The simple phrase to “kick the can down the road” has been in use in political language for a long time. It means to put-off work on an important issue for a later date. When faced with an apparently insurmountable problem it’s just one of the tactics that can be used. Often the hope is that the passage of time will yield new solutions or change the environment sufficiently for an existing solution to become viable. Guess what? The longer the clock runs the more dangerous this short-term tactic becomes. If there’s a deadline looming for the delivery of a project or a hard and fast legal barrier sitting – immovable, then this is when the situation gets tense and the risks of complete failure escalate.
35 days on the clock. There’s now an expectation that Prime Minister May will ask for a 3-month extension to the Art 50 timings. This is an optimistic scenario but it’s the only practical way that legislation can be passed should a vote in Parliament given the Government a green light to proceed.
Brexit could be called off. The complete failure that the No Deal outcome represents will blow a massive hole in the political landscape of the UK Parliament and the whole Country. Will the PM take that risk? It’s difficult to tell. But it’s easy to tell that the UK is not prepared for an almighty crash out of the European Union (EU).
This week in aviation we have a reminder of the power and strength of European cooperation. After a farewell tour, the Tornado aircraft is set to retire from Royal Air Force (RAF) at the end of March. The aircraft was built as part of a consortium between the UK (BAE Systems), Germany (MBB) and Italy (Aeritalia). The Panavia Tornado was designed and produced by the industries of 3 European Countries, in one of the biggest, most challenging and successful multi-national aircraft programmes ever run.
It’s part of my history too. I remember working on cockpit equipment for the Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance) aircraft. That was in the 1980s. It was my first experience of working on a multi-national programme. Equipment designed in the UK was produced in Germany as part of the close working arrangement between two companies. Today, both of those companies are American owned but continue to operate at the same sites.
There is no doubt that we are stronger together in Europe when we work together. Brexit is a devastating blow to the successful history of European cooperation. It’s no-good saying that this is not an issue for the EU. That is to totally ignore the reality of the closer ties that are being forged in the EU. The European Defence Agency (EDA) supports its Member States in improving their defence capabilities through European cooperation. That will grow in strength.
 Collins Aerospace. Located in Heidelberg key capabilities: avionics for fighters and trainers; ground vehicle electronics; and space products.
 GE Aviation Systems (formerly Smiths Aerospace), Cheltenham.