“I think I hear the stench of appeasement in the air,” said Margaret Thatcher, famously. Leaving aside that you can’t hear a stench, her words have never been more apposite.
What Mrs. May is proposing is not Brexit. We will still be part of the Customs Union. We will still be under the influence of the ECJ. We will be forced to keep high levels of regulatory alignment. This is not just undesirable but a complete purgation of Brexit – with the many benefits of leaving the EU being neutralised by a Prime Minister and coterie of advisors who’ve lacked the imagination and will to properly deliver the project.
May’s Brexit deal will lock us into the EU – forever. pic.twitter.com/a5ddYwIQ0z
— Britain's Future (@Brit_Future) November 19, 2018
We have been presented with a plan which verges on a satire of Leaving. We have a clause which would protect EU officials such as Lord Mandelson or Lord Kinnock from the UK taxing their pensions. The UK cannot access EU security databases – but the EU can access ours. The UK will continue to maintain financial commitments and liabilities; money which we should be able to choose how we spend ourselves, but will actually – still – be controlled by Brussels. We are even committing to protecting EU derived food and drink.
The deal: UK will guarantee 3,000+ "geographical indications" (Parma ham, champagne etc) in UK law, preventing future govts importing other countries’ versions (Aussie feta) or manufacturing its own (English Champagne)
This was a divorce issue.
— Tom McTague (@TomMcTague) November 19, 2018
The deal is a conspicuous attempt to frustrate progress – based in part on a squeamishness at the top of government about a WTO Deal.
As David Davis outlined at the ERG’s “Going Global” briefing today, there are many different versions of WTO. Whilst this site would support the cleanest possible Brexit, it would make sense to discuss with the EU a “bare bones” deal. This would involve coming to agreement on sector-specific issues to the benefit of both sides. It would also be possible to go further – and try to reach a consensus on wider issues such as security co-operation, for instance. Security and defence represent a strong bargaining chip for the UK, and we should be prepared to bring it into the discussion.
The likelihood is, if the UK were to present a formal united front to the EU, finding areas where specific agreements could be put in place before the end of March next year would be much easier. As Brexiteers have always realised but Remainers do not seem to, agreements where possible are in the UK and the EU’s interest. The UK still has a strong hand – it has the same strength of hand as it had when it voted to leave – but it has lacked the nerve to effectively deploy it.
The UK government needs to dramatically change its policy. If it doesn’t – and we press ahead with May’s vision – we will regret it for decades to come.