increase, with growing support for Scotland leaving the UK.
Trade-wise, we will become locked into endless and desperate economically life-or-death trade negotiations with other nations which may well be as fraught as the current exit negotiations. Indeed, because trade negotiations will determine the levels of employment/unemployment and poverty/prosperity in Britain for years to come, those negotiations could well prove to be as traumatic for the UK public as the recent initial (i.e. purely exit) negotiations have been.
So “getting Brexit done” won't be the end – just the beginning of more upheaval, disrupting people's lives and damaging their livelihoods, living standards and futures for years to come. Better – even if there’s a deal - to call a pause and ask the British people if this is what they really voted for.