“The Brexit Committee has warned that even under the most optimistic scenario, there may not be enough time to complete all necessary work before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. The Brexit Committee report also calls for an extension to the exit timetable if a deal has not been finalised.” — The Express
What *Have* They Been Doing?
Two years on from the June 2016 Brexit referendum and with almost one more year to go before the stated target date of March 29, 2019 and the Brexit Committee says that “even under the most optimistic scenario, there may not be enough time to complete all the necessary work before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.”
That’s the definition of ‘Low Ambition‘ right there.
Whether the fault lies in Brussels or at 10 Downing, or even because of the infighting that happens within the Conservative Party itself, governments need to remember that the people have spoken (and quite apart from that) sentiment continues to grow among the UK voting public for the government to ‘just get on with it’.
Even people who voted Remain now think the best thing for the country is for a quick and streamlined Brexit agreement — one that is fair to citizens and industry on both sides of the English Channel.
If two years and nine months isn’t enough time to get it done, what is?
Do the politicians in London and Brussels think they have carte blanche to spend the rest of the decade and part of the next to arrange a suitable Brexit deal? If so, that’s very telling… and not in a good way.
Citizens on both sides of Brexit need to know and industry needs to know what to expect so they can prepare for life after Brexit. And they needed to know a year ago.
How Hard Can it Be?
Most of the existing EU laws will simply continue unchanged following Brexit, therefore, more will stay the same than will change.
It was originally thought that the UK would be leaving The Common Fisheries Agreement by March 29, 2019, or at the latest, by July 2019.
Therefore the UK had been negotiating with the EU in good faith so they could make some basic decisions about how to manage UK fisheries after Brexit. Micheal Gove is surely an able enough minister to easily handle it, yet, the EU indicated that the Common Fisheries Agreement will remain in place until 2020 and there will be no negotiation about it. And that was the end of that.
Read this important article about UK fisheries policy between March 29, 2019 and January 1, 2021: Brexit: Michael Gove shares fishing industry ‘disappointment’
Actually, the EU might’ve done the UK a favour by sidelining fisheries policy until after Brexit. Imagine that!
As off-putting as that sounds, it dramatically lightens the load of UK government negotiators because it’s one less sector that needs to be debated with EU negotiating teams. All of which should have conspired to put both the UK and EU six months *ahead* of schedule on the Brexit negotiation timeline!
So we can’t blame Brexit delays on Micheal Gove, the Common Fisheries agreement, or the EU for delays to that timeline.
Both the UK and EU will remain members of NATO post-Brexit and as the UK already operates its own defence infrastructure there isn’t much change expected there.
Apart from arranging the return of any non-NATO-dedicated Royal Air Force jets presently in EU countries, or removing Royal Navy ships from EU waters (unless there by invitation of an EU country or while taking part in a NATO exercise) there isn’t much for Gavin Williamson the Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom to handle for this part of Brexit. A few phone calls before the Brexit date should cover it.
So we can’t blame the lack of progress on Gavin Williamson or his EU defence counterparts for agreements not reached in time for Brexit.
CUSTOMS and SINGLE MARKET
Thus far, the EU seemed to be in denial that the UK was actually leaving the bloc, so quite logically from their point of view; Why would they want to entertain UK negotiations allowing the UK to leave the customs agreement and the EU’s single market architectures?
But now that the UK Parliament have voted in favour of the EU Withdrawal Bill you’d think the EU would accept the UK is leaving the bloc and that it is time to begin crafting an agreement setting the dates and terms to allow Britain to leave both the Customs Union and the Single Market.
But since the Withdrawal Bill passed last week, some in the EU suddenly began saying that negotiations with the UK can’t continue because the UK’s ruling Conservative party is ‘deeply divided’ and that ‘the EU can’t be certain who it is dealing with’ — yet, the UK government easily passed the EU Withdrawal Bill which it said it would do all along.
Full marks here to Prime Minister Theresa May for shepherding this bill through and making it look easy. Brilliant!
Read this important article about: How MP’s voted on the EU withdrawal bill amendments
Until the Withdrawal Bill was signed into law, any Brexit timeline delays were the fault of UK Conservative Party MP’s and the EU bore no particular blame for its lack of enthusiasm regarding the furtherance of Brexit negotiations.
However, now that the bill has been made into law, negotiations must begin in earnest.
FREE TRADE BETWEEN THE UK and THE EU POST-BREXIT
Almost everything that applies to the delays in the customs and single market negotiations (see above) applies here too.
To reiterate: Until the Withdrawal Bill was signed into UK law, delays to the negotiation timeline are to be blamed on the UK side and not on the EU side for the simple reason that until the UK side got serious about Brexit, why would the EU get serious about it?
Fortunately, and better late than never, PM Theresa May got the job done and now things must advance in the interests of industry and citizens on both sides of the Channel.
Not that the UK can suddenly afford to make Brexit ‘the EU’s emergency’ as the UK pursued the Withdrawal Bill in a most leisurely fashion over the past 32 months.
“A lack of planning on your part doesn’t necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.”
Yet because trading arrangements will benefit business on both sides of the Channel things must now move smartly along or delays will hurt business on both sides.
I wouldn’t want to be the German Chancellor or the British Prime Minister (for example) who failed to get a trade agreement ready in time for Brexit, or the leader who failed to make the necessary modifications to their respective departments to allow trade to continue uninterrupted.
IMMIGRATION and FREE MOVEMENT
It looks like this is a non-negotiable for the UK government. Too many British citizens spoke too loudly and too clearly for any UK Prime Minister to dare overrule their wishes.
Each EU citizen wishing to remain in the UK after Brexit will pay a nominal annual fee (about the price of a passport) and will be required to provide an up-to-date address and telephone number for the Home Office. Simple enough.
EU citizens wanting to move to the UK after Brexit will face the same requirements as EU citizens who’ve elected to stay on in Britain.
Non-EU citizens can probably expect about the same, although emigrating to the UK *after* Brexit will be much easier if you’re an EU citizen or Commonwealth citizen.
Now that the EU Withdrawal Bill Has Finally Passed It’s Time to Lift Those Anchors!
For industry, change is always negative but still doable. But late changes are lethal to business on both sides.
And UK leaders and EU27 leaders must remember that!
Industry needs clear and timely regulations (with a long lead time) that must rank higher than the ideological differences between the heads of European states (including the UK) higher than the (occasional) personality conflicts between politicians, and must always rank above the partisan politics within a country.
From the day the Withdrawal Bill was finally signed into law, every day must now count, be counted, and be accountable — or the UK and the EU27 will be racing with ‘their anchors still in the water’ against every other ‘ship of state’ in the world.
And that’s not how you win races, whether nautical or economic.
Airbus Execs Say Company May Leave the UK in a ‘Hard Brexit’ Scenario
The most obvious thing in the world has finally occurred and the only surprise is that it took so long!
Yesterday, Airbus said it would “reconsider its footprint in the country, its investments in the UK and its dependency on the UK,” and further stated that if Britain crashed out of the EU without a trade deal it would entail an “extremely negative outcome for Airbus,” and “would be catastrophic,” etc., etc.,
Certainly, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said many times that she doesn’t intend on crashing out of the EU without a trade deal and she and her Cabinet have devoted much time and effort towards obtaining a deal.
Whether the EU side has reciprocated in that drive for a deal is another matter. Many of us understand the reason as some in the EU have hurt feelings, and still to this day some continental politicians can’t understand why the UK is leaving and why more than 17-million voters chose to leave the European Union.
Regardless, the UK is leaving. Of that there is no doubt.
If the EU and Airbus want to continue to sell aircraft to the UK they will continue to operate their facilities throughout the UK with no substantive changes.
But if they do leave, it presents an enormous opportunity for the government and companies in the United Kingdom to purchase Airbus properties in Northern Ireland and in Britain to create a homegrown aircraft manufacturer.
When Someone Wants to Leave, Do Yourself a Favour and Let Them Leave (on good terms)
Whether it’s a marriage, a business partnership, or a foreign manufacturer wanting to pull up stakes — do yourself a favour and let them go.
If you stop them from leaving it’s only temporary anyway! So cut your losses and move on brave souls.
There’s plenty to be said about helping them pack and in engaging in some polite small talk until they’re out the door.
Then, as soon as their gone, pull out a blank sheet of paper and design the domestic aircraft manufacturer of your dreams — and get on with it every day until it’s done!
That’s how you get onto the good stuff and prevent yourself from getting bogged down in anger, self-doubt, recriminations, and what-if scenarios. That stuff will drive you bonkers!
Which is why Theresa May needs to take the bull by the horns and politely inquire as to the asking price of all of the Airbus manufacturing facilities which are scattered all over Britain and Northern Ireland — and buy-out Airbus (UK assets only) ASAP.
It’s no time to be a wallflower, it’s time to create a domestic aircraft manufacturer, par excellence!
One that will create just as many (or more) jobs in the UK as Airbus.
Nationalize Airbus, With Intent to Sell
Nationalizing Airbus throughout the UK would cost a few billion, sure, but investors from all over the world would want to get in on THAT IPO!
Commonwealth countries — which make up 2.5 billion people — should be offered ‘first dibs’ on such an IPO to guarantee their participation in that new company, and to help ensure they will choose to order aircraft from that new entity.
The astonishing success story of Airbus, of Bombardier in Canada, and Brazil’s Embraer all point to the success that a UK airline manufacturer could enjoy (assuming the right management team of course) which could also produce their own ‘joint fighter’ and ‘joint bomber’ jets for Commonwealth and developing countries.
Canada could be tapped to produce the landing gear (for example) while Australia and New Zealand could build many of the components for the aircraft, while items with high labour costs (like sheet metal) could be manufactured in India, and seats and luggage bins could be made in Commonwealth nations in Africa and the Caribbean — and all of it shipped to the UK for final assembly and flight testing.
It really comes down to which Commonwealth country can build the best seats, or the best wings, etc., and then simply arrange a build plan around those capabilities.
‘Canada, what can you build better, cheaper, and faster, than any other Commonwealth nation to add to the new [enter name of aircraft here] and deliver it to us for final assembly on a timely basis?’ That’s how you approach each Commonwealth country.
Once the IPO has raised sufficient capital, the UK government could then sell it to that (primarily Commonwealth) investor group.
Not Only Will UK Airbus Jobs Be Saved, But an Entire Commonwealth-wide Aviation Industry Will Have Been Created!
Which is another way of saying; ‘Thank you, Airbus. I love you, and I will always remember you fondly.”
Once Brexit occurs, UK companies and citizens will no longer have the luxury of coasting along like snowflakes caught in a gentle breeze; Rather, UK citizens will need to ‘Man-up’ or ‘Woman-up’ (as the case may be) to rebuild the country into all that it could’ve and should’ve been, all along!
From now on gentle Britons, it’s sink or swim, win or lose, own or be owned… decide how you want to spend the next 50-years.
A great way to start is for the UK government to automatically nationalize every company that wants to pull out of the UK, hold it for up to 6-months, and then sell it to any appropriate investor group that has strong UK and Commonwealth connections and looks viable enough to pull it off in style.
That’s how you ‘Build a Better Britain’ Theresa May!
As of today, we’re 286 days from the official Brexit date and much remains to be done, and for all the squallering about it, not much has happened. At least, not that the public can see.
Yes, a final Brexit date has been set, Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to pay a £20 exit fee (or perhaps as much as 40 billion according to some reports) to the European Union, there may (or may not be) an interim period when the UK is partly in and partly out of the UK (and without EU representation during that interim period — even though the UK will continue to pay billions to the EU) no trade deal has been agreed, nor have customs issues been resolved.
And all of it built upon the principle that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ which means that the UK has effectively nothing if negotiations go awry.
Further, the Good Friday Agreement could be endangered if the ‘no agreement’ scenario comes to pass.
Not very confidence inspiring.
Perhaps All is Not Lost
Negotiators have different ways of obtaining agreements and sometimes the most effective strategy is to wait until the end of the negotiating cycle and hit ’em hard with a deal they just can’t refuse just as the last few days tick off the calendar. Which is a legitimate negotiating plan, if, if, if, that’s what the plan is.
There’s something to be said for playing ‘defence’ (watching the other side to get familiar with their tactics and devices) as EU negotiators play ‘offense’ using all their ammunition to try to slow, obfuscate, or completely derail Brexit.
In short, it might be better for the UK to let the EU expend all of its effort — and withstand that barrage — then at the last-minute, the United Kingdom suddenly offers up a trade deal that the European Union can’t pass up.
If that’s Theresa May’s strategy to deliver Brexit to UK voters, it’s a good one. But only if she and the MP’s whose constituents voted for Brexit can withstand the ongoing negotiating and media blitz for 286 more days.
Otherwise, she will fail, and so will Brexit.
Risky (if you have a weak team) and brilliant (if your team is strong)
We shall see…