Maybe the PM's 'Brexit Means Brexit' Mantra Is a Warning, Not a Statement of Intent?

05/08/2016 14:35 | Updated 05 August 2016

Since becoming Prime Minister Theresa May has been sounding like some kind of Buddhist holy woman chanting the mantra 'Brexit is Brexit' whenever she's challenged on the 'ifs & whens' of Britain's actual departure from the European Union.

I haven't faltered in my opinion that the UK would be stronger inside the EU and that doing whatever it takes to remain part of the club - including legal action to clarify how exactly Article 50 can be triggered. But if, when all the cards have been played, Brexit is still trumping the views of those of us who voted to remain, then I can accept that as the price of living in a stable democracy.

I do however wonder exactly what the PM's mantra really means, and I note that while 'bread is bread', there are many types, and some people give it up all together for health reasons, even though at first it looks and smells great!

Democracy is a concept far more complicated than simply campaigning for, casting and counting votes, and sometimes what people thought they were getting turns out to have been vastly exaggerated, or even completely misrepresented. In the usual course of political life there is a safeguard against blaggers, and that's another trip to the ballot box. If evidence of this is needed, have a chat with Nick Clegg.

The problem with the UK's Brexit situation is that there is no safety valve to help us flush away any unintended consequential crap that making, and carrying though, a bad decision could potentially leave us with for decades. Once the blue touch paper of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been lit there is no way of putting it out, and stopping its ignition from blasting the UK into who knows where.
During the referendum both sides accused the other of scaremongering and, maybe, we all were at it? The point is, it was like two poker players engaging in a bidding war, with no cards actually being laid on the table. This led the public to ask, maybe there are some facts behind the players' expressionless faces, or maybe they are bluffing to gain a psychological advantage?

Personally I saw a lot of claims and counter claims as to what the cards would look like when they hit the table, especially in terms of their economic impact. But we won't know the truth of any of this for months, years even, in some cases. So my question is why would we, as a sane electorate, act hastily and bail out of the EU when we haven't actually seen the cards we're playing with?

Personally I believe that when the British public start to see the truth behind some of the things they were told during the referendum campaign many will lose their zeal for an EU departure. Already there is economic data coming to light that may start to change people's minds. Terrifyingly production and new orders, measured by the Purchasing Manufacturers Index (PMI), in the UK economy plummeted in July, in what represents the biggest month-on-month drop since the index began in 1996. And Construction also experienced its biggest slowdown since 2009 last month.

For me this is only the start of what I'm sure will be a stream of bad economic data, which will have a huge impact on people's thinking on Brexit. And when it starts to hit their pockets as it inevitably will the mood in the country, and the will of the people, I am convinced, will change. People may have voted for Brexit in June 2016, but I'll wager that by spring 2017 common sense will prevail and bring people to their senses, making the referendum vote more a cry for help that must be heeded, that a collective economic suicide.

Perhaps Theresa May's mantra isn't quite what it seems? Could it be that 'Brexit is Brexit' isn't so much a statement of intent by the PM, but more of a warning that we should think very carefully before we abandon the EU because this one's for keeps?