Sunday, March 31, 2019

Brexit isn't S.M.A.R.T.

If you've been through an annual performance evaluation in a large company, chances are the HR department has introduced you to the notion of setting SMART goals.

For those unfamiliar with this horror, a SMART goal is:
  • Specific - you have to avoid meaningless waffle
  • Measurable - otherwise how can you prove you've achieved it
  • Attainable - there's no point trying to do something impossible
  • Relevant - the goal must match a requirement
  • Timely - you have to be able to achieve the goal within the reporting period
How does Brexit stack up against the S.M.A.R.T. scheme?

  • Specific - Brexit is vague, undefined, or has multiple definition, possibly meaning something different to every Brexit supporter. Characterized by the vacuous slogan 'Brexit means Brexit'.
  • Measurable - fails again, largely because you can't measure something that isn't even defined. But on any objective measure, Brexit fails on every single measurable test - it won't bring more sovereignty, it won't bring more trade, it won't make us richer
  • Attainable - again, you can't attain something that isn't defined, but looking at most of the individual options for Brexit, most are simply outright impossible - they're simply incompatible with international law, or violate various UK or EU treaties
  • Relevant - for most of the individual issues that people claim to be concerned about, Brexit is an irrelevance, it's UK government policy that's the cause of the problem, not EU membership
  • Timely - claims that we would have all our trade deals rolled over and ready to go have proven false, the reality has proved that any form of Brexit is neither easy nor quick, and if we go ahead with it it's going to tie up and paralyze UK politics for a decade or more
Of course, apart from being vague and unspecified, Brexit also suffers from the fundamental problem that it shouldn't be considered as an objective in its own right - Brexit isn't something you should aim to achieve, it's rather a process by which other objectives are achieved. And when you look at those other objectives - such as sovereignty, prosperity, trade, immigration - it's clear that Brexit is at best irrelevant and most likely plain incompatible with achieving those goals.

Brexit just isn't the S.M.A.R.T. thing to do.