The ancient tribe of hippopotami on the planet zog have more chance of passing an agreement through the house of commons than Mrs May. Incredibly, she has managed to piss everybody off so much, to paraphrase Peter Foster, she with the EU, have given MPs and civil servants more unicorns to go and hunt. Never before would I have thought that leavers and retainers could be brought together in such a way.
During the referendum, with odd exception, the one thing that united both leavers and remainers was in our opinions our duty to Queen and Country and our children. The passionate cases for leaving or remaining were made in what people thought was best. That cannot be argued. For remainers, they recognised the problems of the EU were overcome by, in their view, economic benefits. For us Brexiteers, we see the sovereignty and the economics of engaging elsewhere. This pile of fudge dreamt up by the civil service, the PM and the EU satisfies no one.
Fundamentally, the loss of sovereignty means that we have the prospect of becoming a vassal state which allows the EU to dictate our economic terms. That is worse than remaining in the EU as we were. Furthermore, it stops us from making meaningful free trade agreements around the world. I could go on, but all the arguments on this are well recorded with me adding another voice to the millions already saying the same thing.
Before I come onto the next steps, Northern Ireland has been a area of intrigue. The Common Travel Area was established in 1922/1923 when the republic broke away from the rest of the UK. It was basically the free movement of people between the Republic of Ireland (or Irish Free State as was), Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Crown Dependencies. There is no reason why this cannot continue after Brexit – it is after all a bilateral agreement that has been in existence for nearly 100 years. When we joined the EEC, we joined at exactly the same time as the Irish republic therefore these arguments never arose, or at least not in public. The great failure of these negotiations is the unwillingness to look at facts in the face. There are only two choices before the EU and/or Ireland. Either the Irish leave with us or the EU requires treaty change that cedes power back to member states allowing them to make bilateral agreements – effectively dissolving the internal market and customs union. The positions are irreconcilable.
That aside, where do we go from here? It is clear that this agreement would look better in the shredder and the government should apologise to the rainforest alliance for wasting so much paper. All us Brexiteers wanted from the EU with Brexit was a simple free trade agreement, zero tariffs between us and the continent, providing for mutual standards of recognition on goods and services, as we do elsewhere – arbitration by the WTO. In addition to reciprocal 6 month visa free access. It should be the easiest to do because we are starting from the same regulatory position. Instead we have fudge.
Failing that WTO terms!