Monday, 22 January 2018

Quora Question:
Was Brexit a success or a failure?

Former European Emperor
I find it remarkable that so many consequences are already attributed to something that has not yet occurred. Let’s be clear. Effects follow causes, not vice versa. None of the current alleged consequences of Brexit are actually consequences of Brexit.

The debate, the vote, the negotiating process and all the attendant hullabaloo have their own consequences of course, but these are primarily down to political dogma and to good and bad expectations which remain to be tested by experience of reality. Even the post-vote depreciation of sterling was natural, given the hysterical forecasts of catastrophe should the result be ‘Leave’. Positive influences, such as trade agreements with third countries, are not yet allowed, so negative expectations at present have the field largely to themselves.

Even after the formal exit in 2019 and the transition period, it will be years before an impartial assessment can be made. Partisan assessments will of course be made much sooner. Indeed, as is only to be expected, Remainers anxious to be proved right are already seizing upon every bump in the road as evidence.

Sadly they themselves are creating bumps which might not otherwise have occurred. They encourage the EU to believe the UK may yet change course. Accordingly Brussels glibly offers a return to the fold whilst deliberately making exit as difficult as possible. Brussels has already undermined the EU nationals section of last month’s preliminary agreement.

Naturally Brussels wants us to stay. We are a major contributor and the Commission is resisting the budget cuts that ought to flow from reduced membership. The other members’ hearts are open but their wallets aren’t.