I’ve tried to stay away from this subject, because you know, everyone is sick to the back teeth of it now, no matter how you voted. I do however have my helmet on as it’s almost lethal these days to have an opinion about anything on the internet these days.
We’re only 86 days away from Brexit and we’re absolutely no closer to any sort of outcome. There’s supposed to be a vote on PM May’s deal in a couple of weeks or so, but that looks dicey as well.
After studying the options available, I have deduced that at this current time, a no-deal Brexit is the most likely. I’ll try my best to explain why.
May’s vote will fail
She postponed the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal in December because it was clear it was going to lose by gargantuan amounts. She managed to unite a large part of the Conservative party and all other opposition parties in promising to vote down the deal, although for very different reasons depending on which party it was.
So, plan B was to do the usual and kick the can down the road further, weather the storm that decision would take a set a new date even closer to the March 29th deadline and hope that either the EU will open up negotiations again or hope that Parliament will cave at the last minute and vote the deal through.
But this isn’t going to work. The EU said almost immediately that any sort of renegotiation isn’t going to happen. She went to see them, and managed to come back with a watered down version of the text of the deal, which I’m guessing was the exact opposite of what she was hoping. In the meantime, MPs on all sides have continued to say that they still won’t vote for her deal. So, come mid-January we can fully expect her deal to be voted down. Eventually. She can’t kick it down the road again, can she?
No no-confidence vote
Whilst all that has been going on, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has come in for some flack in not going for the full fat no-confidence vote in the Commons after May delayed the vote. There’s no wonder why he didn’t though, as he knew he’d lose, and would lose now if he chose to launch one.
No matter how much the rest of the Conservative party hate May’s deal, there’s no way on Earth that without a true majority in Parliament they would vote their own Government down and risk a new General Election which they could lose. The DUP, again no matter how unhappy they might be, wouldn’t vote against a Government which has promised them healthy funding in return for votes in Parliament. They wouldn’t get that with any other party in charge, and they certainly wouldn’t vote a Government down if it meant losing their extra funding. All of this means Labour and Corbyn would lose a no-confidence vote. It would be close, but they would lose, and that would be the only chance in a long time they would have until it was time for a General Election in 2022.
No deadline extension
Some have mentioned that Article 50 could be extended to allow both sides more time to attempt to come to an agreement which could be sold to both sides. Of the options out there this one could have a chance of becoming a reality, however I think the PM would be loathed to do this as a lot of those people who voted to leave or just want us to get it over with would see this as either an extension of the uncertainty or a delaying of Brexit.
It is due to that uncertainty, which is bad for business and major purchasing decisions, that I believe this won’t happen. The Prime Minister at this point I think really just wants to get something over the line by March 29th one way or another and work on from there.
No Article 50 cancellation
In one of her many speeches before the end of the year, PM May threatened that there could be no Brexit at all. To do this, Article 50 would have to be withdrawn, something which the EU court has actually ruled to say could be done. However, this was more of a threat to all sides I think to get people talking again. She knows that if Article 50 was to be withdrawn she would face the wrath of her own party and many millions of voters. At the next election her party would be decimated. Not a chance she would risk that. The damage to the democratic process would be immense also. Well, at least from one side of the population’s point of view.
It’s also worth nothing that Jeremy Corbyn has been pretty anti-EU all his life. He’s the kind of character that doesn’t do big political and monetary machinery or conglomeration. He’s again since reiterated that he would continue to pursue leaving the EU should he win power any time soon. Any Remain supporting Labour voter shouldn’t count on him to keep the UK in the EU.
No second referendum
One of the alternative options that rears it’s head then goes away again is a second referendum. One with three answers, including the option to remain. Some load voices make the call for it, but the reality is that it physically won’t be able to happen. Government would have to spend time it doesn’t have to debate the idea and then vote on it. There aren’t enough MP’s in the House to win that vote. And if it the vote passed, the infrastructure required to carry out another major national vote before March 29th would be impossible to set up and would require extending Article 50, which we have established won’t happen either.
The Government knows that the potential damage another divisive referendum would do could break Britain and do major damage to the faith in our democratic system. A subject I want to tackle in another post in January so I won’t dwell on that point here.
Then there would be the chance of another slim margin of victory on either side. There is an argument that Leave could win again and by a bigger margin. There is an argument that Remain could win, laying the foundation to undo everything that has happened in the last two and a half years. The reality is that any margin of victory is likely to be slim again, which many could argue wouldn’t be able to reverse the original mandate to leave.
Add to this that should a reversal happen, the Conservatories would likely again be trashed at the next election. Which Government of any colour risk doing that to itself?
No Norway option
Or Canada for that matter. After the original vote was canned, Norway and Canada-style options were once again floated as alternatives. However it was pretty clear in the days after that these options wouldn’t be passed either. Again, all sides saying they wouldn’t vote for anything like that.
At this point, there lies very few alternatives. No alternative option. The vote is going to be lost. Neither side willing to give in. No chance of a change in UK government. No chance of a General Election. No appetite for a second referendum. So where do we look to now? No deal.
No-deal most likely
As it stands right now, I see a no-deal Brexit as the most likely outcome. All the other pathways lead to a dead end. MP’s proclaim they wouldn’t let a no-deal happen, but they haven’t really explained what Parliamentary infrastructure they could enact to prevent Brexit. So I’m not sure that they could. Right now we’re headed towards March 29th without a deal with the EU. Depending on your political persuasion you may see this as a good thing for the UK.
The Government dare not go back on Brexit. Cancelling it this close to leaving would do untold damage to the reputation of Parliament in this country. Millions would lose faith as they would see their votes as a total waste of time. I am going to write a post about how this whole process is damaging for both sides, UK and EU, and demonstrates that the current political infrastructure simply isn’t there if a country decides to go in a different direction. That’s for another day.
Consider this too. The Government is spending around £4bn very quickly now to prepare the UK for the potential fallout from leaving without arrangements in place. This is a lot of money to spend if they didn’t believe that no-deal wasn’t the most likely option now. This is a Government who has tried to balance the books for the past decade. Why would they willingly spend billions to see it potentially wasted? They wouldn’t, and that tells me that they now see no-deal as the most likely scenario.
I have a lot of content to write on this over the next couple of weeks, so if you’re trying to get away from Brexit related content then you might want to switch to another industry site for a bit.
We’re getting closer though, and Brexit, whether you believe it’s for good or for bad, will have impacts on the UK fenestration sector, and that it what I want to explore in the coming weeks.
Also, I will be looking for more MD’s and CEO’s to take part in my series of Brexit written interviews to get their take on the whole things. You can catch up on all the published interviews so far here:
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