Monday, 19 March 2018

Still no closer.

There was an announcement of some sort today from Barnier. Precisely why escapes me because there is still no agreement on the backstop position for Northern Ireland and the rest is roughly what we already assumed it was. We still don't know any more than we did yesterday and if this was going to be a long article it would look very very similar to the dozens I have already written.

We basically know that there will be a two year vassal state transition, but that brings little comfort to those who have examined the issues who cannot in any way imagine how the process would be complete, let alone implemented in two years. Moreover, we have no more idea of what will happen in respect of border controls generally, so the Institute of Director's boiler plate assertion that business leaders will welcome this can be thrown out.

If there is anything noteworthy it is that the Twitter half-life of Brexit announcements is now a matter of hours - not least since we have all seen the leaked material previously - and even that didn't tell us anything we weren't expecting.

We are told that the UK has won a concession - that it can conclude trade agreements during the transition- but nobody with a grasp of the basics anticipates this "freedom" to be used in any meaningful way - save for the patch up job of existing agreements we enjoy via the EU.

Being that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, the omission of a conclusion on the backstop position for Northern Ireland means that I cannot see that anything at all has been achieved save for once more kicking the can down the road.

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