The Irish government started planning for Brexit in 2014, a full 2 years before the UK referendum, and lobbied both EU and Cameron to secure a yes vote. In contrast it seems the UK started debating the impact of Brexit on the Irish border in earnest about two weeks before the 29 March cliff-edge. “Easiest deal in history” and all that.

Bookmarked How the Irish backstop emerged as May’s Brexit nemesis (the Guardian)

Ireland was streets ahead of the UK when it came to planning for Britain’s exit

What a bleak description from the inside of the House of Commons. There really is no gap between voters and politicians, they’re all blindly groping in the dark. The dread is palpable, with Brexit being a way to express it more than its cause. The dread expresses itself differently elsewhere. We sense change is coming, is here, we sense our institutions and structures are ill equipped for it, while individually we feel change is affecting us like the weather, rolling over us, powerless to change it. The question is does that dread push you to reactionary positions and fear, melancholia for something that never existed in the first place? Or do you look around you for the tools that are within your grasp and start building, disregarding what has no immediate meaning for your own agency? The MP in this article seems to think the existing structures can’t be challenged, even while acknowledging the structures show themselves to be made of sand. Lamenting a lack of agency in the midst of where (in)decision will determine the outcome. Feeling trapped like this MP’s constituents themselves, not realizing the potential tools scattered around her/him. That makes this MP part of the problem, not the forced-to-be-passive-bystander s/he claims to be.

This definitely aligns with what I’ve seen in my network in the past two years. Whether it is just relocating the company to Estonia administratively, to run it online within the single market, or upping sticks and relocating with the company and the family to the EU27. Or getting a EU27 nationality to be able to keep doing what they’re doing within the EU27. While some of the bigger companies moving HQs or starting new subsidiaries is more visible, I already wondered when and how the invisible shift of a few jobs here, a handful there, to the EU27 would become a major news item. As they say here in the Netherlands, SME’s are the motor of the economy, not the juggernauts. Seeing a steady trickle of those SMEs move away from the UK can’t but end up having a big impact economically.

Seeing another UK friend as a sideline in an exchange mention implementing their ‘exit strategy’ from the UK. Relocating business, house put up for sale, looking for a school for their kids in the EU27, etc.