I knew they’d make a mess of this. I just didn’t anticipate quite how much of a mess.
As of today, there are twenty-six days to go until the UK leaves the EU. With a deal? Without a deal? Nobody knows. With things staying mostly the same? Crashing out with tailbacks at ports, shortages, and chaos? Nobody knows. What happens about Northern Ireland? Nobody knows, and, at least on this side of the Irish Sea, nobody seems to care.
I wouldn’t leave booking accommodation for a holiday this late. In fact, I haven’t: my next holiday is better organised than Theresa May’s Brexit Fiasco. And at least if I hadn’t sorted out anything, and couldn’t sort it out at the last minute, I’d have the fallback option of just not going to the airport. There’s no Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement in this case. There’s no status quo.
Maybe the deal will pass parliament this time, on 12 March. In that case, we’ll know what’s happening with seventeen days to go. Or maybe it won’t, in which case, it seems likely that an extension will be sought. That requires the agreement of the European Council, whose next meeting (and last before 29 March) takes place on 21 and 22 March. In that case, we won’t know what’s happening until one week before the deadline.
One week! How can anyone plan in this environment?
And it’s not over on 29 March, or 1 July, or whenever a deal does or doesn’t happen, because after that, there follow years and years of negotiations to determine what happens next. Who decides? Will it be Theresa May, who’s never seen a sector of the economy she wouldn’t willingly destroy in order to prevent foreigners from coming here? Or will it be whatever reactionary can get past the membership of the Conservative Party?
In any case, it’s going to mean years of disinvestment and lost investment amidst the uncertainty, and a political system distracted from and unable to address the real problems of poverty, pollution, housing, climate.
It’s a shambles.