The Economy is too important to be left to politicians
The history books may record why it was that when the North was at a Brexit crossroads the business community here remained largely silent during much of the period since the June 2016 referendum. That it has eventually chosen to speak up raises a question mark about why up to this point it decided not to, or couldn’t agree to. Even though there has been significant evidence of the Brexit threat to business and other sectors.
The decision to speak out has also raised the question about what the business community does next. Much of the research to date has been around the threat to businesses but the evidence has also revealed the importance of existing arrangements from a business, social and community perspective. In other words greater flexibility around the border, since the dark days of border security, has been only positive in supply chain terms, ease of movement, VAT processes, to name but a few. In short the opening up of the border has presented immense added value to the economy right across the island.
The Northern Ireland vote rejecting Brexit was never properly reflected given that business voice was largely silent and the political one divided. The politics won’t change but the new found voice has identified not just the threat but the real value that cross border trade represents.
So what does it do next? Well since the statement it has been both lauded and condemned from each side of the Brexit debate, which may point to why it hasn’t spoken up in the first place. But it may also point to a realisation that just like politics the economy is far too important to leave to the politicians.