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Deal, or no deal? Sounds like a game show, I know, but it’s a phrase we are likely to hear muttered more and more towards the deadline for Britain leaving the EU. And not just muttered by Brits in London, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow. It’s going to be mentioned in many EU countries as well because there are a lot of French, Dutch, German and other nationalities whose livelihoods rest on the EU coming to terms with Britain.

Let’s get something straight from the get-go. No deal, doesn’t actually mean there will not be a deal between the EU and Britain. Britain will not be closing the shutters and locking up the shop overnight. There are many things the EU and Britain currently do jointly that will remain that way despite the fact Britain is leaving the EU in March 2019. Take for example the MNHQ in Northwood, England.

Northwood is the UK’s principal military headquarters site and is home to five operational headquarters which includes the Joint Forces Command HQ, including Permanent Joint Headquarters and the Joint Forces HQ, the Commander Naval Forces North and Headquarters of Commander in Chief Fleet. But it’s also the Multinational HQ which was developed for the European Union-led military Crisis Management Operations. This facility provides an essential infrastructure for a multinational staff and also provides a direct and secure communications link to Brussels. This facility isn’t going to be shut down come March 29th 2019.

But on a more basic level, there are many people, businesses and indeed trades that are either going to have to change or disappear completely. And it’s not all doom and gloom for the UK in some cases. Take for example fish and a small fishing community in the Netherlands in a place called Urk. A lot of fishermen from Urk fish under a UK flag. If a hard Brexit means no deal, these people could lose 50% of their current fishing quota overnight. This sort of loss would devastate a small community such as Urk.

If the UK PM needs a deal from the EU and the only way she can get her vote through the UK parliament is for a handful of Scottish MPs to vote for her, in return for Scottish fishing rights to be taken from the people of Urk, then that’s the bottom fallen out of their market. Of course the silly thing in this story is that most of the fish caught by these fishermen are Herring, which are mostly caught in UK waters. Over 90% of Herring are exported to Norway and the Netherlands because the British aren’t partial to Herring.

It’s all these small nuances that have to be taken into account and ironed out that most voters in the referendum of 2016 had no idea where going to be so complicated.

At the end of the day, a No Deal Brexit won’t actually mean there is no deal at all on anything, it will just mean there is no deal on some things, but there are deals in place, like Northwood, that will continue on unnoticed by the general public.

Confusion will reign for a long time after Brexit, but in the mean time, people like those in Urk will need to get accustomed to a famous Douglas Adams phrase from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

Read extracts from the soon to be published The Brittle Sea by Tom Kane here.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on Kobo

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here




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