Would you trust a pilot who doesn't know how to land?
If the government can’t reveal its Brexit plan before February, why does it want to trigger Article 50 in March?
That’s a question someone should put to Brexit Secretary David Davis, who yesterday told the Brexit select committee he’s still scrabbling around to come up with a plan.
“The reasons for setting the final possible date, 31 March [for triggering Article 50], were numerous but one of them was the determination to carry out all of the policy work first, consult properly and then bring something to parliament. …
It won’t be next month. The policy work is still under way and there are quite a few decisions that have to be made.”
Well, that’s reassuring. So just to clarify where we are, the government is working on a plan, in secret, for taking Britain out of the EU, and until last week was refusing to say what was in it beyond empty platitudes.
Now parliament has backed a motion saying the government will lay out its plans before Article 50 is triggered – but not until a few weeks before, since the plan, er, isn’t finished yet.
We don’t know exactly when the plan would supposedly be published, or precisely when in March Article 50 will be triggered. So this would give the country eight weeks at the most to scrutinise the plans for the biggest change in how we’re governed in maybe half a century.
After those few weeks of frenzied debate, MPs will vote on whether to trigger Article 50 at Theresa May’s arbitrary deadline – unless of course she wins her Supreme Court appeal and is able to bypass a vote in parliament.
If that happens, Davis et al can launch the good ship Brexit with a grin and a smile at powerless MPs, clutching a plan that as yet does not exist.
Who has ‘control’ in this scenario? ‘The people’? Or sneering Tory ministers who think themselves above parliament and the law?
And why the urgency when they more or less admit they don’t know what they’re doing? Perhaps they think Brexit is like removing a plaster – one quick rip to get the pain over with, before we get cold feet.
But why should we trust a pilot who says he hasn’t worked out how to land?
Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.