Aviation & Brexit 90

Minister Michael Gove says the UK Government is “working on the assumption” that the United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union (EU) without a deal on Thursday, 31 October 2019.  A huge No-Deal Brexit public information campaign is on the way.  This doesn’t much change the facts on the ground, but it does put a bright red flag up to the whole Country and beyond.  There are denials that a UK General Election is on the way.  At the same time the new UK Government appears to be on an election footing.  Now, the architects of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum hold power in the UK.  It’s reasonable to ask; how on earth did we get to this point?

If you didn’t see the BBC documentary on the Brexit Crisis[1], I can thoroughly recommend it.  You can watch it on the BBC iPlayer.  It objectively tells the story of the Brexit negotiations, from behind the scenes on both sides.  The programme is not about aviation but that subject, just like 101 others is caught up in the incomprehensible political maelstrom that is Brexit.

As I write here, opinion polls give the new UK Government a slight bounce.  Those who say; “let’s just get it over with”, do seem to be getting a degree of support.  However, this feeling people may have, is very far from reality.  Those who think that a No Deal Brexit would at least be a way of moving on are wrong in every possible way.  It just means that after the 31 October there will be the beginning of a whole new round of painful negotiation and general frustration.

For a moment then I’ll assume the new British Prime Minister (PM) pushes through all the opposition to deliver a No Deal Brexit.  By any international measure this will be an indication of failure that other nations will observer and draw appropriate conclusions.  Putting aside domestic considerations, it’s irrelevant who may or may not be to blame for such an outcome.  It’s a failure.

In that international context; how long will it take for the UK and EU to come back to a close, cordial and stable relationship?  Initially, temporary measures, continuing uncertainty and periodic instability will undoubtedly prevail.  Using the past as an indicator, I will estimate at least a decade of competition, division and turmoil are likely.  That takes us up to 2030.

Certainly, by that time a great number of the people who voted to Leave the EU in 2016 will no longer be with us.  In fact, most people will have forgotten what all the fuss was about.  Much as few people can describe Suez, the humble pie and the bill[2].  But there will be humble pie and a bill.

If Brexit happens, in the coming decade, I am sure Scotland will become an independent nation.  The future of Ireland is less easy to predict.  The pound sterling will decline further as we sell more of the family silver.  UK’s ability to act on the global stage will be more dependent upon America.

This week, the new British PM talked of sunny uplands that would make Britain the best place in the world by 2050.   That’s an aspiration we can all share but the direction we are going in isn’t the one that will deliver success.   How long will it be before the new PM echoes one of his predecessors of 60 years ago and says: “You’ve never has it so good[3]”.

Personally, I hope I’m not writing these blogs in my 90s.  Still, you never know.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0006wj2/panorama-britains-brexit-crisis

[2] 1959 and The Anglo-Egyptian agreement

[3] UK Prime Minister MacMillan in the 1960s

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