OPINION: No decision is the worst decision with Brexit

Fish Cartoon Nick Joy

I KNOW, I can’t apologise enough for writing about Brexit, but I also can’t bear the utter incompetence of what is going on.

It has the mesmeric attraction of a car crash in extremely slow motion, with all of the destruction, gore and misery displayed for public view. The problem is the breath-taking ineptitude of our politicians. From whichever side you come, this is the taste left in all of our mouths.

We have elected a class of people from a range of professions who are unable to negotiate, compromise and deliver a deal. They are good at pontificating, virtue signalling and prevaricating, but when it comes to understanding the most basic of business tenets they are hopeless.

Making no decision is the worst decision and most of us have been bitten by that one in our time.

From what is in the news, it also appears pretty clear that the public want the referendum to be honoured, but also that the wishes of almost 50 per cent of the voters should not be ignored.

So it is logical to think that there is now a majority of our country who want some sort of middle road deal. The constant using of this as a political football demonstrates that the politicians seem not to realise the damage they are doing by not agreeing a position.

The two poles in this debate can never be satisfied as one would mean that a democratic decision is overthrown and the other is simply not going to get a majority in parliament. It all seems too obvious and also far too predictable.

Meanwhile, as far as I understand it, talking to a number of businesses, companies have written in the cost of a no deal Brexit as much as it is possible to do.

Again, the point of this seems to have been missed by almost all politicians. If companies have written in cost and there is a deal, then there will be a Brexit deal dividend.

In other words, in the event of a deal, all of the costs that have been written in can be released and spent, which can only bode well for the future.

If they fail, then the initial cost has been prepared for and we will have to move on and accept that there will be a period of uncertainty, but even this will be lessened by the fact that businesses have had enough time to look at the options and prepare as best they can.


My greater fear is the unwritten, unquantifiable damage done by the current impasse. The UK used to be known as a place where you could do business, both before it was in the EU and during its membership.

What is now very clear is that we are a country unable to make major decisions, let alone make them in a reasonable timescale. For companies looking to invest in the UK in the future, this has reached an unforgettable state. I fear we will rue this debate and its consequences.

What is also becoming clear, rather like the Scottish referendum, is that the polarisation of the country will have severe political consequences too.

The two-party system is under intense scrutiny and not looking too healthy. There may be talk of parties splitting and new parties forming, with our politics fractured into smaller and smaller pressure groups – none of which will aid decision making, develop better understanding or help the UK’s economy.

For a relatively small, rural industry which is substantially significant to Scotland and modestly so to the UK, this cannot but affect our future.

Being essentially an export business, we cannot afford the effect of this sort of paralysis.

What government rarely realises is that stock needs to come out each week, not just to fund our cash flows but also to make room for more stock, either through growth or replacement.

Endlessly reviewing plans to try to minimise the impact of potentially significant dates uses resources that are needed elsewhere in the business. The risks to all of our businesses increase when we cannot concentrate on the day job.

I am not hopeful that this situation will be resolved at all let alone in reasonable time. If it has taken this long, why would it come to a conclusion until the very last second?

I know EC president Jean-Claude Juncker has said that there will be no further extension but if you review all of his comments they are of less value than yesterday’s newspaper.

I hope that I am wrong but my heart goes out to our industry in the UK, which has always suffered from a lack of political understanding. This situation is even worse.


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