Every so often issues can emerge in parallel that may be very different but give us the opportunity to learn from one another, the comparison is only fleeting but it can work. In the last few days we have seen news of a couple who used to be called the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who the Canadian Government now refuses to offer any special protection. The pair left the Royal Family formally, even though Harry and Meghan will always be the son and daughter-in-law of his parents. Their arrangements are changing dramatically and many aspects of their previous roles are ending. Some people have been very critical of their departure and the way they have handled it and others have been supportive and have defended them. There are clearly some parallels between the way in which they are separating from their Royal role and the way our Government is separating us from the European Union, even though as several people within the Government and outside of it have pointed out, we are leaving the European Union but not Europe itself. These people have also claimed that we will get the best of both worlds from Brexit. However whilst the challenges for Harry and Meghan are beginning to emerge from places like Canada, some of the challenges we are now facing are coming out from some of the people who have been very supportive of our departure. We have heard from Iain Duncan Smith who even used to lead their party and who in the past claimed our departure was very good for our nation and its delay had been caused very irritatingly by people opposed to it. At the point at which our departure from the EU and its trade agreement is needing to be resolved within the next 16 weeks he says “there are problems ahead for the UK, one of them is the quality of the people now working on this”. His comment has arisen after nearly 4 years or 190 weeks of his and his colleague’s preparation for our departure!
Clearly a four year preparation by a massive group of very powerful people who have been running our nation for 10 years is very different to a 6 week response by a couple who have many privileges but who have only been formally together for 21 months and are much younger than most of the Tory Party members. They have of course been supported by many people around them, but had 15 people who worked for them who have all lost their jobs, while our Prime Minister alone has 40 special advisers, a number of civil servants work for the No 10 and Cabinet Office and he is only one of around 100 Ministers with 60 more special advisers between them and there are nearly 414,000 Civil Servants who are still working for our nation. Along with the comments from Iain Duncan Smith we have had some recent ones from Michael Gove, who although not someone who has ever led the party, did get close to that on a few occasions. He was speaking last week about our departure from the EU and claimed amongst other things that “the Chancellor of the Exchequer will say more about how we can supercharge every part of our economy when he delivers the Budget statement on 11 March” and “because we are seeking relationships for which there is already a precedent between the EU and other countries it should be possible to make rapid progress.” Which is a bit like Harry and Meghan coming to people who the Queen and Prince Charles have a formal connection with and saying that although they are no longer the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, could they be treated the same as if they were so that they can be protected and have benefits and roles to play.
Of course along with Gove and Johnson there are many other MPs who are making claims or comments as we reach the edge of our departure lounge and are about to be forced to walk outside of it. Andrew Griffith is the MP for Arundel and South Downs and last Wednesday took part in a discussion under the heading of Government Support for Business. He stated he was on the boards of Sky and Just Eat and recently visited America with British-based space businesses. He said that our nation is about to be “liberated from the chains and anchors of a protectionist trading bloc that has often poorly served the entrepreneurial and fast-growing nature of the businesses with which the United Kingdom is blessed.” Now of course he knows many people I don’t, but most of the entrepreneurs and businesses I know don’t want us to leave and have benefited enormously from our EU membership.