Tuesday 6 November 2018

Nowt wrong with the Brexit backstop

I really can't believe the level of briefing going on by ministers and opposition politicians on the state of the Brexit negotiations. There are, as we have known for a while now, no simple or good options that please everybody.

The EU has made plenty of mistakes along the way to this point. Insisting that its political aims, such as no hard border in Ireland, are in fact technical aims. They knew they had drawn red lines that were incompatible with Brexit and then forced the UK into agreeing them  - yes, the UK was utterly stupid to walk into the trap, but nonetheless, it has not worked out to the EU advantage.

This is because the EU wants a deal too, Macron in France and Merkel in Germany do not want a catastrophic end to UK membership when Eastern Europe and Italy are already finding manifold reasons to dislike the EU. So, a deal will be done.

On Ireland, the Irish have been very content to play hardball with the EU backing but that will change if the EU back off a little themselves.

Yet there is no reason for them too. A UK that remains in the Customs Union for another two or three years whilst solutions are worked out (away from the glare of BREXIT media madness) is the right route to take.

Why the Leavers are so against this is beyond me, all the years of wanting to leave the EU and now they fear they will Leave but not 'properly.' Madness. Also, in Parliament the remain in the Customs Union for a bit is probably the only vote May can win with enough remain rebels on both sides and few Brexiteers really brave enough to push for no deal AND a Corbyn Government.

Hopefully, this can all be decided soon as the economy is definitely starting to feel slow in part due to the tortuous path of the these negotiations. If it takes another three years (still prior to the next election) to work out the Canada Plus trade deal then fine - really, that will be fine with everyone. Immigration is already dropping and the Government can always focus on Non-EU immigration for some red meat in the meantime to sate its UKIP wing.

For the EU, allowing the UK to remain in the customs union whilst exiting is a big deal as it ruins its hand in the future negotiations - quite the opposite from what the Brexiteers are trying to parlay currently. With the UK not suffering any economic damage, the negotiations can proceed in an atmosphere of calm  - to date the Eu has skilfully played on the deadlines imposed by itself and the UK to control the process. After March 2019, a reset will allow cool heads to prevail at last.


Thud said...

Seems a fair summary to me, I just want to move on leaving the lunatics to fixate on something new while we sort out the mess and as a result keep corby and his twats out of power.

BlokeInBrum said...

It's hardly surprising that Leavers are fearful of a stitch-up.
The entire establishment including MPs and the media is against the UK leaving.
The last thing the EU wants is a large, competetive economy, with global links and a world beating financial center off its coast.
Especially if we're set free from some of the red tape and artificial constraints that we are currently under.
Who trusts the current Government to look out for the average citizen?
They haven't so far so why should they start now?

CityUnslicker said...

I am going to deliberately start a fight with ND now. I am a strong believer in closing something and that deals have momentum. After they are closed, things can be altered if really necessary - but after.

Worrying over excessively about getting the bestest of the best deal before you start is a guaranteed way to not do a deal. I know that Goldman Sachs and all the clever people like to go on about how they are so smart they screwed the other side up - but really, in this case - getting over the line is very important. Falling short either means the death of brexit by remain or death brexit through no deal.

Anonymous said...

The original post is nonsense, and I suspect you know it. Keeping the UK in the Customs Union will ensure that Britain cannot negotiate deals with other countries, and will have to continue to abide by EU rules and tariffs.

A "backstop" on the Irish border without an end date will mean that there is never an agreement, since the EU has made it plain that it does not want one.

Thus, we will be permanently stuck in a half-in, half-out, treaty-bound prison. Our corrupt pro-EU Establishment will do nothing to change that.

The only solution is to leave altogether on World Trade terms. That doesn't require either EU or Parliamentary approval, as Article 50 has been triggered and cannot be revoked without the consent of all 27 other countries.

Nick Drew said...

A fight with me ?!?

I have long since learned to be skeptical of counsels of perfection. (I might even be able to go with your optimism, if I thought we had anyone with half a negotiator's wit batting on our side, capable of parlaying our reasonable 2016 hand into a decent number of tricks.)

I also know that 24 months of Corbyn/McDonnell would be worse for this country than anything else so far conjured up vis-a-vis Brexit per se. Irreparable damage. They wouldn't even need a working majority, just ministerial powers.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

The article is complete bloody nonsense. It will leave us a vassal state with no leverage since the money will already have been handed over.

Charlie said...

A referendum was held on whether to remain in the EU or leave. The government promised to enact the result.

Cameron even promised to trigger A50 the day after the referendum - a promise he reneged on (put it on the pile with the others).

A50 states that a country ceases to be a member of the EU 2 years from activation. Yet here we are, close to the end of that 2 year period, looking to stay half-in the EU for another few years. More promises reneged upon.

The (global) economy is starting to feel slow because the Fed is tightening. You can pretend it's partly due to heel-dragging on a "Brexit deal" (i.e. not Brexit), but that's what it is - a pretence.

We will get Corbyn/McDonnell, and it'll be the fault of the spineless lot currently masquerading as the leadership of this country.

E-K said...

I (and all others I know) cannot bear the thought of voting Tory again. Corbyn or no Corbyn.

Anonymous said...

(I might even be able to go with your optimism, if I thought we had anyone with half a negotiator's wit batting on our side, capable of parlaying our reasonable 2016 hand into a decent number of tricks.)

That is the core of the issue with regards to implementation. The question is

a) stay until we have a better negotiating team to get a better deal or
b) crash out and hope the negotiating team can get good trade deals.

Since many, many people have "loss aversion" the main problem is that the piss poor team that May put up gives no one any faith that leaving is beneficial - unless you are rich enough to take the hit.

E-K said...

It is not in the interests of the EU to have one of its largest nations go *pop* on its doorstep.

A long departure period enables our wealth and industries to eked away. That, I believe, is the game plan. May has fucked us.

We are going to get EU on steroids.

From the moment the referendum was called the dynamic changed from in-and-against to all-in or all-out.

The referendum question should have been, in fact,"Full EU or No EU ?" because that's what it really was. There was no staying as we were.

No-one else has thought this through. Simply to 'Remain' was not an option. A vote to Remain would have been a mandate for Euro, Shengen, Army, EU taxes... the lot.

The EU is a ratchet. It does not let go.

polidorisghost said...

"Why the Leavers are so against this is beyond me, all the years of wanting to leave the EU and now they fear they will Leave but not 'properly.'"

Because they fear that if negotiations are extended, we will end up being sucked back in. This fear is reasonable given that most MPs don't wish to leave.

dustybloke said...

If we're in the Union, we haven't left.

And if we have to pay £39 billion just to trade?

I'd like to see Tesco's profits if they charged a £50 entry fee!

Jan said...

Anon 5.28 has it. What May wants to do is disastrous as we will be bound to the EU and yet have no say in anything. If the Irish border is the sticking point then put in a border as is the case between the UK and France/Belgium etc. What's the big deal with that? I don't see a problem. If the Brussels bureaucrats don't like it thst's their problem.

Anonymous said...

@CU - you're approaching this from a ration business angle, rather than the political angle.

If we're in a customs union exactly what motivation has the EU to continue negotiations afterwards?

It's not as if they've a great record on dealing with issues that could tear the EU asunder, so they're hardly going to be rushing to extract the UK when they have no need to.

Whilst the Customs Union won't be intended to a be a stopgap to reverse Brexit, that's what it'll become. Both the EU and Government will have the luxury to spin Brexit as a disaster and big up the EU, changing the narrative away from the "Blame Brussels" one that has been so useful over the years. Deadlines to fully leave will extend and extend...

Fast forward five years or so, and we'll have another referendum. No Project Fear, but Project Hope of a shiny new future where you don't need to change currency, because it'll be ALL Euros! Advertisements of happy Brits working for a named brand on a sunny Spanish Costa will be beamed into the TV, iPads and laptops of the unemployed of the UK's economic hinterlands, who'll look out to an overcast, rainy afternoon and dream of better.

And the EU will win.

The concept of Leave will not just have been broken, but shown to be empirically unworkable so no one will raise the idea again.

We'll be trapped in the United Federal States of Royston Vasey - "You'll never leave!"

Sobers said...

It depends. Will being in the CU mean we have to 'shadow' all the rules coming out of Brussels? Like being in the Single Market? Or is it purely down to the import tariff that must be charged on stuff from outside the EU?

Because if we are shadowing the EU's rules, then its a total shit sandwich - follow all the rules, but no say in anything. If its just meaning we can't sign free trade deals outside of EU agreement, but we can set our own
business regulation rules, then its not so bad - Turkey is in some sort of Customs Union with the EU, and it seems to do exactly as it likes.......

Anonymous said...

What Sobers said ...