Thursday, 19 January 2017

Not looking good

I am now at odds with nearly every leaver of note. Most of them are cock-a-hoop at the idea of leaving the single market. I could see that as a workable path but only if certain conditions are met. Primarily that those involved understand the game in play. I don't think they do.

Lord Kerr, former UK ambassador to the EU has it right by saying "Article 50 is not about trade, it is about divorce. It's about paying the bills, dividing the property. The money negotiation is going to be a very nasty negotiation."

He went on to predict there will be "no serious negotiations before the autumn", adding he expects "this calendar year will be mainly spent in a furious battle about money".

Effectively we are going to spend six months having a row about what we are going to have rows about. Kerr sees it as I do. There is slender chance we will actually conclude a deal in the time given. At best we will scrape it with only a very basic framework but it is difficult to see how this would be anywhere close to adequate given that we have been a core member for nearly half a century.

We should be prepared for an extension to talks with talks dragging on for at least four years. Given that this is interrupted by an election it may see May flounce off with whatever she can get; ie not very much. She will have to negotiate a deal that effectively keeps most of the single market in tact as an emergency patch until a deal concerning trade is reached. A two stage negotiation is the only way we can avoid substantial harm and we will likely have to concede something to get it. If May does not recognise this we are in trouble.

I am told by leavers to be a little less negative - and though I have no time for problematising, I know the improbable when I see it. There would be solutions had we bought ourselves time but May has bitten off more than she can chew. If it comes to a serious crunch there is a remote possibility of putting A50 on pause but that really depends on whether the EU intends to prevent automatic ejection. There is not a lot to be enthusiastic about at this time. I just listened to T-may on the radio. It's all empty mantras and babble. She will be crucified.

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