What is needed more than anything else now is a good strategy for backing out of Brexit. It would be ironic if those who criticised the lack of planning for Brexit didn’t have a plan to get out of it. A road map to turn the ship of State around would help to give confidence to the world.
In the mix are legal niceties, political realities and social upsets but none are insurmountable.
The first of these, legal means, maybe the easiest. Since there’s so little written to explain what Article 50 intended in terms of detailed process and procedures then invention is possible. Add to that the fact that those who came up with the original words have expressed the view that the mechanism is reversible. So, when the moment is right it’s a simple matter for the negotiators to close the books and walk away from the table.
A second factor, the politics, is difficult but day-by-day the whole Brexit road trip is becoming more and more unpopular in the UK. For a politician worth their salt there must be the sense that, to be on the winning side, the time is right to move away from the hard liners. To be part of the future it’s time to start making those speeches that spell out what comes next. Not to be reactive and wait for an almighty crisis but to get out ahead and describe a better future.
On the third point, the social element, the shift could get complicated. There is no doubt there would be a degree of revolt orchestrated by the diehard supporters of Brexit. Even if a significant majority clearly show a wish to drop Brexit a powerful, monied and noisy group would kick out. Unfortunately, that means some conflict may be unavoidable but it would be short lived and sporadic in its nature.
Weighing up the costs and benefits of the above, I believe there’s a clear case to drop Brexit before more damage is done. The ways and means are not so complicated and are achievable over a couple of years. How to make all this move forward? The excepted wisdom of the moment is that a second referendum is needed to test the public mood. Equally, a General Election could be the trigger for the change. Alternatively, a realignment of the political parties may be another way to take this step.
Let’s see a confident Britain in Europe and in the rest of the world and do it now.