|Dear Don, we're leaving, Up yours, Theresa....|
All we had previously was the 2016 EU referendum result, where the British electorate made it clear to the UK Government that they wanted to leave the EU. No more no less.
Sensibly perhaps, that referendum was advisory rather than legally binding. That created some doubt about whether Brexit would actually happen and the pro-EU losers tried very hard to stop it. Mostly out of self-interest, so far as I can see...
However, after the inevitable political shenanigans and a lot of bitterness and division in the UK, it appears that the Mother of all Parliaments has been wise enough to follow the direction that has been set by it's people. For better or worse.
This is the first time a UK Government has ever had to follow the direction that was set in a referendum that it lost, a direction that it didn't really want to pursue. Despite the best efforts of the "remoaners", democracy seems to be working here, which is good, but nobody really knows quite how Brexit will work out in practice. It is one of those things that will gradually take shape over the next couple of years and beyond, as detailed decisions are taken and implemented.
The UK is also the first country to go down this route, so we are venturing into uncharted territory. As the EU is a monstrous bureacratic nightmare, with unelected leaders, a flawed vision of Europe and little real accountability, I doubt that we will be the last. Unless it can reform, the EU's days really are numbered...
Although it has taken 9 months to get to this stage, a period which has been far too long for some, it means that the UK will be leaving the EU shortly before the next round of EU elections are due. That optimal timing means we don't have to go through the charade of electing MEP's again. I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am about that. Only the main parties can afford to contest the EU regions properly. Independents and minor parties are squeezed out, due to the logistics and the costs that are involved.
The 9 month delay has also given the Government some time to think about what to do next and get the right people into the right posts. It gives me confidence that we are in safe hands at the moment, with Theresa May currently doing an excellent job as Prime Minister. Triggering Article 50 on 24th June last year would clearly not have been the right thing to do, as we were not prepared for what happens next.
With Article 50 triggered on 29th March, a simple process of our Ambassador handing a letter to the President of the European Council (no stamp needed), the Brexit negotiations start here.
Whatever you think of the idea, that's the route we are now headed. The UK will be leaving the EU.
Like all change, it is a great opportunity.
And we all have a responsibility to make the best of it now.