Lead­er­ship fail­ures cost Bri­tain dearly

The Northern Advocate - - Opinion -

Bri­tain’s chaotic Brexit saga lurches to­wards a peak this week, with Theresa May’s with­drawal deal be­ing put to a vote in the House of Com­mons.

The vote was de­layed last year to give the Prime Min­is­ter ex­tra time to con­vince MPs to sup­port it. The num­bers re­port­edly aren’t there. Bar­ring the un­ex­pected, the vote will be de­feated.

Should that hap­pen, and un­less there is a le­gal change be­tween now and March 29, Bri­tain will crash out of the EU. If the vote fails, Bri­tain will be squarely in “what now?” ter­ri­tory.

The Labour Party is ex­pected to ta­ble a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the Gov­ern­ment — to push for a new elec­tion. May would have to come up with a new plan. MPs will push al­ter­na­tives, such as a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum. The PM might have to open for­mal talks with Labour.

Long be­fore now, there should have been for­mal cross-party, lead­er­ship-level talks. A unity sum­mit, even the cre­ation of a cri­sis cab­i­net, would have helped.

Af­ter elec­tions, there is no reg­u­lar ex­pec­ta­tion of coali­tion talks and multi-party for­mal agree­ments on the scale we are used to un­der MMP. The main par­ties are con­trolled by two par­ti­san lead­ers in May and Jeremy Cor­byn. It’s hard not to think that a strong, prag­matic leader in the style of Scot­land’s First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon would never have al­lowed Brexit po­lit­i­cal chaos to snow­ball the way it has.

Surely the best ap­proach af­ter the Brexit ref­er­en­dum in 2016 would have been to set up reg­u­lar multi-party con­sul­ta­tion and com­bined in­put on plan­ning. Then — as re­port­ing emerged about the leave cam­paign’s fund­ing, prom­ises that didn’t fit with re­al­ity, and the scope of the chal­lenge — ad­just­ments could have been made and an in­quiry launched.

With Brexit and the US gov­ern­ment shut­down, bil­lions are be­ing wasted in pref­er­ence to seek­ing deals. The Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment is throw­ing money away at no-deal prepa­ra­tion when it could re­quest an ex­ten­sion of the dead­line or can­cel Brexit.

The US shut­down is leak­ing bil­lions even though Congress could pass a bill open­ing the gov­ern­ment up, with the Se­nate over­rid­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s veto. Time has also been wasted in both cases.

The Repub­li­can Party con­trolled the US gov­ern­ment for two years — plenty of time to put through money for the wall. In Bri­tain, MPs are now left scur­ry­ing for an 11th-hour solution.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.