The corporate awayday. We’ve all been there. A few dozen executives transported to a country house somewhere and locked in a room to thrash out the latest marketing strategy or – hell on earth – the organisational vision, mission and values.
Well today Theresa May runs the corporate awayday to end them all. Not for the Cabinet to debate what colour the logo should be, or whether the company should claim to be “passionate” or “solutions-focussed” but instead the warring Ministers will be locked in a room with phones and even Apple Watches confiscated, to finally agree Britain’s plan for our post-Brexit relationship with the EU. The only deadline, we are told, is 3pm tomorrow when the meeting will break out for the real national obsession, as England take on Sweden in the quarter final.
The stakes could not be higher and after months of sitting on the fence, Theresa May’s plan she is putting to the Cabinet appears to edge towards a softer version of Brexit than previously suggested. We won’t be in the customs union, but we’ll have a customs relationship with the EU that looks suspiciously similar. We won’t be in the Single Market, but it appears we’ll “voluntarily” follow all the rules anyway.
Can the Brexiteers stomach this? That’s the big question of the day. Will they resign in protest? Or will they – as some are suggesting – both refuse to resign and refuse to agree, forcing the PM to either sack them or kick the can down the road.
It has felt like Brexit D-day before several times in the last two years, and somehow the big decisions have been deferred. With our actual departure just nine months away, it can’t be deferred much longer. Will today finally be the day when the Government stops negotiating with itself, and can finally start negotiating with Europe?