Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The sound of ideology smashing into the wall of reality is echoing around Whitehall

The UK government has issued its latest Brexit White Paper. Well, some of it is white. Five of the 44 pages are completely blank. Another 5 only have blue rectangles. One wonders how much time was spent in deciding what shade of blue was used. It must have been light relief from the much more difficult task of thinking of words to include. Yet it does say something. It seems to recognise that Brexit will be much more difficult than teh Leavers thought, and many will be very disappointed. But it also shows that the UK government still has very little clue if how to proceed.
My take on it can be seen in my latest BMJ blog, which you can read here.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

So Theresa May has triggered Article 50. It didn't go down well. First, she called for talks on the UK's exit from the EU to proceed in parallel with those on a free trade deal. Clearly she hadn't been listening to what everyone else had been saying for months. It isn't going to happen, as Angela Merkel (and many others) quickly pointed out. Then she issued a veiled threat - be nice to us or we will stop co-operating on security. At a time when all European countries face a severe threat, this is not good timing. And her obvious disregard for the interests of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar greatly increases the likelihood that, in 10 years time, it will be England alone outside the EU.
Maybe we could be more reassured if we felt that the UK government had some plan for how to proceed. Sadly, as I noted in a recent blog for the BMJ, it is now all too apparent that it doesn't. Indeed, listening to the news today simply confirmed my suspicion. Those who support Brexit simply don't understand the EU and our relationship with it, something that has taken 40 years to develop and, by all accounts, will take 40 years to disentangle ourselves from.
Can the notification of Article 50 be revoked. Certainly our European partners think so. And for this we should be very grateful because, sometime in the next few years, the UK will hit the wall we call reality. And we may be very grateful for an escape from this insanity.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Brexit White Paper - or should it be Blank Paper

I've written a new blog on the Brexit White Paper on the BMJ website. You can read it here. As you will see, I was quite amazed that any government would have the audacity to produce such an appalling document and pass it off as a something as serious as a government White Paper. It adds almost nothing to Theresa May's Lancaster House speech, contains factual errors, and includes no serious analysis of the challenges ahead. It has all the realism of a 5 year old writing to Santa Claus.
Others have noted how, by reading the metadata on the HTML version, one can see that it was only finished at 4 am in the morning it was published. One feels that it may only have been started the evening before.
Those wanting to read more (and after reading the White Paper, anyone with even a passing interest in Brexit is likely to want much more) should also look at Steve Peer's excellent analysis here. There is also a great thread by on twitter by Schona Jolly, another perceptive observer of these things.