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Can Brexit Be Saved With Only 8-Days Left?

by John Brian Shannon

In an historic referendum on June 23, 2016 a majority of British citizens voted to Leave the European Union, and the ruling Conservative Party of the United Kingdom agreed to carry out the will of The People. So far, so good.

Theresa May was then appointed by the Conservative Party to be “The Brexit Prime Minister” and both the Conservative Party and the new Prime Minister promised that they would carry out the will of The People.

But then, they didn’t.


8-Days to go Until the Official Brexit Date of March 29, 2019

To be fair, there are still 8-days to go until the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019 and the UK could still conceivably Leave the EU on time — thereby allowing Theresa May and her Conservative Party to keep their promise to The People. At least, that’s the theory.

So, it’s important to note here that The People didn’t vote for a Withdrawal Agreement, nor did they vote for a Political Declaration, nor did they vote for a Joint Instrument. The People voted to Brexit, they didn’t vote for fancy-schmantzy political documents that seem unbelievably important to bureaucrats and politicians, but which appear to be meaningless drivel to the severely normal citizens of the UK and the EU.

Therefore, the onus is on UK and EU politicians to get the job done that they were hired to do, and to not allow their political games (or their trouble-causing political documents) to prevent the will of The People from being carried out as directed in the easy to understand 2016 referendum ballot question and subsequent vote result.

To put it simply; The will of The People trumps the bureaucratic and political machinations of UK and EU politicians, 100% of the time.


Why Do We Need a Brexit Extension Anyway?

Because. The. Politicians. Just. Couldn’t. Get. The. Job. Done.

Is anyone really surprised about this? I doubt it.

Today, with 8-days to go until the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019, the EU appears to have granted Theresa May’s request to extend the official Brexit date to May 22, 2019 (not to the June 30, 2019 that she was asking for) subsequent to the UK House of Commons passing the draft Withdrawal Agreement, and the non legally binding Political Declaration, and the (helpful in a minor way) Joint Instrument.

So, what have they been doing over the past 1001-days?

As of today’s date (March 21, 2019) it’s been 1001-days since Britons voted to Leave the European Union — and in all that time the politicians couldn’t come up with a way for the UK to Leave the EU and not have it break their own-chosen date of March 29, 2019.

It’s a damning indictment of politics in the 21st-century. There’s no other way to say it!


Let’s Compare Cultures, Shall We?

In any military culture, a failure to deliver on such a massive scale would result in the court-martial of everyone involved in this duster-cluck; And in any corporate culture, every CEO involved would’ve been fired at the 6th-month for non-performance, and likewise their replacements fired at each subsequent 6th-month interval for the same reason.

In any royal culture; Such Kings, Queens, Princes, etc., who would fail on such a massive scale would have their status severely downgraded among their peers within days or weeks.

In the entertainment industry; And even in Hollywood, the land of milk and honey, punishment exists for massive failure:

  • Let’s imagine for a moment that Theresa May, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk were hired on June 23, 2016 by the Academy Awards talent committee to host the Academy Awards on March 29, 2019.
  • And then, let’s imagine that they were still negotiating (with each other) the lines that they would read while on stage, right up to mere hours ahead of the Academy Awards event.
  • And then let’s imagine that all three of them emailed the Academy Awards talent committee mere hours before the event to inform them that they wouldn’t be ready to read their lines on March 29, 2019 — until May 22, 2019, or maybe later than that.
  • Consequently, the Academy Awards would need to be suddenly cancelled and rescheduled to May 22, 2019, or maybe later than that.
  • Or, suitable replacements to host the Academy Awards would need to be found, to allow the show to go on as originally scheduled.
  • What do you think would be the response from the Academy Awards committee?
  • What do you think would be the response of the television viewing public?
  • Even in Hollywood, the land of good and bad actors, the land of debauchery (sometimes) and excess (always), the land of drama and the land of special effects — these people would be fired forever. (You’ll never work in this town again!)

Only in political systems could humans exhibiting failure on such a massive scale survive and thrive. It is to weep.


Having Painted Themselves Into a Corner; The Only Face-Saving Way Out of This Disaster is a WTO Brexit!

Maybe that’s what these politicians wanted all along, as the end result!

In that way (they hope) citizens on both sides would recoil in horror from the dreaded WTO-style Brexit.

No wonder these politicians and their enablers have been doing everything they can to amp-up fears about a so-called ‘No Deal’ Brexit which would allow these bad actors the political cover they need to cancel Brexit altogether, which is, I suspect, what they wanted all along.

“The will of The People be damned! We won’t be told (by voters) how to run OUR countries!”

If the UK Misses Official Brexit Date; UK Industries Could Sue the Government

by John Brian Shannon

March 19, 2019: It’s been 999-days since the June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union and the UK government has failed in all that time to agree a deal with the EU — yet UK Prime Minister Theresa May has steadfastly maintained that Brexit will happen on the promised Brexit date of March 29, 2019 — “Deal or No Deal” — according to the Prime Minister.

And, there is still a 50/50 chance the UK might actually leave the EU on that date.

However, the odds of not leaving on that date were increased due to a series of votes in the UK House of Commons in recent days, and subsequent to those events, Theresa May seems to be backing-off from her usual assertions that “the UK will indeed Leave the European Union on March 29, 2019,” which is having the effect of causing even more uncertainty in the UK economy than had been the case over the previous 999-days.

Whereas the Theresa May government has promised Britons and British industry (hundreds of times over the past 999-days) that “the UK will indeed Leave the EU on March 29, 2019,” and whereas thousands of UK businesses have been incurring extra costs in their preparations over the past 999-days to meet the guesstimated requirements of Brexit, and whereas unconventional costs are likely to be incurred by UK businesses (through no fault of their own) if the UK government misses the official Brexit deadline which has been promised over the past 999-days by the Prime Minister and by other members of her government;

A case may be made that UK businesses can sue the government for the false and ongoing advertising (of the officially presented Brexit date) and for non-performance of its duties (failure to deliver Brexit as promised) and for not warning UK businesses in advance that Brexit may not occur on March 29, 2019 as promised hundreds of times over the past 999-days.

As a majority of Britons voted for Brexit and as UK businesses are subject to democracy just like everyone else, they wouldn’t be entitled to sue the government for acting on the results of the June 2016 referendum.

But what they can sue the government for is promising hundreds of times over the past 999-days to deliver Brexit right up until the official Brexit date — and then not delivering it — with the UK government knowing full well they weren’t able to deliver Brexit, or had changed their minds in recent days or weeks about their ability to deliver Brexit.

Without taking anything away from the previous paragraphs, it could also be argued that UK businesses could sue the UK government for failing to inform them in advance that the official Brexit date (might be) or (will be) missed.

As most businesses in the UK operate on a quarterly schedule, that would mean the UK government should’ve officially informed UK businesses about the possibility of a missed Brexit at any time prior to January 31, 2019 — which is when the October 1 through December 31 quarterly reports are typically due.

If Theresa May and Co. think that they can ‘suspend’ Brexit indefinitely in order to solve the above-described problem, they couldn’t be more wrong.

UK businesses cannot sue the government for the present period of uncertainty.

BUT IF THE OFFICIAL BREXIT DATE IS MISSED DUE TO A FAULT OF THE UK GOVERNMENT, THEREBY RESULTING IN A FAILURE TO DELIVER BREXIT ON TIME AND AS PROMISED; Beginning March 29, 2019 the UK government could be sued by UK businesses for losses resulting from an oft-promised and subsequently missed official Brexit date — especially when no advance warning was given to UK businesses about a potential missed Brexit prior to the end of the 4th-quarter reporting period.

Therefore; For the Theresa May government to avoid having to pay £1 billion per week (or more) in court ordered penalties to UK businesses should the government fail to deliver Brexit by March 29, 2019

I strongly advise the Prime Minister to keep her promise to Britons and to British industry that the UK will exit the European Union on March 29, 2019.

There’s no way out of the looming catastrophe of the UK government being sued by British industry on account of a Brexit ‘own goal’ unless you actually keep your promise that, “the UK will indeed Leave the EU on March 29, 2019.”

And if you don’t keep that promise I hope it costs the UK government billions. Because going forward, that’s how much all the additional uncertainty (from March 30th onward) will amount to and all of it caused by a suddenly missed and no advance notice Brexit.

You were saying to your MP’s recently, “Don’t lose your [Brexit] nerve.”

Well, maybe this blog post/circular will help MP’s to keep their nerve and to deliver Brexit as has been promised by the UK government almost every day for the past 999-days.

Image courtesy of PoliticsHome.com

The Patriotic Thing, Theresa May, is to Brexit on March 29: Deal, or No Deal

by John Brian Shannon

Either a country is led by a strong leader who controls the narrative or the narrative is controlled by others

And because Theresa May allowed the narrative to be controlled by everyone but her since July 2016, the present moment of government dysfunction is on the Prime Minister’s head. Her talking about the ‘collective responsibility’ of the House of Commons for the ongoing Brexit spectacle is appalling.

She talks about the ‘collective failure of Parliament’ to find a way forward on the Brexit file, yet MP’s are simply reacting to the situation that Theresa May created — or rather, the situation that she allowed to evolve into what it is today.

Whatever is wrong with Brexit at this moment isn’t the voter’s fault, it isn’t the EU’s fault as they’ve been on-message the whole time without deviation (whether we agree with their positions are another matter, of course) and it isn’t the fault of Parliament.

The reason we’re at this absurd moment is because the seeds were set early in Theresa May’s premiership; In her initial feckless attitude towards Brexit, in her so-called ‘red lines’ (which she has now crossed every one of them, so why did she bother?) and in her weakness to a) stand up to members of her own cabinet, and b) to stand up for the UK’s position in Brussels with anything more than supplication and kowtowing.

Assigning ‘collective responsibility’ and ‘collective failure’ on a House of Commons that (practically) had to pull her teeth to gain even tiny bits of news about how the Brexit negotiations were unfolding is a bit rich, Prime Minister!


12-Days From Brexit Day

Europe is now 12-days away from Brexit and nobody, not one person in Europe, knows what’s happening!

The automatic and legally binding default is a No Deal Brexit — as that’s the law in the United Kingdom and in the European Union — as both accepted the final Brexit date as March 29, 2019 early in the discussions.

But if Theresa May is simply ‘going through the motions’ and running down the clock to get to a No Deal Brexit on March 29th she’s still got my vote.

Because, frankly, that’s what The People voted for in the June 23, 2016 referendum, and the referendum result was strengthened by the June 8, 2017 UK General Election where every party that won seats in that election were parties that supported Brexit.

At that time we weren’t talking about Withdrawal Agreements or Political Declarations as Theresa May hadn’t yet begun to confuse everyone with her ‘red lines’, with complicated withdrawal documents, with a plethora of Cabinet-level firings, resignations and hirings, complete with mixed messages between her and her still-employed Cabinet officials, between her and her caucus, between her and the EU and EC Presidents, and between her and the UK public.


Communications Breakdown!

I think I see where the problem is. Prime Minister Theresa May has a communications problem.

That’s fine. New Prime Ministers and new Presidents can sometimes have that problem. But it’s important to rectify it before it blows up the country, blows up Brexit, or even blows up the Conservative Party’s chances of governing ever again.

While she’s done a great job on the economy, on government services, and not too bad on foreign affairs (Brexit aside) nobody knows about that information, anywhere! Even people who work for the government might not know that. It’s a well-kept secret. And that’s the number one sign of a communications problem.

The second sign of a communications problem (in this case) is the present Brexit situation which is looking more a debacle each passing day. Even if the UK does exit on March 29th as promised and as required by UK law, she’ll still receive only half the credit she would for accomplishing that goal on account of the bad optics. Not to mention her remaining challenges.

If Theresa May is in charge of her own communications department she needs to fire herself fast — and if she actually pays someone to keep all her good accomplishments quiet and make her look as inept and as timorous as possible in her dealings with the EU, she needs to fire that person, fast.


The ‘Patriotic Thing’ List for Theresa May

  1. Always own your successes and always own your failures. Don’t try to fob your failures off on MP’s. You created the Brexit situation as it stands, you are the one in charge, it’s yours, own it. Like U.S. President Harry Truman said: “The buck stops here.” And every world leader must live by that rule. Yes, it can be unfair sometimes, but that’s life, and nobody ever said life was fair. It’s why you get paid the big bucks, and nobody forced you into the Prime Minister’s chair. Deal with it.
  2. Hire a communications director. You need help. He or she won’t be able to cover bad policy decisions that you make, but at least they can minimize them, and they can help you keep MP’s better informed all the way along a process so it doesn’t look like you F’d it up partway through and you’re now trying to dump the whole mess on them and make it look like it’s their fault.
  3. Keep your promises, no matter how hard that is to do. You said a million times that Brexit will be completed by March 29, 2019, therefore (too late to change now!) you must keep your promise. The UK must Brexit on March 29th, without fail, or you and your party are toast at the next election. And maybe the one after that.
  4. Even if the UK leaves without a Withdrawal Agreement, Britain will save £39 billion and it will become instantly eligible to sign Free Trade Deals with other countries; Two major benefits right there! And the EU will come calling, of that you can be certain. They need to sell all those BMW’s and Volkswagens into the UK, and a whole lot more than that. Within days and on an à la carte basis, every part of the present draft Withdrawal Agreement will be signed between the UK and the EU, but only because it’s in the best interests of both parties. It will happen organically. Don’t sweat it.
  5. Threatening to cancel Brexit or delaying Brexit, or adding one or two years to the Withdrawal Agreement negotiating process only works to make you look small. It will make you look like you’re not big enough to handle the job and it makes the UK look like a teenager who says he wants to move out of Mom and Dad’s house, yet becomes afraid and then reneges on his pledge. Cancelling Brexit or delaying Brexit for any reason means that you’re not up to the job and that you need to be replaced. Real leaders get things done, while pretenders need more time, more time, more time — until the whole issue goes away and it never gets done. That’s the kind of thing we see in Frontier economies, not in the Top 10 global economies.
  6. Stop acting like the UK is the 120th-largest economy on Earth. The UK is the 6th-largest economy in the world and every country wants to trade with it. The UK needn’t kowtow to any country. It’s time to embrace the world, and it’s time to re-energize our relationship with the Commonwealth countries.

Brexit… Prime Minister May, is not a problem to be managed, it’s an opportunity.

“Two men look out through the same bars; One sees mud, the other, stars.” Frederick Langbridge