Thursday, 12 May 2016

Yes, Mr Osborne. You'll have to do your jobs.

George Osborne has said of Brexit re-negotiations: "If we leave EU, House of Commons is going to be doing nothing else for many, many years".

He's right. The government will have to govern. It's going to take years to undo the damage. We are going to take years rebuilding our domestic expertise and design new policy. The whole Whitehall establishment will have to be re-ordered and redesigned. The Foreign Office will have to get busy doing what they should have been doing for the last forty years.

We are going to have to have serious debates about fisheries management. We are going to have to rethink our rural policy. We are going to have to take a very close look at our energy policy. We will need a serious debate about foreign aid, immigration and trade. We are going to have to rethink the way we do nearly everything. Leaving the EU means rebuilding our capacity for self-government and we will have to muddle through that process, kicking out the failures as we go.

What it does mean is that we are not bound by EU directives and targets which means we are free to innovate in policy making - which means we may actually see some change because ministers are then responsible. The buck stops with them rather than idly shrugging their shoulders and saying "the EU made me do it".

It will mean MPs don't get the time to make pettifogging incursions on our personal choices or debate the content of children's lunchboxes. Nor will they be free to have enquiries about Boaty McBoatface in select committees. They will have to get to grips with serious issues and behave like adults. And they are going to have to account for themselves when they get it wrong. So yes Mr Osborne. You and your ilk are going to have to do your jobs. That's what you're all afraid of, isn't it?

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