Can Brexit Be Saved With Only 8-Days Left?

In an historic referendum on June 23, 2016 a majority of British citizens voted to Leave the European Union, and the ruling Conservative Party of the United Kingdom agreed to carry out the will of The People. So far, so good.

Theresa May was then appointed by the Conservative Party to be “The Brexit Prime Minister” and both the Conservative Party and the new Prime Minister promised that they would carry out the will of The People.

But then, they didn’t.


8-Days to go Until the Official Brexit Date of March 29, 2019

To be fair, there are still 8-days to go until the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019 and the UK could still conceivably Leave the EU on time — thereby allowing Theresa May and her Conservative Party to keep their promise to The People. At least, that’s the theory.

So, it’s important to note here that The People didn’t vote for a Withdrawal Agreement, nor did they vote for a Political Declaration, nor did they vote for a Joint Instrument. The People voted to Brexit, they didn’t vote for fancy-schmantzy political documents that seem unbelievably important to bureaucrats and politicians, but which appear to be meaningless drivel to the severely normal citizens of the UK and the EU.

Therefore, the onus is on UK and EU politicians to get the job done that they were hired to do, and to not allow their political games (or their trouble-causing political documents) to prevent the will of The People from being carried out as directed in the easy to understand 2016 referendum ballot question and subsequent vote result.

To put it simply; The will of The People trumps the bureaucratic and political machinations of UK and EU politicians, 100% of the time.


Why Do We Need a Brexit Extension Anyway?

Because. The. Politicians. Just. Couldn’t. Get. The. Job. Done.

Is anyone really surprised about this? I doubt it.

Today, with 8-days to go until the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019, the EU appears to have granted Theresa May’s request to extend the official Brexit date to May 22, 2019 (not to the June 30, 2019 that she was asking for) subsequent to the UK House of Commons passing the draft Withdrawal Agreement, and the non legally binding Political Declaration, and the (helpful in a minor way) Joint Instrument.

So, what have they been doing over the past 1001-days?

As of today’s date (March 21, 2019) it’s been 1001-days since Britons voted to Leave the European Union — and in all that time the politicians couldn’t come up with a way for the UK to Leave the EU and not have it break their own-chosen date of March 29, 2019.

It’s a damning indictment of politics in the 21st-century. There’s no other way to say it!


Let’s Compare Cultures, Shall We?

In any military culture, a failure to deliver on such a massive scale would result in the court-martial of everyone involved in this duster-cluck; And in any corporate culture, every CEO involved would’ve been fired at the 6th-month for non-performance, and likewise their replacements fired at each subsequent 6th-month interval for the same reason.

In any royal culture; Such Kings, Queens, Princes, etc., who would fail on such a massive scale would have their status severely downgraded among their peers within days or weeks.

Even in Hollywood, the land of milk and honey, punishment exists for massive failure:

  • Let’s imagine for a moment that Theresa May, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk were hired on June 23, 2016 by the Academy Awards talent committee to host the Academy Awards on March 29, 2019.
  • And then, let’s imagine that they were still negotiating (with each other) the lines that they would read while on stage, right up to mere hours ahead of the Academy Awards event.
  • And then let’s imagine that all three of them emailed the Academy Awards talent committee mere hours before the event to inform them that they wouldn’t be ready to read their lines on March 29, 2019 — until May 22, 2019, or maybe later than that.
  • Consequently, the Academy Awards would need to be suddenly cancelled and rescheduled to May 22, 2019, or maybe later than that.
  • Or, suitable replacements to host the Academy Awards would need to be found, to allow the show to go on as originally scheduled.
  • What do you think the response from the Academy Awards talent committee would be?
  • What do you think the response from the television viewing public would be?
  • Even in Hollywood, the land of good and bad actors, the land of debauchery (sometimes) and excess (always), the land of drama and the land of special effects — these people would be fired forever. (You’ll never work in this town again! etc.)

Only in political systems could humans exhibiting failure on such a massive scale survive and thrive.

It is to weep.


Having Painted Themselves Into a Corner; The Only Face-Saving Way Out of This Disaster is a WTO Brexit!

Maybe that’s what these politicians wanted all along, as the end result!

In that way (they hope) citizens on both sides would recoil in horror from the dreaded WTO-style Brexit.

Which makes it suspicious that these politicians and their friends have been doing everything they can and more to amp-up the fears surrounding a so-called ‘No Deal’ Brexit, which would allow these bad actors the political cover they need to cancel Brexit altogether. Which is, I suspect, what they wanted all along.

“The will of The People, be damned! We won’t be told (by voters) how to run OUR countries!”


“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



Written by
John Brian Shannon

Image courtesy of HowManyDaysUntilBrexit.com

If the UK Misses Official Brexit Date; UK Industries Could Sue the Government

March 19, 2019: It’s been 999-days since the June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union and the UK government has failed in all that time to agree a deal with the EU — yet UK Prime Minister Theresa May has steadfastly maintained that Brexit will happen on the promised Brexit date of March 29, 2019 — “Deal or No Deal” — according to the Prime Minister.

And, there is still a 50/50 chance the UK might actually leave the EU on that date.

However, the odds of not leaving on that date were increased due to a series of votes in the UK House of Commons in recent days, and subsequent to those events, Theresa May seems to be backing-off from her usual assertions that the UK “will in fact, Leave the European Union on March 29, 2019,” which is having the effect of causing even more uncertainty in the UK economy than had been the case over the previous 999-days.

Whereas the Theresa May government has promised Britons and British industry (hundreds of times over the past 999-days) that “the UK will indeed Leave the EU on March 29, 2019,” and whereas thousands of UK businesses have been incurring extra costs in their preparations over the past 999-days to meet the guesstimated requirements of Brexit, and whereas unconventional costs are likely to be incurred by UK businesses (through no fault of their own) if the UK government misses the official Brexit deadline which has been promised over the past 999-days by the Prime Minister and by other members of her government;

A case may be made that UK businesses can sue the government for the false and ongoing advertising (of the officially presented Brexit date) and for non-performance of its duties (failure to deliver Brexit as promised) and for not warning UK businesses in advance that Brexit may not occur on March 29, 2019 as promised hundreds of times over the past 999-days.

As a majority of Britons voted for Brexit and as UK businesses are subject to democracy just like everyone else, they wouldn’t be entitled to sue the government for acting on the results of the June 2016 referendum.

But what they can sue the government for is promising hundreds of times over the past 999-days to deliver Brexit right up until the official Brexit date — and then not delivering it — with the UK government knowing full well they weren’t able to deliver Brexit, or had changed their minds in recent days or weeks about their ability to deliver Brexit.

Without taking anything away from the previous paragraphs, it could also be argued that UK businesses could sue the UK government for failing to inform them in advance that the official Brexit date (might be) or (will be) missed.

As most businesses in the UK operate on a quarterly schedule, that would mean the UK government should’ve officially informed UK businesses about the possibility of a missed Brexit at any time prior to January 31, 2019 — which is when the October 1 through December 31 quarterly reports are typically due.

If Theresa May and Co. think that they can ‘suspend’ Brexit indefinitely in order to solve the above-described problem, they couldn’t be more wrong.

UK businesses cannot sue the government for the present period of uncertainty.

BUT IF THE OFFICIAL BREXIT DATE IS MISSED DUE TO A FAULT OF THE UK GOVERNMENT, THEREBY RESULTING IN A FAILURE TO DELIVER BREXIT ON TIME AND AS PROMISED; Beginning March 29, 2019 the UK government could be sued by UK businesses for loses resulting from an oft-promised and subsequently missed official Brexit date — especially when no advance warning was given to UK businesses about a potential missed Brexit prior to the end of the 4th-quarter reporting period.

Therefore; For the Theresa May government to avoid having to pay £1 billion per week (or more) in court ordered penalties to UK businesses should the government fail to deliver Brexit by March 29, 2019;

I strongly advise the Prime Minister to keep her promise to Britons and to British industry that the UK will exit the European Union on March 29, 2019.

There’s no way out of the looming catastrophe of the UK government being sued by British industry an account of a Brexit ‘own goal’ unless you actually keep your promise that, “the UK will, in fact, Leave the EU on March 29, 2019.”

And if you don’t keep that promise I hope it costs the UK government billions. Because going forward, that’s how much all the additional uncertainty (from March 30th onward) will amount to and all of it caused by a suddenly missed and no advance notice Brexit.

You were saying to your MP’s recently, “Don’t lose your [Brexit] nerve.”

Well, maybe this blog post/circular will help MP’s to keep their nerve and to deliver Brexit as has been promised by the UK government almost every day for the past 999-days.

Written by John Brian Shannon

Image courtesy of PoliticsHome.com

Theresa May: How Hard Can it Be to Follow Voter Instructions?

London, UK: Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government loses a historic vote in the UK House of Commons on her cherished (and reworked) Withdrawal Agreement by a vote of 391-242, a margin of 149 votes.


History: On January 23, 2016 an historic vote was held where 52% of those Britons who cared to show up at the polls, voted to Leave the European Union. They didn’t vote for a complicated Withdrawal Agreement, nor did they vote for a high-sounding, but non-legally binding Political Declaration.

Britons voted to Leave the EU. Nothing more, nothing less. They didn’t vote for a Withdrawal Agreement, nor did they vote for a Political Declaration.

Subsequent to the EU referendum, the UK held a General Election in June of 2017 where all UK political parties as part of their party platform supported Brexit. Not one party ran on an anti-Brexit platform. And no surprise there, as each party was simply mirroring the will of The People since the June 2016 EU referendum.

Since that time, Prime Minister Theresa May and EU negotiators have been attempting to agree a deal for the UK to leave the European Union over-and-above the simple wishes of the UK electorate and that proposed deal has become known as the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

That’s the deal that was voted down in the House of Commons in January 2019 by a historic margin of 230 votes. Never in British history had a bill been so resoundingly defeated.

Now that same bill with minor changes has been voted down by British MP’s by a healthy 149 votes.

I suspect that much of the failure of this latest iteration of the bill was because MP’s had only a few hours to study the reworked (and incredibly complex) Withdrawal Agreement, as Theresa May presented the new version less than one day before it was up for a Parliamentary vote. Très gauche, Theresa!


Near-Term Parliamentary Process: Tomorrow (March 13, 2019) MP’s will vote on the so-called ‘No Deal’ scenario and on March 14th they will vote on whether the UK should go to the EU (cap in hand) to ask for an Article 50 extension — to give more time to UK and EU negotiators to come up with a deal — notwithstanding that 2.5 years hasn’t been long enough and notwithstanding that not one single issue will have changed in the meantime, and the EU is under no obligation whatsoever to accept an Article 50 extension.

Let me repeat that statement; If an Article 50 extension is requested by the UK, the EU is under no obligation to accede to that request, nor will any issue have changed (nor the opinions behind them) in the meantime. Therefore, what exactly would be the point of the UK applying for, or the EU accepting, an Article 50 extension?

See? There’s no logical reason to extend the Article 50 deadline.

And from the point of view of UK voters, an Article 50 extension would reward mediocrity — the kind of mediocrity that is represented by 2.5 years of limp-wristed and on-again-off-again negotiating that doesn’t deserve another chance.


What Would Margaret Thatcher Do?

Anyone who saw how Margaret Thatcher operated would know that she wouldn’t have done the EU dance, allowing them to call the tune every step of the way.

For tomorrow’s vote, Maggie would’ve simply whipped her MP’s to vote for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit — and that would be the end of the present 2.5 year-long period of economic uncertainty — and it by far would be the best thing for the UK economy and for Britons wondering where all this unguided or lightly guided Brexit will end-up.


Sometimes, You Have to Do the Smartest Thing – Which Can Sometimes be the (Temporarily) Unpopular Thing

And that’s what Theresa May hasn’t yet learned.

Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, learned over her long career that no matter what promises have been made, no matter how uncomfortable the short-term might be, no matter the (short-term) howls of protest, senior politicians must stand up and do what’s best for the country, and do it with a sense of urgency and purpose.

And what’s best for the UK at this moment in history is for Theresa May to ‘whip’ her MP’s tomorrow to support an automatic ‘No Deal’ Brexit and just get Brexit done and dusted — thereby putting a definite and permanent end to the present economic uncertainty.

Her detractors will say, ‘Yes, but Theresa May is no Margaret Thatcher!’ and whatever else anyone ever said about her, Maggie commanded a high degree of respect from her political friends and enemies due to her having the courage to always and without fail do ‘the right thing’ as she saw it — no matter the obstacles.

If Prime Minister Theresa May can summon her inner Margaret Thatcher tonight and direct her Parliamentary whips to force every Conservative MP to vote FOR a ‘No Deal’ Brexit tomorrow, all the uncertainty building in the UK economy would dissipate within a matter of days. And Britons and UK stakeholders could get on with the job of making Brexit Britain an astonishing success story and the EU could concentrate on its internal problems. Phew!

It would be the defining moment of Theresa May’s premiership.

The entire world would thank the Prime Minister and breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, even in Brussels!

Small numbers of Remainers might complain for a few days, but on the whole, being decisive now would solve more problems than continuing along the present course.


Can Theresa May (BPE) the Bureaucrat Par-Excellence make the switch to Theresa May (PPE) Politician Par-Excellence and be the politician that’s so desperately needed at this crucial moment in Britain’s history?

We’ll soon know.

Written by John Brian Shannon

Brexit: ‘No Deal’ is [Still] Better Than a ‘Bad Deal’

STATEMENT: Being a British Prime Minister has got to be the least fun job on Earth.
WHY? Because everyone wants you to fail!


Opposition MP’s want the Prime Minister to fail (don’t take it personally) it has been thus since the beginning of time.

Conservative Party members would each move-up one notch should the serving (Conservative) Prime Minister fail and subsequently lose her job. (Again, nothing personal. It’s the nature of politics) However, British politics can seem especially brutal.

The media love a good story and (again, nothing personal) a British Prime Minister being toppled sells more newspapers. Not to mention dramatically driving up advertising revenues for any media — print or electronic. Which must be a big draw for publishers! (How could it not?)

Remain voters would like to see the PM lose her job, thereby delaying or derailing Brexit completely. (16,141,241 and falling, as many just want the present misery/economic uncertainty to end)

And lest we forget the EU which hates the idea of the UK leaving the union — and why wouldn’t they? — as the UK pays more into the EU than any other country, save Germany. Yet, only the UK pays (up to) £12.221 billion per year (net) to be a member of the EU club.

Which averages out to 10.235 billion (net) per year that British taxpayers pay to the European Union black hole they call their budget to allow the UK to remain in the European Union.

Of course the EU hates the idea of Brexit, blames every British Prime Minister since Churchill for Brexit and even if it costs them a Remainer-or-Soft-Leaver europhile Prime Minister by the name of Theresa May, even they want the PM to fail.

Net UK contributions to the EUAll of which gathered together causes one to wonder why anyone (anyone!) would want the job of British Prime Minister. You can’t win when everyone wants you to lose.

Yet, she has stuck it out. Which gets her some respect around here.

Too bad she’s a Remainer in Leavers clothing, otherwise she could keep the damn job forever IMHO, or until the next sado-masochist feels they require more beatings per hour than they presently receive.


Yet, Theresa May is The One Who Accepted the Job and Made All Kinds of Promises

So as heartless as it sounds, she’s got to make good on her promises.

And Promise #1 was to get Britons out of the European Union.

There’s no wiggle room there. The People voted to Brexit. They didn’t vote for a Withdrawal Agreement nor did they vote for a Political Declaration — those things are contrivances by Theresa May and her EU pals. Britons voted to Leave the EU.

And so long as those contrivances (pet projects?) don’t prevent Brexit, a majority of Britons will tolerate them. Let Theresa and her EU pals cover themselves in garlands and confetti and toast each other with their great bureaucratic accomplishments. (Zzzzzz)

Nobody cares about all that hoopla outside of those who work in the EU Parliament or in Whitehall. And that’s what politicians don’t get.

Good intentions, bureaucratic excellence, and sadomasochism aside — get us our Brexit Theresa May and you can continue to receive as many beatings per hour as you want.

You seem to thrive on it. Just like every previous British Prime Minister.


Predictions:

Prediction #1: Theresa May and the EU create an Irish backstop workaround that satisfies British MP’s and passes in the House of Commons and the EU27 parliaments. (Wouldn’t that be great?)

Prediction #2: Theresa May and the EU try to fob-off a substandard Irish backstop workaround on the House of Commons where it fails to receive even 20% of the vote = straight to Hard Brexit. (This is the most likely scenario, IMHO)

Prediction #3: Theresa May tries to get a deal with the EU negotiators, fails, then tries to delay or cancel Brexit, gets fired by her party, and new PM Michael Gove takes the UK straight to a Hard Brexit. (And Theresa May instantly becomes a historical footnote)

Prediction #4: Theresa May tries to get a deal with EU negotiators, fails, battles it out with her party, a General Election is called and Jeremy Corbyn wins the PM’s chair, who then takes the UK straight to a Hard Brexit. (And the name Theresa May is thenceforth spoken in the same tones as the name Guy Fawkes among Leavers from any party)

Really, there’s only one choice. And if you make that clear enough to the EU side Theresa, they’ll see the situation clearly and act accordingly. If you don’t draw those distinctions clearly you’ll unwittingly set the seeds for the very result that you and the EU say you don’t want.

So instead of endlessly repeating, “Let’s be clear” — BE CLARITY ITSELF! — and save yourself, your EU pals, and 500-million Europeans from an unnecessarily hard Brexit!

Written by John Brian Shannon

After Leading Us On for 2.5 Years, Theresa May Seems to Admit She Can’t Get the Job Done

Some things look pretty obvious in retrospect, don’t they?

After the Conservative and Unionist Party of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland hired a known Remainer to be Prime Minister following the June 23, 2016 EU referendum, newly-installed PM Theresa May went about the UK and the world telling all who would listen, that she, Theresa May, HAD THE RIGHT STUFF to take the UK out of the European Union — only to fail to deliver Brexit 31-days short of the finish line on March 29, 2019, the official Brexit date.

This disappointing forecast is due to news reports coming in that Theresa May might wish to delay Brexit, although as little as one day ago she said there’s no benefit in delaying Brexit as the same intractable problems would remain after the delay and still require solving — and that British MP’s should ‘Hold their nerve’.

Which seems quite logical. If the UK and the EU couldn’t get a decent Withdrawal Agreement done in 2.5+ years, what makes them think they would get it done in 2.8+ years, for example? The same issues will need to be resolved then, as now.

We shouldn’t have been fooled. Largely unknown in British politics, Theresa May toiled away in obscurity as the Home Secretary for 6 quiet years. Indeed, Theresa May’s time in the Home Office has come to be known as the quietest time in Home Office history. But while waiting for the PM’s chair to come up, it’s wise, I suppose, to remain uncontroversial.

Why, oh why, did we choose an arch-Remainer to steer the UK through Brexit? (Yes, I used the royal “we” because many people voted for or approved Theresa May as PM)


It’s Our Fault, of Course. We Hired the Wrong Prime Minister

Someone wanted to become Prime Minister and she told us exactly what we wanted to hear:

  • “Brexit Means Brexit”
  • “No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal”
  • “The UK Will Regain Control of its Money”
  • “The UK Will Become The Great Meritocracy”
  • “The UK Will No Longer be Subject to a Foreign Court”
  • “The UK Will Regain the Right to Write its Own Trade Deals”
  • “The UK Will Regain Control of its Borders and Immigration”

And so much more than that.

If you don’t believe me, every significant speech given by Theresa May since July 2016 is published elsewhere at this website and most of those speeches have an accompanying YouTube video so you can see her speak the words herself and read the transcript (provided by the UK government) and decide for yourself if she actually believed what she was saying at the time, or whether she just wanted to continue as Prime Minister long after she realized that she wasn’t up to the (Brexit part of the) job.

Had she given it up earlier, Michael Gove or Jacob Rees-Mogg could’ve jumped in to the PM”s job and gotten the UK a decent Brexit deal before the official Brexit date and Theresa May could’ve gone on to the House of Lords, or wherever she had hoped to go, and no one would’ve ever known she couldn’t deliver on her Brexit promises.


So, Either Theresa May Isn’t the Prime Minister She Thought She Was, or She Isn’t the Prime Minister We Thought She Was

Or, (he wrote hopefully) maybe this is a bargaining gambit to get the EU off balance — with them realizing they would suddenly be negotiating against a strong Brexiteer like Michael Gove instead of a weak Remainer like Theresa May — consequently, they might seize the opportunity to sign an amended Withdrawal Agreement before Ms. May departs from politics forever.

“Oh Luvvie, we miss you already!” lamented every EU bureaucrat.


You Were So Close, Theresa, So Close.

Why did you lose your nerve? Especially after rallying the troops last week, telling them; “MP’s should not lose their nerve.”

We thought you were the one. We thought you were the one who could deliver Brexit. We cheered your every success and fumed against your opponents. We wrote blogs. We posted Tweets and happily re-Tweeted your best Tweets. We thought you might have been an ABBA dancing queen in a previous life. (All in good fun, we’ve all missed the beat once in our lives)

But if you can’t get it done; If you find you can’t keep your promises, it’s time to step down and let a Brexiteer take up the Brexit mantle — delivering the Brexit that you promised to more than 17.4 million Britons — and to many former Remainers who also want the misery/economic uncertainty to end and are saying things like, “Just get it done!” and “Let’s move past this divisive part of UK history!”.

We know you tried your best, but you just came up short.


To Theresa May’s Credit…

She’s done a great job on the economy. All stats are charting in the right direction. People ‘in work’ are at an all-time high. Unemployment is at an all-time low.

The NHS has recently had its best showing in The Commonwealth Fund’s rigorous healthcare outcomes rankings (#1 out of the top 11 healthcare systems in the world) People seem more fulfilled and are living longer in the UK. And government departments seem more efficient and relevant to UK citizens (and to bloggers looking for information, quotes, or charts) So it wasn’t all bad.

In retrospect, Theresa May did a great job on the economy and in other ways too. Perhaps Brexit is her nemesis.


What to Do for the Next 31 Days?

Assuming Theresa May isn’t using some arcane negotiating trick against the EU to get a deal before the March 29, 2019 deadline (which could be a thing, I suppose) every Brexiteer in the world will be counting backwards from £100-billion — because that’s about how costly the past 2.5 years, plus the proposed negotiating extension period will harm the UK economy due to the economic uncertainty attached to the outrageously long Withdrawal Agreement negotiating period.

C’est la vie.

Written by John Brian Shannon