First of all – what’s going on at the moment?
It’s hardly a secret that Brexit is a MESS of an issue that the Tories aren’t agreeing on. Despite ol’ Theresa’s repeated claim of “Brexit means Brexit” and how we’re leaving the EU like it’s just cheated on us and we’re about to slash its tyres and leave in the night – this doesn’t seem to be the case.
The Conservative Party is made up of both Remainers and Leavers, and even though the government is promising to deliver on Brexit, not everyone is in agreement. Beeeef.
Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer (so the guy who’s in charge of all the financial stuff) and a remain voter, pissed some people off when he suggested that the UK could continue free trade with the EU for four years after Brexit. Kind of like when you’re trying to break up with someone and they’re in denial like, “we can still be friends, right?”
Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary and strong Leave voter, was like the best friend who’s there telling you to delete his number. He was all “er, no. We’re done. We are never, ever, ever getting back together.” He said that any kind of transition period would have to end before 2022 when the next general election happens.
In an attempt to end all the beef, Phillip’s now putting it all behind him to show that ‘strong and stable’ vibe that Theresa kept banging on about. Him and Liam have reached an agreement to say that there’s going to be a ‘transition period’ before Brexit actually happens, but it won’t be the four year sesh that Hammond was hoping for.
Right now, it’s scheduled to happen in March 2019, but Hammond and Fox (God, that sounds like a really shit comedy sketch show about having too much money, doesn’t it?) have said that it’s not going to be a “back door to the EU” and that freedom of movement between the EU and the UK will end in 2019. We’ll be pulling out of the single market and the customs union ASAP. Ooft. Heavy.
However, even though a lot the EU citizens living here are gonna be screwed, the Irish ones will be better off, as there’s talks of free movement between Britain and Ireland continuing with a Schengen-style agreement. (The Schengen Area is an area of 28 EU countries, where you can travel freely through them without a passport, just a national ID.)
So how would there be a second referendum?
Could all this talk of postponing Brexit and entering into ‘transition periods’ really just be a way of saying ‘this is all a complete fucking mess and sooner or later, everyone’s going to become fed up with it’? Maybe.
Yesterday, David Milliband (Ed’s brother, and former Secretary of State) wrote a scathing article in The Observer about how Brexit is ‘economic self harm’ and how it needs to be stopped. He said:
The EU is not just a group of neighbouring countries. It is a coalition of democratic states which pledge to advance human rights, the rule of law and democratic rules. That is not a threat to Britain; it is the team we should be in.
Oh, snap. And he’s not alone.
Vince Cable, who is soon tipped to be the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, also chimed in. The Lib Dems have always been against Brexit, and holding a second referendum was part of their manifesto in this years’ General Election – which obviously didn’t go down too well.
Vince ain’t playin’, though – he knows nobody wanted a second referendum, and right now people still don’t. But he reckons that in a couple of years, when we’ve finally been able to negotiate something of the mess that is Brexit, the public or the parliament should be able to vote knowing the consequences.
Lord Hesseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister who recently got fired for his strong opinions on Brexit, recently told Business Insider:
“A small window has opened up. The likely evolution of the next couple of years: Public opinion will become disenchanted and Parliament may not be prepared to support Brexit. These are very difficult predictions and I don’t give any degree of certainty to them, but I do detect that opinion is moving.
People who were certain are now talking about a growing period of transition. A concluded agreement with a transitional arrangement would leave the thing for grabs in a general election campaign. [It would give Remainers] the opportunity to change the agenda… It would present the option to turn the transition into permanent.”
If the negotiations continue to be a complete mess, or if the government decides to go with a hard Brexit, then this could urge people to protest in the next General Election.
What should happen is that the government should draw up plans for a ‘soft Brexit’ and a ‘hard Brexit’, with details on how this will affect different industries and trades, and the socio-economic implications, and then Parliament or the public should be able to vote on this. *Sips tea* but I ain’t Prime Minister, so I guess that’s not my business…
The trouble with the Brexit vote last year was that people were pretty much voting blindly, with a lot of Leave voters doing it purely out of a vague sense of nationalism. There was far too much of a “they’re comin’ over ‘ere and takin’ our jobs” vibes about the vote, rather than “this is what’s actually going to happen if I vote in this way”, because, well, nobody DID know what was going to happen. And we still don’t.
Will we enter into a hard Brexit? Will we ever actually leave the EU? Stay tuned! xo