My return from Spain to visit family in Kent and Surrey over the festive season restored my faith in the human spirit. A year on from that Withdrawal Agreement, have we taken back control? And who are we?
An oven ready deal
Brexit is far from done. Every month a new reality dawns. Expectations are dashed. New obstacles to trade appear. Take the case of the British Cheshire Cheese company. Just one example of the real impacts of Brexit on the UK economy and a disastrous loss caused by UK’s departure from the single market.
As Christmas approached signs on the motorways leaving London for the Channel ports displayed a new warning. Since the New Year, further documentation is required for goods exported to and imported from the EU. More delays and higher costs are here to stay. Extra costs up to £400 per consignment mean sales of small batches of food could become uneconomic. Another promise to cut back on EU red tape is broken.
From the 1st of January 2022 tariffs on steel and aluminium exported from the EU to the US have been removed. But tariffs remain on UK exports of steel and aluminium, giving the EU a 25% advantage.
So what happened to the oven ready deal? THIS is what we were assured would happen.
A year later the threat of Article 16 looms
Twelve months of frosty negotiations with the European Union, marred by a belief that the EU would allow the UK to run roughshod over the Irish protocol and renege on treaty obligations resulted in loss of trust and damage to Britain’s reputation on the world stage.
Lord Frost, the unelected negotiator, decided it was time to opt out and, unpredictably, handed the poisoned chalice to Liz Truss to add to her recent acquisition of the Foreign Office. So the one-time Remainer can now curry favour with the Brexiters by threatening to invoke Article 16. This calls for some comment…
Public opinion is beginning to change
One year to the day since the UK left the European Union’s economic structures, the people of Britain believe Brexit has done the country more harm than good, according to a new poll. When trust in governments fail to meet the combined challenges of political change, pandemics and global warming individuals will rise to the occasion and adapt to put some stability back into their lives.
I witnessed this happening in my own family. A grandson who has worked for the Kent Police since University was interviewed remotely in his bedroom for a new post managing part of the Force’s change process and securing a promotion.
His father is getting used to commuting daily to a purpose built office at the bottom of his garden instead of the City. His mother, my eldest daughter, shows considerable leadership in managing a local preschool. She is working through government bureaucracy to secure financial support for special needs children. My eldest son, a Director of Historic Royal Palaces, faces a myriad of problems to retain staff and maintain conservation projects during a lengthy period of reduced income and funding.
My faith in the human spirit
There are signs that the future is not as hopeless as some people believe. The British public will not allow the government to stifle true democracy. They will have the last word on decisions that have a major impact on their family lives and future of their country.
The human spirit to take personal responsibility for those issues that we can control is returning and will prevail. The latest polls show that this government has lost the support of the voters. The Liberal Democrats won a by-election in North Shropshire with a swing of 34% from the Conservatives.
As a former aircraft engineer in the Royal Navy, I believe in science finding solutions for seemingly unsurmountable problems. As a family we watch the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. It sparks a debate on whether the time and money should be spent on better things. The pursuit of new discoveries is what distinguishes the human species. We never know what we discover as we continue to explore the outer reaches of space and the depths of our planet’s oceans. https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/
Meanwhile, the EU looks to the future with France taking the Presidency of the Council of the EU from 1st January 2022 until 30 June 2022.
The people of the UK must hold the Government to account. They must ensure they work closely with our nearest neighbours for the benefit of all.