Today, Barnier and Davis held a joint press conference announcing that a transitional period, to last from the end of March 2019 until December 31, 2020, had been agreed by the two parties. However, as ever with these negotiations, it’s worth looking into the detail. There are days when that whole “Theresa May is a secret genius” thing seems more believable on than on others, and today it seems like she may have slipped the UK into a position in which soft Brexit becomes inevitable. Again, I have no idea if that was her intention, but if it always secretly was, she’s done it in a way few could have.
The text on Ireland essentially signs the UK up to either keeping Northern Ireland in an arrangement that amounts to Customs Union/Single Market membership in every practical way – or having the whole of the UK inside the CU and SM. Yes, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, but the government have just announced that they’ve bagged a transitional arrangement to last 21 months and they would be in serious trouble with business if they rolled away from that one in a few months’ time. What this means is that either there is a customs border down the Irish Sea – which means the DUP brings down the government and we very likely have another general election in late 2018/early 2019 – or the UK stays in the CU and SM. These are now becoming unavoidable realities. The DUP can deny it, but that’s what the text of the agreement means in practice. The only other option is thinking the EU at some point do a complete about face and say, “You know what? The Zeppelins checking car registrations thing might work after all”, which simply isn’t going to happen. It’s NI stays in the CU and SM in some capacity, or it’s no deal. And no deal is increasingly unlikely for many reasons.
Will this all be enough to stop businesses fleeing the UK for the remainder of 2018? The government is banking on that to some degree. As always, a lot of today is just more cans being kicked down the road. Yet with Brexit, there’s only so much road in front of us.
Let’s be honest with ourselves Nick.
Comrade Corbyn would be doing a better job. Theresa the appeaser’s no secret genius. She is really rather silly if you ask me. If I were her I’d be doing, er, whatever Corbyn’s doing – he’s the real secret genius.
Anyway, you probably wouldn’t understand. Why? Because you’re no secret genius.
Cory Bin says
Rosa, spot on as always.
Corbyn really is a good las.
Cory Bin says
Cory Bin says
I guess one thing Corbyn would bring to the table would be the ability to distract and confuse the EU negitiators with his legions of furious hat-fixated acolytes.
Paddy Pantsdown says
I prefer Vince’s hat.
I have been saying this since December.
What is relevant here is Brexiters’ wilful refusal to acknowledge reality, so they have ignored what has been obvious for the last 3 months. This is important because they will continue in this vein, there will be no agreement within the governing party at any level including cabinet and the ‘negotiations’ will continue to be a fiasco. I do not believe that at the end of 2019 there will be much to show for the ‘transition’. It is not really a transition because it has nowhere to go to. May 2020 is the effective deadline, since any post-Brexit proposals will have to be scrutinised by 27 individual member states as well as the EU parliament and the more ‘bespoke’ the deal the more difficult it will be to ratify.
My prediction is a Brexit limbo, not in the EU, not in EFTA, but in the Single Market and locked into the EU’s seven year Financial Framework. The Court of Justice will still be there, but the government would try to minimise involvement with it, leading to an over-zealous interpretation of EU directives and regulations. I cannot see how other countries could get anywhere without clarity of the UK’s post Brexit status and there will be no clarity.
Let’s remind ourselves, Nick isn’t overly good at predictions. Didn’t he completely rule out Theresa May from being Conservative leader back in 2014. Nick, I fear you’re wrong again.
How is Nick wrong? He is very much hedging his bets here on anything other than a ‘hard’ Brexit. This includes a variety of possibilities; he also includes the possibility that the government might collapse.
You don’t have to agree with everything Nick says.
I think we can ALL agree he’s wrong on Corbyn…