I’m pretty sure we’ll get a hard Brexit. I’ve said so before come to think of it. The reason is that the EU wants to put the fear of catastrophe into any other nation (coff Italy coff) that might have the desire to exit the EU by refusing to allow any deal that allows the leaving country any modicum of dignity. Hence they negotiate a deal like this one where there is no effective exit but the exiting country gets to pay more for the privilege of not having a say in the EU.

Fundamentally the Eurocrats think they are smarter than the knuckle dragging leavers and that the leavers need to be taught a lesson in much the same way as naughty schoolboys or puppies are. As a result the EU betrays its best allies – all those UK remainers and others who thought a sensible agreement where not much changes and we all live happily would be possible. To be (slightly) fair, it is, however, possible that the EU may have been a bit confused because lots of Whitehall bureaucrats in the UK, many politicians down the road in Westminster, as well as most of the rest of the chattering classes” actually wanted to stay in the EU and wanted to find a way to pretend to leave but not actually do so. However that’s not much of a justification as neither the Eurocrats nor the remoaners seem to have been able to figure out that not all leave voters and leave politicians are idiots who can be bamboozled into agreeing with something that isn’t actually Brexit. This is particularly stupid of them given that the trigger for the actual referendum was Cameron asking for some kind of concrete meaningful agreement and getting a load of flim-flam instead.

As for the deal as it stands today: when even Tony Blair says this is a crap deal, you know things are pretty bad. The fact that ministers and MPs were shown the “deal” in secrecy was also a pretty solid giveaway. This won’t fly and at this point there’s no time for the negotiators to come up with a new deal that does a better job of concealing the climbdown. Therefore the only hope is “project fear”. Hence Tories are told that an internal fight will lead to Prime Minister Corbyn and the great unwashed gets warned that the army may be deployed in the event of a “Hard Brexit”.

I can’t speak for other Leave supporters but my impression is that the basic driver was “we don’t want to be told what to do by idiots, and particularly idiots that we can’t turf out if they screw up”. I think if the UK started with that principle and wrote down a one or two page set of requirements that follow from it there would be a good deal of clarity. The bullet points would look like this

  • We want the right to control our own borders
    • We decide who to let in under what circumstances and what they are entitled to if they reside here
    • We decide what tariffs (if any) we will apply to imports and exports
  • We don’t want to be told how to manage our stuff
    • so we may have out own standards for safety
    • we have our own management plans for farms and fisheries
  • We don’t want to pay money for no return
    • no more paying the net £10 billion or so per year to Brussels
    • not be on the hook to bail out bankrupt neighbors
  • etc.

Right now there’s a choice. Does the UK actually Brexit or not?

This is the time for a simple statement and then sticking to it

We’re out. We won’t impose tariffs on you. We will use existing methods to validate imports. We will be checking passports on entry to UK ports. We reserve the right to do that in Ireland too even though we probably won’t. Hope you do the same in reverse. We’re not paying you anything, you don’t need to pay us either.