Monday, 2 July 2018

A state of incomprehension and denial

On Sunday I remarked that the battle for the single market can still be won. It does seem a forlorn hope on some days though when we see the prime minister emphatically ruling it out.

But then we get this...

Politically Mrs May has committed herself to no hard border with Ireland and no wet border either. This is not possible without regulatory union. What then can she have in mind? Her "max fac" customs proposal has already been ruled out and that didn't even touch on the regulatory component. So what is she thinking?

The thinking within the bubble is that a form of mutual recognition can perform the regulatory function, but this flawed idea has already been rejected. The EU has been clear on its principles and is not going to compromise on single market integrity.

That then brings us to the latest wheeze of a goods only single market -which simply is not possible. It is not going to happen. A bespoke agreement is not possible. Such a deal is not on offer.

Given that an FTA doesn't even begin to cover the issues necessary to facilitate frictionless trade and qualify as a whole UK solution, if Mrs May is to meet her political obligation then she has no choice but to stay in the EEA.

What we are looking at is a state of incomprehension and denial, once again ducking the issues, and coasting toward a crash out. We are therefore getting absolutely nowhere - but the EEA remains the only answer.

One suspects it will take either a political crisis or a major humiliation for Theresa May - but one way or the other, the EEA seems like the inevitable destination even if it takes a crash out and a change of administration to do it. It is really then only a question of what the catalyst will be and when it will arrive. Until then we have to tolerate yet more of this clueless dithering while the uncertainty hammers British interests. This would be funny were it not so very serious. 

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