Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Britain loses control

... and here's Part 2 of why I think Brexit is worse than Trump.

In Part 1, I made the obvious point that a one-time plebiscite takes control away from voters. If the government you voted for turns out to be a disaster, you get the chance to vote it out at the next election. If Brexit is a disaster, but there's no second referendum, you just have to live with the consequences for ever.

But Brexit also takes control away from the executive. If an administration finds that one of its policies isn't working, it can usually think again - tweak the policy, quietly kick it into the long grass, even do a U-turn.

But with Brexit, the government loses that control. Once Article 50 is triggered, it's committed. The course of action and the timetable have been set elsewhere. The executive isn't in charge any more. It just has to run alongside, desperately trying to keep up. When it all goes pear-shaped, there's no opportunity to think again, to change course, to do something less damaging. All the government can do is brace itself against the cab of the runaway train and hope that the crash won't be too bad.

Britain - whether by "Britain" you mean the British electorate, or the British government - hasn't "taken back control." It's lost it - big time.