Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Brexit - at last, perhaps
So we are off, the first round of negotiations has started. David Davis, a solid pair of hands if not spectacular, has laid out the terms -
Leaving the EU
Leaving the Single Market
Leaving the Customs Union
This has not made Barnier very happy, nor the Remain media who are now starting on their long campaign of 'UK failing at negotiations" which will be a very dull and uninspiring commentary for the next two years.
It will, even if untrue, do for the Tory party. Their reward for achieving Brexit will be ballot box defeat, a la Churchill and 1945.
This of course is dependent on May holding on as Prime Minister for some time, which again the media are trying their best to prevent. I can only hope she is strong enough to realise that now the election is kind of won, she can really settle in for a year or two before quitting - enough to give time to the Brexit team to have more of less completed the negotiations.
Oddly, the piece I see a lot of commentators missing is that there is this 'negotiation failure' mantra. Actually, with the terms above there is little to negotiate in reality - basically we agree a big settlement payment, Irish border issue and EU citizens rights - then onto a trade deal. The trade deal may end up in a transitional agreement, but as it will be for goods and not services, this is really not that hard to do.
An actual negotiation, which Labour and others are ignorantly promoting as part of their populist binge, of trying to stay in the Single Market but with restricted immigration - that would be tough to do! Sensibly, we are not even trying it.
As a final anecdote, I did meet a junior UK negotiator rather randomly the other day (civil servant, not politician), they were of the view if the media just dropped the pressure a bit everyone would be pleasantly surprised at how successful the chosen strategy will be.