Brexit & Aviation 104

The more I write these short Blogs, the more I talk about the subject, the more I’m no longer surprised that the complexity of the changes that are underway are not in the public mind.   Issues that I consider to be of great magnitude and changes of real concern are more for the specialist.   The detail of how the aviation system works is indeed specialist knowledge.

As an airline passenger, getting on a flight, we all take for granted a huge number of complicated interacting systems that we expect to work without us needing to understand how they work.  Just like when I pick-up my iPhone.  Even as a professional engineer, I only have a superficially knowledge of how my iPhone does what it does, but I do expect it to work every time.

So, how do we have any kind of discussion about good, bad or indifferent impacts of Brexit when we skit over the detail?  The answer is that we need to trust someone.  Trust a person to tell the truth, as best they know, about the potential impacts of Brexit.  Now if you have a list of different types of people and you ask: “tell me if you generally trust them to tell the truth, or not?” the results do stand up well for the specialist.  Being and Engineer, I’m heartened to see that “Engineers” are right up in the rankings[1].  Government Ministers and politicians are right at the bottom of the rankings.

So, why do so many people appear to believe politicians when they dismiss professional views on the impact of Brexit?  So called “Project Fear” is often quoted.  This seems counter to the evidence.   Or is it that what we may think is happening isn’t happening at all.  Maybe Government Ministers and politicians are not believed at all when dismissing professional views.  In fact, a big delusion exists.

Let’s put that to one side and look at where we are.  Now just into the new month we are days away from the European Union (EU) summit planned for 17 – 18 October.  UK law requires the UK Government to ask for a further extension to the existing deadline of 31 October.  The “Benn” law does not stop the extension request being submitted before the summit, but the expectation is that a request will be made after the summit.  Much depends on the results of the EU summit (European Council meeting).

Before the above the UK Government will hold a Queen’s Speech on Monday, 14 October.  This Queen’s Speech may be important in the sense that it could set out the next steps.  It’s strange in many ways given that the Government has no working majority.  The Queen’s Speech debate in Parliament on 15-17 and 21-22 October will be a sham.

Meanwhile, the UK Parliament’s Brexit Select Committee hasn’t met since before Prime Minister Johnson prorogued the UK Parliament in September.  So, is anyone looking at the detailed lawmaking that’s going on at the moment?

Let me be rash and speculate.  Looking 9 months ahead.  I think the European Council will make progress, but it will not resolve Brexit and UK will ask for an extension and it will be granted.  To apply leverage the UK Government will threaten to be uncooperative or at least an unhelpful Member State during the new extension period.  Politically, blame will be flying all over the place, but it will be so scattered that much of it will not stick in one place for long.

The new deadline will be the 4th anniversary of the 2016 referendum and will fall in June 2020.  Thus, there’s a high probability of a May 2020 UK General Election.  In many places, coincident with the UK local elections.  That’s where the new deal, of whatever shape and form it takes, will be out there in front of the British electorate.  By then the 27 EU Member States would have already agreed to it in principle.

[1] https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/2018-11/veracity_index_2018_v1_161118_public.pdf

 

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