To my mind and whilst no one was looking, the situation on Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU has reached and passed the “tipping point” and regardless of whether you were a Remainer or a Leaver, this has a crucial impact on both the UK and the EU which requires a radical rethink by all UK citizens.
My point is that regardless of your previous position on Brexit, in our own self interests, we must all be Leavers now for the following reasons…
There Is No EU Negotiation Position
At first glance this may seem a strange thing to say because aided by the British Media, the impression has been created that the UK Negotiators were unprepared, incompetent and asking or expecting the impossible. Whereas the EU was prepared, organised and being very patient but workmanlike which is about as far as you can get away from the truth which one suspects is totally the opposite.
The UK position has been clear from day one; “Yes we will pay money but what trade deal do we get in return before we settle on the amount ?” The response from the EU has always been that “We need clarification, London has not told us what it wants etc.” Which of course is nonsense, they were told upfront what the UK wanted and additionally what is wanted is in the economic interests of the EU too, so what is going on here ?
The key problem is that there are 27 countries plus the EU Parliament to be consulted all of whom can wield a veto. Whilst for some key member states, continuing trade with the UK is important, for many/most it is less significant, such countries have other interests and concerns to do with the EU itself. It is important to understand this because during any ratification process, these countries may use their veto, not because they care about the deal with the UK but because of other and unrelated interests which they might satisfy by threatening to put a spanner in the works over the UK deal.
The consequence is that the EU does not have a starting negotiation position. Germany who always likes to hide behind the EU as a better way of avoiding confrontation with other member states, particularly France, talks about “Maintaining the integrity of the EU”. This was expressed as the desire that the UK should not have a better position outside the EU than it had whilst a member. But that was always an odd thing to say to large economy that you still want access to even if they are no longer a member of the EU.
Now Peel it Apart
For all the fuss being made about Citizens Rights, The Irish Border and Money, issues that “Must be settled before we can move on”, if you peel them apart they are all nonsense.
Citizens rights is really about the significant number of nationals particularly from newer members like Poland who are resident in the UK and who’s remittances “back home” are having a significant impact on developing their domestic economy.
As the border with the Republic will be the UK’s only land border with the EU, normally the issues of Customs Regulations would apply however, this is politically a nightmare and one that won’t get fixed by the end of March 2019 or likely, the end of March 2119. It is best left to the governments of the UK and the Republic to between them manage the position as best they can, because they have the experience to do so, Brussels doesn’t.
Finally or mainly we have the money, they want “Loads of money” and why not if you can get it ? However, even this is a nonsense because not just in politics but also in commerce, you have to offer something in order to get paid money, you just don’t get paid for nothing !
My point is that these “preconditions” are nothing but a smokescreen to hide the fact that they have nothing to offer the UK, they are still in shock that any country would trigger Article 50. Put another way:
If the British Government tomorrow said “Okay, we will pay you £100 bn over 10 years, what do we get in return ?” There would be total silence, there does not exist a trade package that they could put on the table and say “For your £100 bn , you get this.” They haven’t done any work on it and probably have no idea where to start and this is a really big problem. Given the glacial movement of the EU historically over these matters, my guess would be that it will take around 10 years to secure a trade deal between the UK and the EU.
This Would Be Bad News
For businesses on both sides of the Channel, it is uncertainty that is their real problem and in the end, deal or no deal doesn’t matter too much to them as long as they know what the situation will be so that they can plan ahead and accommodate it. A 10 year period of uncertainty whilst we go to and fro on negotiations with Brussels would not be acceptable to them.
Further, looked at in this light, the whole idea of a “Transitional Period” of two years also looks like a nonsense too because all that means is that nothing changes except UK politicians do not have to go to Brussels summit meetings. Whether it is business or the EU rethinking its budget arrangements having lost the money the UK contributed, a further two years is just prevarication that serves no practical purpose for either side.
The logic dictates that declaring a “No Deal” right now cuts through all this nonsense, everybody knows where they stand. The UK and the EU could then break the problem down into manageable parts and negotiate deals on an industry or sector by sector basis. The big bonus to this is that multiple teams made up of knowledgeable people from each sector, could negotiate simultaneously thus driving things forward faster and without having to wait on signing some “grand bargain” that includes everything at some time in the future.
In return for this, the UK could maintain Mrs May’s Florence offer to complete the 7 year budget cycle even though we will have left the EU by then.
The way things are currently shaped with everything being dragged out unnecessarily, it would be a “Death by 1,000 cuts” for the British economy so it is not acceptable to anyone, Remainer or Leaver, we therefore need to unite to make Leave work for us and move ahead in the best interests of Britain.