Brexit has failed its due diligence process – leader comment

Brexit is about more than the economy but its damaging effects are becoming clearer by the day. Brexiteers need a second vote to enable them to decide whether it’s still worth the cost.

Financial giant pwc advises that when you “buy an asset or a company or invest in a major project you need as much detail about what you’re investing in as possible”. The firm’s due diligence service, it adds, “investigates the attractiveness of an investment to help you understand what makes a transaction successful”.

Before the 2016 EU referendum, it’s probably fair to say that Remainers and Brexiteers had little understanding about the attractiveness or otherwise of Brexit & Co.

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However, quite a bit of due diligence has been done since and there is a widespread acceptance that it will have a negative effect on the economy. A no-deal Brexit has even been compared to the 2008 financial crash, prompting warnings from both the Confederation of British Industry and Trades Union Council.

Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the European Council in Brussels. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

But leaving the EU was always about more than the pounds and pence and, for many Brexiteers, it is still the right thing to do – “taking back control” of our affairs.

Some even think that a no-deal Brexit is a price worth paying, which in The Scotsman’s opinion is a recklessly dangerous view.

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The journalist Peter Oborne, writing for the openDemocracy website, explained why he had voted for Brexit. “It’s an exaggeration to say the European Union is anti-democratic, but it is not democratic. This leads to a problem. The politicians operating at a national level are accountable for decisions made in Brussels or Berlin for which they have no responsibility,” he explained.

And this democratic disconnect is indeed a real problem for the EU which has to be solved if it is to thrive.

But the main point of Oborne’s article was to explain why he now wanted to “suspend” Brexit.

“If we are honest, we Brexiteers have to admit that the economic arguments for Brexit have been destroyed by a series of shattering blows,” he wrote.

In essence, what he is saying is that Brexit, as currently formulated, has failed the informal due diligence process and we should hold off from concluding the deal.

The gridlock in Parliament is further evidence of this – there appears to be no way to leave the EU that is good enough to win over the majority of MPs.

And even if they managed to cobble together a majority for some kind of deal, would this really be what people voted for?

Only a second referendum would tell us for sure.