Indicative votes


I’m looking forward to Brexit the movie. It will either be a three part epic directed by Peter Jackson, showing the struggle of good against evil, or a never ending series on Netflix that eventually peters away as public interest drops off, perhaps a bit like Lost or Prison Break if you remember either of those.

Joking aside, I am fascinated with the whole process. I have been gripped by the evening news, and, if I was not involved, would have found the comings and goings great entertainment. It’s not though, it is all too real.

Already though there are several lessons to come out of the process, ones that I hope we learn from as they are going to be extremely costly.

Take the indicative vote process as an example. What is clear from these is that there are no forms of Brexit that satisfy everyone. Some forms are more attractive than others however and could give the basis for building a consensus and therein lies the lesson.

Politics is all about consensus and it would have been a much better idea to have thought about this much closer to the beginning of the withdrawal agreement discussions rather than as the seconds tick away at the end. It would have saved a lot of grief and effort negotiating something that was, in the end unpalatable.

The time to do your thinking is at the start of the process. A series of proposals should have been put forward, akin to minimum viable products, which could have been pivoted as it became clearer what could be swallowed and what could not.

The other lesson is that the word Brexit means different things to different people. The choice of yes or no may seem absolute yet MPs are there to represent all constituents, including those who said remain. Their job is to do what they believe is in the best interest of the country. These are circles that are difficult to square. Understanding this at the outset and getting some form common agreement would have helped.

I doubt that we will ever get involved in trying to sort out anything as complicated as extracting the United Kingdom from the European Union but in all walks of life we have to face difficult issues. Learning from history is a good place to start.

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