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Jul 24, 2018

Phil's July Blog

Hard or Soft? Over recent months there has been much talk of a Hard Brexit, counter talk of a soft Brexit and very little by way of an alternative to either....

Let’s take a look at the feeble fare the British public has been offered to date…

A soft Brexit means that the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union will be much as it was previously – Britain would be out of the EU but would retain strong economic ties, make budgetary contributions and allow free movement of people.

Conversely, a Hard Brexit would mean the UK giving up unencumbered access to the EU’s single market in order to have full control over its borders. It would also almost certainly mean withdrawal from the EU’s customs union.

Polar opposites – one resulting in a great deal of effort, expense and disruption for almost negligible change; the other replacing the current arrangements with something not dissimilar to Trump’s wall.

It’s clear to me that neither are particularly attractive.

I believe it’s time we talked about a third option: a Spongy Brexit.

Ok, so a spongy Brexit might be full of holes but I’m convinced it holds water.

Let me explain…

A spongy Brexit means absorbing elements from both the Hard and Soft options – soaking up the best and watering down those that are less attractive.

It means squeezing the EU negotiators.

A spongy Brexit means going in hard and not showing a soft side until we’re out. It means being prepared to wipe things clean and not to throw in the sponge in the face of opposition.

A spongy Brexit means not being wet.

When a footballer is injured on the pitch, in the way that British pride has been injured by its diminishing role within a federated Europe, it’s not the referee that comes to the rescue, neither the other players. It’s the sponge. It’s simple and it’s effective – enabling the player to play on, albeit with just the hint of a limp.

A spongy Brexit is a clean Brexit.

A spongy Brexit means having something to throw back at Mr Barnier.

A spongy Brexit means going to the negotiations awash with ideas and wringing the best we can from every encounter.

So there you have it. My vote isn’t for a Hard Brexit and it isn’t for a soft Brexit. My vote’s for a spongy Brexit – really the only option likely to wash its face.

Now all we all we have to do is work hard to make sure a spongy Brexit is firmly on Mrs May’s bucket list. Like this and let’s all vote to make a spongy Brexit the only Brexit.


Phil Acock. MD of Fourayes, Vice-Chairman of English Apples & Pears, Fruitician and Mad Scientist

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