If there is one thing that probably unites all but the most stubborn zealots still campaigning for or against leaving the European Union, it is that we would like to see the back of Brexit by this time next year. It has gone on too long now. We were told last year, deal or no deal, we would be leaving at 11pm on March 29 next year (it will be midnight in Brussels).
That then is when we should indeed leave – and we must then pull ourselves together and try to make it work as best we can for everyone.
Only those who are working to frustrate the people’s vote of June 2016 are keen to delay our departure – in the hope that it never happens at all, or that through a further referendum we might reverse the decision.
The public was given an opportunity to vote and tell the politicians what to do. We were told by David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the time, that the result would be respected and implemented. We were not asked if we should leave under certain circumstances, leave with a certain type of deal or leave with certain privileges. We were simply asked if we wanted to remain in or leave the EU. We, the whole of the United Kingdom, decided the UK should leave.
I think it’s fair to say that in Scotland the insistence of the SNP that we should have a rerun of our independence referendum has prolonged the division across the nation. If we go down the road of seeking to rerun the EU referendum we shall make the same mistake of dividing the whole UK more deeply and for longer.
Just as in Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon has ignored her day job (evidenced by falling standards in education, healthcare, transport and more) – so too Theresa May’s government has not been able to focus on its day job either. This is simply not good enough given we are now paying the largest amount of tax in the past 50 years.
Legally, it is only possible to negotiate a trade deal with the EU once we have left, so what is being debated at the moment is not the final trade deal but what the withdrawal arrangements that compose a two-year transition period.
Thankfully that “deal” is not likely to be accepted by the House of Commons, which means we will leave on March 29 without a transition period, without having to pay £40 billion and without having to accept any laws we do not wish to subject ourselves to. There are some people who suggest this is like jumping off a cliff or crashing out – but these are false analogies akin to fake news.
Border controls for importing and exporting are now handled universally by using electronics. This means inspections are rare and tend to now happen before lorries reach ports. As we have a £96 billion trade deficit with the EU, the greater problem is in fact for them, if they do not quickly agree a free trade deal with us after we have left their businesses will be faced with a tariff bill of £13 billion.
The 15 per cent fall in the pound’s value against the Euro more than covers the four per cent average EU tariff costs that some UK exporting businesses might face and once outside the EU’s restrictions the UK will be free to provide help to any business sectors that face such a difficulty.
A second referendum will mean more angry and divisive debating, the idea that somehow it will provide better more accurate facts is an utter nonsense. We are still getting all the risible scaremongering of biblical proportions even now and once over it would not provide closure, for the losers would still not accept the outcome.
No, let’s end this on 29 March. We have 100 days to prepare for leaving – let’s get on with it and move on.