Wednesday 7 March 2018

Things which are not surprising.

On this of all days you might expect me to have something substantive to say - but really there is nothing here which could not be anticipated. As outlined countless times, if we want the benefits of the single market then you have to be in the single market. If not, then there's not much the EU can do to accommodate us.

Since the EU is taking us at our word on our red lines, all it can really do is drop heavy hints to hammer the point home. Free movement of goods is an outcome of a regulatory system and you are either in it or you are not. Since we have chose to be out of it, the only remaining option is precisely that which The Leave Alliance set out to avoid.

Unless I'm mistaken the EU is apparently proposing an association agreement whereby we adopt most of the regulatory controls on goods under ECJ supervision and are still subject to third country controls. Precisely what we were warning from the very beginning when we first launched Flexcit. 

Politically this deal is not acceptable but it's the only thing on offer so we have reached something of an impasse. Either Mrs May makes a u-turn on the EEA or meekly shackles us to the ECJ. This is, of course, assuming talks do not collapse over the matter of Northern Ireland. 

No doubt this offering from the EU will be ignored and the government will persist with the line, for the time being, that this is still a negotiation - and will continue to press on managed divergence until there is a formal and explicit rebuke. That's when things get interesting. 

The ultimate irony in all this is that the government has been told "no cherrypicking" by the EU, failing to appreciate that with the EEA being an adaptive framework, the way to actually cherrypick from the single market, as indeed EEA members do, is to be in it. 

One might almost get the idea that a Brexit plan was a good idea - but Vote Leave, Farage, Cummings, Hannan, Banks, Bannerman, Hoey, Stuart and the rest thought better of it. It would seem their toxic blend of arrogance and ignorance is about to be rewarded. 

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