Well where to begin. It certainly has been an exciting week. Tottenham have finally moved into their new stadium. Harry and Meghan have broken a record by reaching one million followers on their newly launched Instagram account. New adverts have been released for the last series of Game of Thrones. Oh and Parliament has continued to talk about Brexit.
Yes, the B word. Now if your mood is anything like ours it would be fair to say you are probably suffering from Brexit fatigue. And we are the political nerds. The bad news is there does not appear to be an immediate end in sight. Researcher Mike Hough looks at what the future may hold and whether there will ever be a time when we do not talk about Brexit.
WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING
The best we can probably say is [Add strong insight here.] Of course I’m kidding but this does rather sum up where we are at with Brexit. Parliament has continued to clarify what they don’t want without expressly saying what they do want. No to No Deal, No to revocation, No to the PM’s deal, No to a customs union, No to a second referendum. Some more resounding than others.
In an attempt to break the deadlock the Prime Minister this week invited Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for talks. To say this has gone down badly with Tory backbenchers is an understatement. The brave loyal band of ERGers have been sharpening their knives. Ministers have resigned. Yet the world has not come to an end. Of course, conversations may fail to bear fruit. Despite the reaction what our politicians should know is that the public actually like our politicians working together. With a 52:48 result, compromise was always a necessity rather than a luxury.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Initially, more talks. And then probably some more talks. Likely followed by even more posturing. Both sides competing to use the most ridiculous and unhelpful language. However, at some stage Parliament will have to make a decision. In a Bill passed in just one day on Thursday in the Commons, Parliament ordered the PM to seek a further extension. But then what? All competing sides in the UK political sphere will have to compromise. Yes the dirty C word again. This compromise could look like a softer Brexit (whatever that means), a confirmatory referendum or a combination of both.
We have a tendency to forget one fairly important player in this debate. The EU. Any request for a further extension will have to be agreed by the EU. The Prime Minister has requested an extension until 30th June yet the EU appears to favour a longer extension. All will be decided at a special EU summit next week. Power is in their hands. Which given Parliament’s inability to reach a decision may be viewed as a relief by those on the remain side.
HOW IT ENDS?
You will be glad to know I have conducted detailed market research on this question. Thus rendering any future democratic exercise meaningless. I jest, but I did ask the office. Whilst there are currently 19 different options on our sweepstake of wild predictions the consensus view was that the UK will most likely face a long extension. In this extension period we consider it likely there will be a further democratic exercise; a General Election or a confirmatory referendum. In this period we will also probably have a new Prime Minister.
But this is just a guess (hopefully an educated one!). In reality, your guess is as good as ours. No situation is simple here and all come with challenges. No-one on either side of this debate is likely to end up satisfied. Our office Brexiteer and People’s Voter are united in horror (if not on much else!). This whole situation has not been handled well and questions have to be asked about all parts of the process. The 20:20 hindsight of commentators wise after the event is already creeping in.
SHALL WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE?
Whilst all this is ongoing we shouldn’t forget there are other issues of political significance. The Gender Pay Gap (read our latest blog here), schools funding, the NHS and an ageing population, the regeneration of our most deprived towns and cities, the police and knife-crime. These are really serious issues and they are not getting the airtime they deserve. They should not be an after-thought to the Brexit conversation.
Anyway, let’s try to end on a positive note. There are good things happening as well. Happiness is at an all-time high. Technological and medical developments continue to astound. The sun is shining (at least some of the time!). Politics has engaged a greater number of young people. And despite the present discord in the words of the late Jo Cox MP, “there is far more that unites us than divides us”.
I know it doesn’t feel like it, but this won’t go on forever. We will move on. And yes, regardless of how this ends and what side of the argument you are on the future is bright. Well brightish!