Both Labour and the Tories are stuck on a political merry-go-round. It's time to admit that a good deal is nearly impossible, and get on with getting outby / June 6, 2018 / Leave a comment
Not everyone likes it, but the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016. This, it seems, must be restated. In the lead-up Prime Minister David Cameron declared: “It is time for the British people to have their say, it is time to settle this European question in British politics. I say to the British people: this will be your decision.”
The people decided.
Since then, we have been saddled with a pro-Remain Prime Minister and a largely pro-Remain cabinet. The Leavers are overwhelmingly outnumbered. Government departments are starved of the resources to negotiate the terms of Brexit. The word is that the Department for Exiting the European Union is to close.
The softness of the Brexit has all but been guaranteed this week as Jeremy Corbyn has, apparently, changed his stance on Brexit. Under pressure from his deeply pro-EU Parliamentary Party and rumours of a new party of the Left doing the rounds, the Labour leader and his top team will vote next week for a Commons motion calling for “full access” to the EU’s Single Market and “shared institutions and regulations” with Brussels. With likely support coming from all corners, May’s vision is dead in the water.
But the mismanagement of Brexit by Theresa May is largely irrelevant; the problem is also the EU itself. All of the surrenders by the PM (Irish border, Customs Union, European Court jurisdiction, paying into the budget until 2027, not getting back our money until 2057—staying aligned to the Single Market—staying in the Internal Energy Market, aligning financial regulation with the Securities and Markets Authority, and so on) forming the “deal” will be subject to approval by unanimity at the European Council.
The Council is made up of the Heads of State of the members of the European Union. Signing off on the ‘deal’ will require a unanimous vote from all 27 members. Or we go back to the table. Fans of Game Theory will quickly realise that this creates an almost unsolvable situation.
Right up until the Eleventh Hour and Member State will be able to veto the ‘deal.’ Between now and Brexit Day, governments could change—like Italy’s, Spain’s, and Slovenia’s have in the last week. Hungary and Poland may well be thrown out. It’s a political merry-go-round.
New policy initiatives from Brussels may well provoke constitutional issues that require referendums (the announcement from Angela Merkel that she supports Emmanuel Macron’s proposal for EU armed forces could well trigger votes in Austria and Ireland as it could impinge upon neutrality status) which may drum up greater Euroscepticism.
The ‘deal’ will then have to be approved by the European Parliament (spoiler alert: no chance).
Without UK money, the budgetary burden will shift over towards the big contributors like Germany, which may not play out well. The worse the ‘deal’ for the UK is, the worse it becomes for our trading partners in the EU which will exponentially shift up their financial obligations to the budget, potentially offending taxpayers.
At the same time, the recipient nations like Bulgaria and Romania will not accept any paring down of their funding from Brussels and would likely veto any ‘deal’ that involves Germany (amongst others) not making up the shortfall from Brexit. Prisoners’ Dilemma.
So what is the solution? The problem of Brexit is that it cannot be solved in a gentlemanly fashion. The ‘deal’ is a guaranteed disappointment. So why bother? Toss back the keys and Leave immediately. You cannot negotiate against these odds. Exit immediately via an Emergency Act, don’t dither.
The only practical alternative is to rescind Article 50 (the UK would never dare to try a Second Referendum). The world will be fine in the morning, the sun will rise and flowers will bloom, and reason will prevail.