Thursday, March 29, 2018

Brexit: a house of cards – and unlikely to address deeper issues behind Brexit vote, says Thom Brooks

My statement to press:

“Britain’s Brexit deal so far is like a house of cards. The government has so many red lines we know more about what it doesn’t want than what it can achieve. Northern Ireland’s border is a problem everyone knew about it from the start, but will be left until the end – with the EU making clear anything agreed requires PM honours commitment to a borderless NI. But her red line against a customs union could be the undoing of any deal – leaving too little time for the UK to get an alternative infrastructure in place.
 
Brexit also doesn’t mean Brexit. The key promises of Vote Leave won’t happen not least because the PM said so after the vote.
 
But does Brexit matter for the voters who wanted it? I’m doubtful. The key concern for Leavers wasn’t taking back control of borders or sovereignty, but taking back control period. Many feel alienated, not listened to, left behind. Brexit was about sending a message. There is deep insecurity about the future regarding housing, education and employment. Leave supporters haven’t budged much despite one promise being broken after another because, I believe, Brexit was about something more than Brexit – it was a call for change and a desire to make voices heard. That’s what is important.
 
This makes Brexit all the more challenging. Getting the best deal may not be enough to please those that supported leaving the EU if it leaves them worse off – further feeding a sense of disconnection and alienation.”

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