Was there ever a ‘Plan B’ for Brexit?

Well, after Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement summarily was dumped on the trash heap by MPs by a nice round 230 votes,the heaviest defeat of any Parliamentary leader in the democratic era, she has had about two weeks to get ‘Plan B’ together and in such shape that it might just squeeze through the vote scheduled for today. And given that it took us nearly two years to get ‘Plan A’ together and to a vote in the Commons, god knows how she expects to be able to pass a deal she came up with in , comparatively, about 3 minutes.

And this just highlights how ill-prepared and even arrogant the Brexiteers and the government were when we first started the negotiations with the EU about any possible withdrawal agreement. No proof was given by the various leave campaigns about how and why Britain would prosper outside the EU, we just would. Once the vote was in and Article 50 was triggered (far too quickly in my opinion but too late now isn’t it?), Liam Fox claimed an agreement would be the easiest deal in history, without taking into account that through a combination of political grandstanding, failing to do the homework and the EU officials getting their act together, Britain would be completely strung up. May’s ‘red lines’ have hampered negotiations from the start, a process that was never going to be a simple one.

The EU had a vested interest in making this whole process as difficult as possible, to maintain the integrity of the bloc. If the EU had bent over backwards to accommodate Britain’s wishes, every other country would have been asking to leave on the same terms. The leading Brexiteers wanted all the benefits and none of the drawbacks. Boris Johnson even said ‘our policy is having our cake and eating it.’ This is the first time Article 50 has been triggered by a member state of the European Union, this sets the precedent for anyone else who might think about triggering it themselves.

Now, I do not claim that the EU is perfect, because it isn’t. It really isn’t. It’s an undemocratic bureaucracy, caught up in so much red tape you can barely move, headed by right-wing administrators and executives with almost no engagement of the EU Parliament in policy making. But, the EU is one of the largest trading blocs in the world. To leave with no deal in place for at least a cordial relationship would be stupid to the point of ludicrous.

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