Are we there yet?

Comment By BVAA Director Rob Bartlett

For anyone who has had kids, this phrase will usually trigger adrenaline and quicken your pulse just a tad.

It’s a perpetual question, uttered from the back seat on family car journeys, however long or short. The impatience to get there, expressed by those not driving and who have little notion of what the journey entails.

Cue Brexit. As I write, us back-seat folk could see our country on the cusp of a deal, or perhaps at the other extreme, two more years of utter carnage in our political system. Or perhaps a few weeks. Or maybe it’s January 2020. Or something else. An election perhaps? Or another Referendum. What if that turns out 50/50 again? It bears no thinking about.

We saw in our own BVAA Brexit poll, a little after the 2016 referendum, that there was the initial uncertainty, finely balanced at 50/50 – just like the country – but very much around the moderate, centre ground.

In the second year’s poll, more extreme views (with a largely similar split). The third and last poll, a significant lurch to ‘Leave’ - no doubt caused by sheer frustration at the whole painful process. But frustration isn’t justification for a rushed decision.

For our part, BVAA has kept our technical experts informed of the practicalities of possible changes to relevant EU legislation, on the issues concerning Rules of Origin and impact on Notified and Competent bodies, etc. On occasion we found it surprising how little some of the NGOs and authorities actually knew.

We’ve kept our more commerciallyminded members informed of the useful updates (amid the fluff) in the plethora of .GOV.UK email notifications.

It’s been quite a surprise to hear of the relatively low levels of preparedness and contingency planning however.

Are we there yet? The problem is, we all believe – nay hope - there will ultimately be a deal. Or as Mrs Bartlett said, ‘they’re in denial.’ She may have a point.

We are as rabbits, stunned into paralysis by the oncoming headlights of the Brexit negotiations process. I suspect this runs all the way up to Government level.

But in Parliament however, they are not all idiots. I’m sure some will have realised they are personally accountable for delay, indecision or reckless enthusiasm, and will, come an election, surely be unemployed thereafter.

So for some there is a very practicable reason for delaying the process, as long as possible. After all, few people volunteer to be made redundant two years earlier than they might be otherwise.

However this is just the opening legislation. We have a whole trade agreement process to get through yet, and that may be many more years of uncertainty.

Of this I can be sure... While there may be initial confusion and uncertainty in the denouement, the British Valve Industry is a strong and stubborn beast. There’s nothing we cannot overcome together.

‘Stronger Together’ seems a very apt Association strapline in these troubled times

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 51

Summer 2020 // Issue 53
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