How do you like your Brexit? I favoured something moderate and was open to considerable compromise, hoping (goodness knows why after the way they treated David Cameron when he asked for help in the face of a eurosceptic surge at home) that the EU would see sense and a series of trade offs would happen. There is no sign of it, although someone who has negotiated with the EU said the other day that what the EU says in any negotiation should be ignored until about three weeks before the deadline.
We’ll see, soon enough. In my latest Times column I said that the chances of a no deal scenario by accident are rising. The key question in British politics, to which none of us know the answer, is what the reaction and response of voters will be to a terrible deal.
I’ve had quite a bit of feedback on the no deal stuff and simply wanted to introduce you quickly to what seems to be emerging as the likely flow of events. I don’t endorse this, I merely pass it on.
Let’s call it the “ultra-soft, slow to hard Brexit.”
It goes like this, according to Tories I’ve spoken to.
1) The UK and the EU just about patch together a withdrawal and transition arrangement. We pay £40bn and leave, but…
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2) It is the softest possible Brexit. Really crap. In a customs union, obeying all the rules of the single market, with freedom of movement demanded. In, with no say on the rules.
3) After five minutes or more likely a couple of years of this it dawns that this is a suboptimal situation – completely ludicrous – for the sixth largest economy in the world to be in.
4) it becomes obvious we should do it properly. No party is stupid enough to put a referendum on return, or beg to get back in, in a manifesto. So it’s crap deal forever, or fix it and, er, take back control.
Amusingly, it’s Remainers who are now saying to me that we’ll get a better deal before March 2019, better than total surrender. Ya think? Why? Clegg now says he can get free movement rethought. His new career as a stand up comedian is hilarious.
I suspect it is dawning on the Remainers that a combination of Brexiteer incompetence and Remainer disruption (rather than arguing from the start for Efta or EEA) is going to land Britain in the worst of all worlds. Which will then takes years more of arguing until we respect the referendum result and Brexit properly, because the EU won’t do flexibility.
Years more fighting. Something to look forward to…