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Beyond Brexit

Perhaps hard to imagine right now as Parliament rejects Theresa May’s version of a Brexit deal for the third time, but this will all fade into a distant memory. Like the financial crisis, devaluing the pound and many other moments, it will still be poured over by academics, revisited by ‘reunion’ programmes but for most people it will fade under the weight of more pressing day-to-day concerns.

As someone who voted to remain, and would do so again if given another opportunity, it is not the economic self-harm of a hard Brexit that is of greatest concern. I do believe the UK possesses ingenious people who will adapt. The country will not fall and new deals will be done – eventually – if we can find any decent negotiators! However, just as it has taken us a decade of hardship to recover from the financial crisis, it will probably take a similar amount of time to recover from the Brexit fiasco, whichever way it turns from here.

The reputational damage to the country, I fear, will last much longer and may not be repairable. While the business of running the UK has been neglected to pursue Brexit, other nations will have been preparing to take advantage of our weakening international position. While ever closer political union in Europe may not be desirable, negotiating in isolation in a world set on a path of globalisation will be much harder, I believe, than people appreciate.

Whatever happens, I am sure we are not doomed, but in a world of uphill struggles we seem to heading for the steepest path.


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