Martyn Richard Jones
Dublin, 10th September 2016
Theresa May, as Prime Minister of Her Majesty’s Government, has overall responsibility for organising the United Kingdom’s retreat from the European Union.
But, Theresa May has a problem, she doesn’t appear to have a detailed plan for Brexit, at all.
When it comes to strategies and significant challenges, it’s bad enough not having a Plan B, but when the Plan A is simply virtual-weirdness, gesturing and platitudes, it’s a serious problem.
Okay, sound planning is good sense, and in order to have a coherent, cohesive and realisable plan it is first necessary to know what one wants to achieve (yes, even in terms of quality); how much one is willing to pay; and, what levels of risk one is willing to assume. All obvious good-sense stuff, right?
With that in place, we can then proceed to the more detailed picture of the Five Ws and One H (what, who, when, where, why and how). Which in the case of Brexit appears to have been:
What? Take back control. Stop paying money to maintain faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. New and tighter border controls.
Who? Us against the faceless Brussel’s bureaucrats, the European Courts and the billions of immigrants we don’t want.
When? Forty years ago.
Where? Fortress Britain! England, Sunderland or Pontypridd. Anywhere but Brussels.
Why? Take back control. Stop immigrants that we don’t like and don’t want from “coming over here” and doing stuff. Political correctness gone mad. Fog in Channel; Continent Cut Off.
How? By getting out of the EU. By keeping foreigners we don’t want on the other side of the border. By removing every last bit of politically correct EU nonsense from the law books.
When it comes to planning, this is not the most ideal of places to start from.
It doesn’t address the fundamental questions such as:
What do we want the UK to look like after Brexit has been completed? Where’s the vision?
What does Brexit mean and what form should it take?
What type of trade, political and cultural alliances do we wish to have?
What are the major risks inherent in each of the Brexit options?
What economic models do we need to build in order to analyse the potential economic impact of our decisions? How can we test our hypotheses? How can we impose the rule that causation must accompany correlation?
How can we hedge against the inherent risks in our decisions?
What laws do we want to keep; what laws can we keep; and, what laws do we revoke or modify, now or later?
Where is the detailed and costed plans for achieving all of this and more?
But one of the things that struck me the most about the whole referendum affair is the absolute lack of inquisitiveness shown by the entire band of Brexiteers, whether in or around the Houses of Parliament, the Pàrlamaid na h-Alba, Stormont or the Senedd.
Did none of the Brexiteers think of asking, before the referendum, what plans the government had in case of the vote going Brexit’s way?
Weren’t the Brexiteers even just a tiny bit curious about what form Brexit would actually take; what it would involve; what it would cost; what risks were involved; and, how long it would take?
I voted remain, so my side’s plan was very clear. Business as usual. But this lack of oversight by a large part of the electorate really speaks volumes for the likely motivations of those who voted to run away.
Having no Plan B is bad, having no Plan A is unforgiveable. As it is, the only person who had a clear Brexit strategy wasn’t even in Westminster. It was Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP. Go figure.
Finally, my worst case management leadership scenario sees lions being led by donkeys. Brexit is an absolute disaster. It is donkeys being led by donkeys.
Many thanks for reading.