Get On With It!

With Westminster in turmoil and the UK overstaying its welcome in the EU by the day since Brexit, there seems to be a strange agreement over when to trigger Article 50: No rush. While I can, to an extent, understand that the Tories want to get their own shit together and have a new PM in place before hitting the button, I absolutely do not understand why the Brexiters want to wait. It’s the “we have no plan” thing again, I guess.

The argument has been mainly revolving around this way of thinking: We are in no rush, because we can now dictate the terms of our exit. We would be in a better position for negotiations.

Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t think that is true at all. First, let’s have a look at what happened in just two weeks since the referendum to our economy:

  • Bank of England makes available immediately huge amount of funds to essentially preempt having to bail out our banks a bit down the line
  • Pound vs USD falls to record lows in 30 years, and keeps tumbling
  • Pound vs EUR is just cents away from reaching its record low since the EUR started trading
  • EUR vs USD on the other hand started crawling up again, today
  • A few major property funds suspend trading, because too many oversees investors want to pull out their money simultaneously and immediately
  • Financial times reports 700,000 job vacancies being withdrawn from job market
  • Major financial entities in the City eye up (and are actively being lobbied by) other European cities to relocate to (Just remember that London is the most important financial hub in Europe, for now, and employs shed loads of Europeans who pay stellar amounts of taxes in the UK)
  • Interest rate (at a record low of 0.5% already) expected to be cut to 0.25% later this summer, according to Reuters

In other words, an economy which is already under immense pressure cannot afford to sit and wait. How this would benefit Britain’s position in negotiations, is beyond me, but maybe an economist can explain that to me. All I do here is to apply my common sense.

For the argument that we can take our time and should negotiate before kicking off Article 50: Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard the news that many countries (and the EU) have dismissed the possibility to negotiate a bloody thing before hand. This also includes countries like Norway, which so many Brexiters aim to replicate.

You can have all sorts of fantastic ideas, but the truth is that you cannot make any concrete plans without talking through the options with other countries. A trade deal is not something that can be unilaterally decided on. So how is this going to happen if nobody wants to talk to Britain before Article 50 is on the way?

Now, to make matters worse, Britain is not allowed to negotiate with anybody as long as it’s part of the EU, no matter if the other country is inside the EU or outside (if the EU has a trade deal in place with them). To quote EU Trade Commissioner on BBC News:

Under EU law, the bloc cannot negotiate a separate trade deal with one of its own members, hence the commissioner’s insistence that the UK must first leave.

It is also against EU law for a member to negotiate its own trade deals with outsiders, which means the UK cannot start doing this until after it has left the EU.

So there you go. Britain is stuck in its status quo until it formally gives notice to the EU (invokes Article 50).

Meanwhile most EU countries are showing their frustration about Britain dragging its feet. Sure, the Brexiters may find that amusing. (Just like their fallen hero found this amusing.)
But if you want to negotiate favourable deals, this doesn’t help a tiny bit. Around 45% of British exports and more than 50% of British imports are done with EU countries. We cannot afford to piss them off.

So, please, even though I am very much against exiting the EU and believe the campaign was based on lies, and none of those responsible for this shit will be available to be held accountable for it… The people have decided. So get on with it! Trigger Article 50 ASAP. Sticking our collective heads in the sand and pretend it didn’t happen, won’t help. The world doesn’t stop turning, just because the wheels in Westminster are stuck.

 

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