Brexit: Train is coming!

Dünya Executive - - REPORT - Murat BASBOGA

Roll back the years first. After the Great Recession of 2008, all the economists were criticized heavily for their forecastin­g of things to come. In November 2008, even the Queen questioned the abilities of the brightest thinkers on a visit to the London School of Economics and why nobody had predicted the credit crunch, according to the Observer newspaper. In response, LSE Professor Tim Besley and political historian Professor Peter Hennessy sent a letter to the Queen. The threepage letter detailed the “psychology of denial” that gripped the financial and political world in the run-up to the crisis. According to the letter, the issue was discussed at a seminar in the British Academy in June 2009 attended by economic heavyweigh­ts like Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs, Stephen King of HSBC alongside economic professors from all around Britain. The letter ended: “In summary, your majesty, the failure to foresee the timing, extent and severity of the crisis and to head it off, while it had many causes, was principall­y a failure of the collec- tive imaginatio­n of many bright people, both in this country and internatio­nally, to understand the risks to the system as a whole.”

Back to present day. After two and a half years of wasted time, the only fruitful thing about Brexit is the Withdrawal Agreement. The agreement, which gained limited support on both sides of the aisle, has already begun fracturing the political landscape, parties and public opinion. Only last week, nine MPs from the Labour Party resigned, criticizin­g Jeremy Corybn on Brexit and how he has dealt with accusation­s of anti-Semitism. On Saturday, three cabinet ministers said that Brexit should be delayed if Parliament does not approve a deal in the coming days.

The UK remains on course to leave the European Union on March 29. But the government has repeatedly refused to rule out the possibilit­y of the UK leaving without a formal deal, in the event that May cannot get MPs to approve the deal she negotiated with Brussels in time. MPs are due to debate Brexit again On February 27 and are expected to consider an amendment tabled by former Tory minister Sir Oliver Letwin and Labour’s Yvette Cooper. That would give Parliament the opportunit­y to delay Brexit and prevent a no-deal situation if there is no agreement with the EU by the middle of March.

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