In the muddle and chaos currently taking place in the House of Commons, mostly caused by Politicians but added to by people removing their clothes and water leaks it is sometimes difficult to find elements worthy of endorsement. However just over a week ago Nicholas Soames made a speech on the theme of our departure from the European Union which I found helpful “All of us know that many of our constituents are understandably extremely angry that Brexit has so distracted the Government from the serious issues we face—the NHS, education, crime, the reform of social care, housing, the environment and climate change, and all the other great issues that have inevitably had to be neglected as Brexit has gradually sucked the life blood out of the Government. As you very well know, Mr Speaker, the public believe that we have collectively let them down badly, and this is leading inevitably and very seriously to the fraying of the bonds between Parliament and the nation. The national interest clearly dictates that we have to get this done and that we must get on with the vital work of establishing our future relationships with our most important economic partners and allies.”
It is certainly true that our society has been heavily impacted by the Governments distractions and failures to deal with so many of these issues. One could add to this list of factors the impact on businesses which as Nicholas’s Party keeps explaining, provide the basis for our economy which then feeds the work of the public sector and also the voluntary sector. The voluntary sector also benefits from some businesses and from individuals as well as funding from the Government. However many parts of their sector act as dynamic gap fillers when it comes to needs which emerge from within society before in due course the Government sets out to either formalise the support that has been identified by the sector or deal with the causes so the voluntary sector is arguably the most vulnerable outside of the lives of the people impacted by the matters outlined by Sir Nicholas and businesses are a vital element that also needs consideration by Politicians.
I have heard one or two business voices consistently speaking out in favour of our departure from the EU and even embracing the concept of a No Deal Brexit, but Dyson and Weatherspoon are relatively disconnected from the rest of the businesses which I meet with and that are certainly keen to get a stable set of arrangements and in many cases do not want us to depart at all or if they are willing to do so, demand a high quality relationship with the EU. A few days ago I met with a business that is usually reasonably busy at this time of year providing services for other businesses and organisations to hold large scale events. However the events that would usually be held at this time of year have been delayed by a few months specifically because of the uncertainty of Brexit. This delay creates a major challenge as not only will the business lack income now, but in a few months time they will be impacted by twice as much work as they have the capacity to provide. Even Tim Martin who heads up Weatherspoon and promotes a No Deal Brexit is facing a 19% reduction in the profits of his Company!
The same day that Nicholas made the speech quoted above, several other Sussex MPs took part in the same discussions. Two contributions appear to be in conflict. Henry Smith stated “is it not within the Prime Minister’s power to now deliver Brexit? The message that I clearly get from my constituents is that they want that now achieved.” Which is at odds with nearly 7,000 of his constituents who as Henry spoke were signing a petition to revoke Article 50. The other MP who made a statement has nearly 30,000 constituents who signed the same petition. Caroline Lucas asked “Why is the Prime Minister incapable of accepting the principle that democracy is a process, not a single, one-off event? For nearly three years, opinion poll after opinion poll has shown that people do want to have a final say on whatever deal comes out of this place.”
It seems that this petition along with Caroline’s comment explains how people right across Sussex and beyond do want to be heard, and many are being ignored by MPs like Henry. We clearly need a plan that goes beyond the end of June and given the set of fresh MEP elections that are now scheduled, the plan needs to cover a much more meaningful period than a month or two!