Image1Martyn Richard Jones

Düsseldorf, Germany – 2nd August 2017

Last year I was asked if I would contemplate taking on the management of Brexit. It was a hypothetical question. No one is actually going to offer me the job. I had no qualms in stating that, given the complexity, uncertainties, risks and costs, I would hope that I would have the good sense to turn down such an offer. With the recommendation to the client that they should not to undertake such a reckless, costly and strategically stupid project.

So, that’s my going-in position. As other strategists will have picked up on.

There are many aspects of complexity surrounding Brexit, and the more we advance along the road to ‘running away from the Europe Union’, the more complexities we dig up.

First there is the necessarily complex nature of European Union law. It’s not just a question of incorporating EU laws into UK law, as EU laws will have control mechanisms, institutional interfaces and references to legally-binding foundational-documents and agreements that are specific to the European Union and to its 28 member states.

EU laws are regulated through both the institutions of the EU and the member states.

So, what do we pretend to do?

Do we want to be outside of the EU, still have EU laws on our law books, with all that that entails, and continue to use their institutions?

I don’t think so, Sir.

The remaining states are already vying to become the home for European Union institutions currently located in the UK.

What did we really expect?

There are more than four decades of common community law to sort through. It’s a massive task in its own right, the likes of which we have never seen or experienced before. We don’t currently even have the right quantities of skills, knowledge and experience to take it on. Simply stated, it could take decades of intense and detailed work in order for all of this to be unwound, and there are no guarantees that the outcome will be satisfactory.

It’s a million cans of worms at the bottom of a pit of venomous snakes.

The trouble is that the lunatic and leaderless right-wing Tory government still does not have the courage to admit that Brexit is very complex, so complex indeed that they may not be even remotely well-equipped to deliver anything like a limited-damage divorce from the European Union. Their lack of any coherent, cohesive and appropriate strategies, policies and plans is just indicative of their clueless, useless and hopeless position. Their lack of sufficient honesty, realism and competence is very troubling.

It’s not good.

The Polish-American diplomat and political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski once opined that “We don’t have a public that really understands the world anymore, and in the age of complexity, that problem becomes much more difficult.” Maybe he was right

My view is that if we analyse, think and act, we do have a chance to redeem ourselves.

PM May can become a game changer. If she so chooses. She can declare that Brexit presents an unacceptably high risk to national interests, one that no party or government should willingly assume. She could then either shelve Brexit, or ask the country to think again. Either way, no Brexit is better than any Brexit.

View it this way.

If a sovereign people can decide in a referendum to leave the EU – by a reasonable minority of all those entitled to vote – it follows that we must be able to change our minds once the vastly-negative repercussions of that choice have become clear. It is also incumbent upon the leaders of all parties to tell the truth, to play it straight with the electorate and to put country before party, and before any grubby and self-interested political expediency.

Let’s see if Mrs May and her cohorts will do the right thing, right. Or will they indeed insist on turning any chance of a relatively benign one nation conservatism into a party of ‘no nation, no clues, no hopes’ mega-nasty reactionary no-surrender Toryism.

The ball is in her court. Can she lift her game? Does she have the courage to call another general election? Does she know right from wrong?

Many thanks for reading.

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