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What Does Brexit Reveal About Government Responsibility?

What Does Brexit Reveal About Government Responsibility?

No. 7-8, Sep.-Dec. 2017 » Bridging News

In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, Andrei Sandu relayed his observations on the emotional rift between the ‘remain’ and ‘leave’ voters. He noted how many citizens defined ‘leave vs. remain’ as ‘change vs. an unhappy status quo’. The government tried to push for unity, but it was clear that the UK had by then become a “fractured country”.

The referendum’s outcome was undoubtedly a disappointment, and it appeared that even the majority of people in the UK government did not expect the result. This was evident in the lack of feasible solutions for the repercussions of Britain’s separation from the EU. Inevitably, what occurred next was a time of extreme uncertainty.

Two years on, it looks as if the nation’s leaders are still in the dark when it comes to government responsibility. There is an obvious issue of transparency, and this was confirmed when it was revealed that a Brexit report was kept secret by the government. The Independent shared HM Treasury’s economic forecast, which the government chose not to disclose to the public.

Perhaps the reason behind it is that the results are disturbing. They found that Brexit poses a serious threat to the stability of the UK economy in the long-term. The data implies that “even a soft Brexit would harm UK GDP by 2030”.

Spreading such sensitive information could have caused mass panic. Nevertheless, the British public have the right to know because at the end of the day, everyone will feel the effects if the economy crashes. Ultimately, the ending was the same, as official documents containing the information were leaked.

This incident only proves once more than the government has failed to come up with a viable contingency plan. There was an absence of long-term solutions regarding the probable scenarios of a post-referendum economy. If these were prepared in the first place, why was there a need to hide the results of the analyses?

Granted, that is easier said than done. But laying out the problem and announcing the best solutions for it is better than keeping said problem secret. The former scenario would have sparked concerns, but knowing that the government is fully capable of handling the issue would have appeased most people. Try to compare that with rumours and then actual news of an impending economic meltdown.

The good news is that the uncertainty has faded slightly as the government relayed their plans for the next two years. FXCM lists unilateral negotiations on national trade deals and the retention of immigrant rights among the most important factors that would contribute towards a seamless Brexit transition. These steps were specifically drafted to address economic concerns with regards to the completion of Brexit negotiations.

In addition, the Prime Minister is strengthening her control over the nation’s exit strategy, especially after a series of cabinet resignations over the past few months. The Cabinet Office will be the new headquarters that will house 50 Brexit staff. This is seen as a step in the right direction.

All in all, if anything can be taken from this debacle it is that the government is slowly accepting that transparency is the only way to move forward. Yes, they have made huge mistakes but they are trying to move past the belief that the UK is a “fractured country” as best as possible so that it does not have a detrimental effect on the economy in the short and long-term.

 
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OEconomica No. 1, 2016