With the hectic and fast-paced lives we lead, Christmas and New Year can be a great time to reflect with friends and family both about loved ones and the year ahead.
There’s no denying that the last few months have seen one issue top of the agenda. You guessed it: Brexit.
And it seems likely that Brexit will continue to dominate the airwaves for first quarter of 2019 and perhaps much of the year. So it’s inevitable that the subject will pop up over Christmas.
So my message this Christmas is please be reassured that life will go on beyond the 29th March, much the same as it does today. If we agree a deal to withdraw from the EU: life will go. If we do not reach an agreement: life will go on. If we somehow cobble together an agreement for some sort of complicated Norway type of arrangement: life will go on. And if we end up managing a transition to the WTO structures, as seems likely right now then: life will go on.
We will not be running out of food and water and the planes will fly!
Clearly there will be longer term consequences of our exit from the EU, but most experts agree that these will be gradual over a10-20 year period and barely noticeable on a day to day basis. If you’re an optimist, then you may feel that things will improve with rapidly rising GDP and our nation standing tall on the world stage. If you’re a pessimist, then you’ll feel that our economy will continue to grow reduced rate and we may find ourselves with less influence in world affairs.
The most pressing concern will be what happens in the months immediately after we leave the EU. It is hard to tell exactly, but in key areas the Government has already undertaken, and implemented in many cases, the key measures required to keep things moving.
When it comes to EU citizens in the UK, the Government has already guaranteed they’ll able to apply for settled or pre-settled status in the event that the UK leaves the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.
In aviation we have already signed the agreements to enable our airspace and European airspace to continue to be shared.
And when it comes to even more detailed matters such as company law, I’m pleased to say that I served on committees to sort this out in the last month or two.
So I am confident that deal or no-deal our Civil Service is more than capable of handling the transition even if it is a little bumpy for the first few weeks and months.
So I hope we’ll all be able to switch off from Brexit over Christmas and concentrate our efforts and energies on family and friends whilst sparring a thought for those who are unable to do so.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.