March 20, 2019
As Brexit Approaches, Messaging Becomes More Impactful
As the deadline for the expected “Brexit” of the United Kingdom from the European Union draws closer, the messaging from British lawmakers is becoming more pronounced and emphatic. All involved want to be seen as being on the right side of history on this, and they also want to have some leeway just in case their current position doesn’t work out as planned.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who narrowly survived a no-confidence vote earlier this year, is putting on a brave face after two different rejections of her plans to manage Brexit. May has been strong in her insistence that Brexit will work out well for Britain, and that the country will not leave the EU without a firm agreement.
That message is specifically for the millions of British and EU citizens worried about the potentially disastrous economic ramifications of the UK leaving the EU without a deal in place. With this subtext, May has gone back to the drawing board yet again, promising to push for yet another agreement in the coming week.
That promise has come with a caveat: a request that Brexit be delayed until the summer. That request has met with strong negative responses from some EU representatives, frustrated with what some are calling “bickering” in the UK Parliament.
One EU spokesman left no question as to where he stood. European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said, “Unless there is a clear majority in the House of Commons for something precise, there is no reason at all for the European Council to agree” to a delay.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said he expected “more decisions” from London. Meanwhile, back in Britain, there is a growing sentiment of both resignation and frustration. Media and pundits continue to barrage the government with scathing criticism for the apparent lack of ability to create consensus on this issue.
In the end, though, all the rhetoric will eventually give way to the reality of the situation. When that happens, there will be consequences, so key figures must be very careful with the messaging they use and how their position themselves. Thus, going forward, everyone involved needs to exercise caution what they say and how they say it.
With the eyes of the world paying very close attention, a misguided or misinterpreted message here could have dire and long-term consequences, both politically and economically. Leaders in both politics and business must be careful and circumspect in their communication, all while doing their best to keep their constituents or customers happy with their position on this historic issue.