Saturday, 21 May 2016

An amicable quickie divorce

A comment on this morning's post has sparked an interesting analogy. The notion of a Brexit "quickie divorce". Many Brexiteers expect that we can have one along the lines of a quick scrap over tariffs, invoking Ruth Leas's "they need us more than we need them" mantras and then everybody goes their own separate way.

This blog has gone to great lengths to explain why that isn't a reality, not least because we have almost fully integrated areas of cooperation which are simply not undone overnight. That is why we will use an off the shelf agreement and take our time to evolve out of political integration.

I have argued that in scoping talks we will establish roughly what the deal will be. A single market based ultimatum. The EU will basically say "my way or the highway" knowing that the alternative is unpalatable - and that if Britain wants the EU's help in getting such a deal ratified then we won't play silly buggers. That is a commonly accepted view even among the remain camp.

But in its own way it is a quickie divorce. The talks will take less than the mandated two years. As we remain in the EEA and continue with multiple areas of cooperation it's more like an amicable divorce, one where we don't move out of the house for a while until we've saved up a deposit and carefully gone through the extensive CD collection to see which ones belong to us and which of the 80's hair metal albums can be discreetly palmed off. There may even be the odd friendly bedroom shenanigans, but in the meantime but we're basically free to see other people.

Eventually when we have acquired all the essentials to make the final move, having separated the bank accounts and come to an agreement over whose birthday barbecues we'll avoid, that's when we're able to start climbing into bed with multiple partners and have depraved orgies while the ex is still bogged down with her other commitment phobic suitors. Eventually, after a period of awkward meetings we go back to being friends.

In essence, nobody is going to be kicked out onto the street and nobody will have to sofa surf because we'll separate like adults, largely because neither party can handle the stress of all out hostilities - and though the relationship doesn't work, there is still a deep rooted fondness. More to the point, if payments are missed then both parties will struggle to remortgage as their credit rating is hit. It may lead to some heated arguments but like all broken relationships, it's always better if people are free to do what they need to do.

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