Given our current political climate, there’s bound to be a lot of confusion and unanswered questions regarding Brexit and Article 50.
From reading the news and other social media, it seems there is still much that not’s understood about Brexit and what’s happening right now with Article 50, so here’s a little explainer.
Regardless of which side of the referendum you supported (for the record, I was a Remainer) the whole thing was rather disastrously kickstarted by David Cameron when he made a blithe election promise to hold a referendum about the EU. He did this to shore up support in the general election as he was worried about losing supporters to UKIP.
But he never really took the process seriously. He decided to “give the people a simple choice, to Leave or Remain”. Except – that’s not actually a simple choice at all.
Let me explain. With vegetables.
The choice he’s offering here is for people to vote for ‘Potatoes’ or ‘Not Potatoes’. Not really a clear choice. On the one hand, we know exactly what we’re getting – potatoes. On the other – we only know what we won’t be getting. It’s really unclear what exactly the ‘Leave’ vote is voting for?
There were a couple of other silly things that Mr Cameron did, such as not requiring a minimum number of potato-eaters voting, determining that the winning side must get at least x% of the vote and finally, making it a binding decision.
Then, what nobody thought would happen, happened. Brexit won!
The fallout created a leadership spill and then Ms May came along to clean up all the mess. She’s told everyone that “Brexit means Brexit” but what does that really mean?
“NOT POTATOES means NOT POTATOES”.
Here’s where it gets really messy. All those people who voted to leave were unified around one thing only – Leave the EU (or NOT POTATOES!).
There is sadly, no unity around how or what that means. do we stay as part of the Single market like the Norway model? Or do we have partial access like the Switzerland model? Or no access like the Turkey model? Do we stay in the customs union? Do we accept free movement? What about tariffs?
Or in simpler terms, do we now eat carrots, broccoli, corn or onions?
We still don’t know, but then Ms May announced that she intends to formally start the process to change what vegetables the nation eats. Trust me, she says, I’ll pick a really good vegetable.
A group of concerned citizens (and MPs) thought, “I’m not sure how comfortable I am with Ms May deciding what vegetable we’re all going to eat. Parliament should really vote to decide, no?”
And the courts agreed (so far).
Ms May is appealing that decision, insisting she “has the royal prerogative to decide what we all eat”.
So where does that leave us all now? Well, the kingdom has decided we no longer want Potatoes. We’re all still trying to figure out what to eat instead, and whether or not parliament gets to vote.
Until we figure it all out, things will be volatile. Markets hate uncertainty. Employers hate uncertainty. People hate uncertainty.
But no ones really going hungry… yet.