Time left to stop Brexit and secure a People’s Vote

#SwanseaWalk4EU – Day 4 – Cardiff

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Edmund Sides

Day04 – Cardiff: Ely to the Senedd

Laurence, who had generously offered accommodation for two nights, drove Rhiannon (my wife)  and myself to the B&Q carpark at Culverhouse in the morning arriving there shortly before the scheduled departure of 9:00.  Our departure from our host’s home was delayed about fifteen minutes as I was still completing yesterday’s blog.  I must try to get it finished the night before in future!

A small group was waiting for us at the start point, including Anita who was providing vehicle support for the day, and also Helen, Vicky, Robin and Gareth who were our accompanying walkers for the day.  We also had my first four-legged supporter on my journey so far, Cybi, Gareth’s border collie who has amazingly expressive ear movements.

After taking a few group photographs we started off down Cowbridge Road heading towards the Cathedral, passing milestones indicating that I still had 161 and then 160 miles to London.  Once again there were numerous appreciate hoots and thumbs-up gestures from passing motorists which lifted our spirits.  We left the Cowbridge Road before reaching the Cathedral to take a pleasant stroll across Llandaff Fields (which Wikipedia reports as having being purchased for Cardiff Council from the mill-owning Thompson Family in 1898).  Just as we were about to leave the park we stopped to chat with a passer-by who had asked what we were doing.  I was asked by the passer-by, whose name I later discovered was Fran, if I would do a short interview which she could post on a local group account (@pontcannahub) which she was involved with.  I agreed and gave a short explanation about what I was doing which is now available on Twitter.

We continued along Cathedral Road heading along in towards the castle, stopping to take photographs with the Principality Stadium in the background and then a milestone indicating 158 miles to London.  We walked along a short stretch of St. Mary Street and then turned right onto Bute Street to head towards the Senedd.  On the way, Gareth who was very knowledgeable about local history pointed out the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas and explained that there was a large Cypriot community in Cardiff – I am learning new things all the time on this walk!

After passing through the remainder of Butetown we arrived at the Senedd to be greeted by an enthusiastic group of twenty to thirty people including Rhiannon’s sister-in-law (Nia), niece Elen, and her fiancé Nick.  We spent about half an hour taking group photographs in front of the Senedd before adjourning for a soup and sandwich at a local café.  Luckily the weather then and for all the morning had been cloudy and sunny making a pleasant contrast with yesterday afternoon’s rain.

Today was the shortest leg so far, covering 6.8 miles (01.9 km) so as to give a chance to recharge batteries and rest my feet for the long haul that remains.

Brexit choices and decision makers

During today’s walk, I have been reflecting on the important choices and decisions that need to be made during the remainder of March 2019 in terms of the legal and regulatory relationship between the UK and the EU.  The outcome of this process will not only have significant consequences for my daughters’ generation but also for my own in terms of where the government’s energies and allocation of resources are directed.

I believe that the choices and decision-makers can be summarised as follows

With regards to choices, I believe that there are three broad options with regards to the legal and regulatory relationships between the UK and the EU, namely:

  1. No deal, meaning that we leave the EU without a formal legally binding withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU.  In this scenario, our government would have to spend an unknown amount of time trying to negotiate new trade deals and other arrangements with both the EU and other countries around the world.
  2. May’s Deal, where parliament approves and ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement, with or without modifications.  In this scenario, we would then enter a transition period during which a detailed agreement between the UK and the EU would be negotiated.  This would involve a minimum of two more years of negotiations between our government and the EU.
  3. Revoke Article 50. In this scenario, the government would Revoke Article 50, which would also require the UK Parliament to make changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill which has legislated for our withdrawal from the EU on Friday 29th March.  In this scenario, we would then remain in the EU with the same benefits and responsibilities that we currently have.  This would most likely be the least disruptive scenario in terms of legal and regulatory changes.

With regards to decision makers on the UK side we have three players, namely:

  1. The UK Government, which is in the leading position to make a choice or determine the choices to be put before Parliament
  2. The UK Parliament, which has more difficulty acting on its own. However, most, if not all, of the government’s choices will have to be approved by Parliament.
  3. UK voters, by having a say in another referendum (the People’s Vote option).  This is being suggested as a way of providing a public vote of approval for a deal that is negotiated by the UK government.   This is very much a last resort since it would require a delay of Article 50 for several months in order to allow time to complete the necessary processes involved in running a referendum, including the critical matter of exactly what wording would be on the referendum paper.

I will provide more thoughts on the 3*3 matrix, representing the different possible combinations of these three choices and three methods of decision making, in a later blog.