As part of the manifesto of our current Government which led to their election just over a year ago the claim was “Our deal is the only one on the table. It is signed, sealed and ready. It puts the whole country on a path to a new free trade agreement with the EU.” That has clearly not yet arrived and indeed last Thursday it was reported that our current Prime Minister who was also the author of the manifesto spoke to his so-called top Ministers and ordered them to “get on and make those preparations” for a no-deal outcome from deadlocked trade negotiations. He was equally clear in that manifesto that
We must move on. No more renegotiations. No more referendums. Every week is costing us.
And of all of those four phrases we can be clear that only one has remained unchanged. We have not moved on, there has been constant negotiations which have not reached a deal and the costs which so far have risen throughout the year, will grow exponentially if the deal is not made. Last week on the Radio, Dominic Raab was asked what the increased cost of food would be and he admitted it will impact us. So the only item in those four phrases on the top of the Brexit page that has not been considered is another referendum. While our nation can clearly see that the Government is unable to deliver what it claimed to achieve a year ago, the current Government is not willing to reconsider what our views are. There have been a significant number of changes in views or behaviour from many high-profile people who were clearly committed to our departure from the EU back in 2016. The reversal of views from Dominic Cummings was not Brexit related but his COVID U turns led him to get sacked from Downing Street. The departure from the UK by people like Jim Ratcliffe and James Dyson taking their homes and their businesses away from our nation, after they had campaigned for our nation to move out of the EU is another example. Indeed, in the case of Jim Ratcliffe he has moved one of his businesses and his home to locations that are both part of the EU geography. So given that these people have publicly demonstrated that they have changed the views over the last four and a half years, it seems perfectly reasonable that some of the rest of our nation may also have done so and so a referendum before we depart from the EU with a years delay to that departure now seems to make a great deal of sense to all of us.
As long ago as last Monday which as Harold Wilson reflected 54 years ago was a long time in Politics there was a debate about the UK-EU Future Relationship Negotiations and Transition Period. The current Paymaster General and North Portsmouth MP, Penny Mordaunt stated
“While an agreement is preferable, we are prepared to leave on so-called Australian-style terms if we cannot find compromises. As the Prime Minister has made clear, people and businesses must prepare for the changes that are coming on 31 December, most of which are related to our departure from the EU single market and customs union, and not the outcome of these talks.”
Which demonstrates how little Ministers like Penny understand. The number of requests over the last few weeks directed towards Sussex based businesses from the public sector for us to try to explain what our plans will be from the 1st January leaves us wanting to raise our voices or ignore these requests as we have no grasp of what is about to happen. As Caroline Lucas expressed a few minutes after Penny
“Does the Minister see the irony of UK negotiators trying to persuade our EU counterparts of our good faith when it comes to compliance with the rules of any new trade deal at exactly the time that the Prime Minister is today asking Parliament to vote to break international law by ripping up rules that were agreed barely a year ago?“
Another Sussex MP, Andrew Griffith from Arundel and South Downs spoke last Wednesday on that days changes to the EU Withdrawal agreement and stated
“today’s welcome announcement is the perfect combination of principle and pragmatism—an approach to the negotiations that our businessmen take every day, which will serve them well as we embrace the future”
Whether we get a willingness for a referendum or a cancellation of our departure, both of those variants would become a massive improvement to our current state of play and neither would be any more contentious than a departure from the EU without a deal that was promised to us as a certainty a year ago!