You Couldn’t Write the Script

If uncertainty is the enemy of economic advancement then the forces of evil are massing on our borders. The recent Brexit vote in the UK took most people completely by surprise.

The day after the poll the nation woke up to the enormity of the decision and the shock waves reverberated through the markets and sent the political system into meltdown.

The UK now has a new Prime Minister in Theresa May, who – like Gordon Brown before her (and it must be said Winston Churchill) – hasn’t been chosen by the electorate. Furthermore she apparently voted to remain in the EU, but now has to make the decision when to press the button and start negotiating Britain’s exit from the Union, something she claims she is committed to doing.

It’s a bizarre state of affairs, not made any less so by the strange shenanigans in the Labour Party, where Jeremy Corbyn’s rather desperate attempt to cling onto power in the face of a challenge from Angela Eagle and now Owen Smith, highlights the gaping chasm between the Parliamentary Labour Party and the grass roots members around the country.

What has all this got to do with the Isle of Man you might ask? Well, everything and nothing.

The Isle of Man has to find a way of not becoming collateral damage. We can have no influence on the movement of the UK’s political tectonic plates. Nor can we have any real input into the Brexit talks – if and when they finally begin.

Having had no say in the EU referendum we sit, becalmed and rudderless in the middle of the Irish Sea, waiting to see if we can feed from the scraps the disgruntled 27 EU countries are prepared to throw to the UK negotiators. And, to add to our woes we have our own general election in September, with the potential for a new and rather ‘green’ House of Keys, which will need time to bed in before it (hopefully) becomes an effective force.

Many pro-brexiteers in the UK have admitted to having changed their mind since the referendum, after appreciating the enormity of the decision. Many others cling firmly to the belief that they have ‘got their country back.’

It conjures up images of Spitfires patrolling the cliffs of Dover and the iconic theme tune to Dad’s Army with the arrows pointing outwards towards the advancing hordes. They may have their country back, but only time will tell if the economic battle they have committed Britain to will end in another famous victory.

From a Manx perspective let’s hope so.

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