HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » dumb Brexit question » Reply #6
In the discussion thread: dumb Brexit question [View all]

Response to KayF (Original post)

Sun Apr 7, 2019, 07:36 AM

6. Negotiations with the EU couldn't happen before triggering A50, let alone before the referendum,

so a deal with the EU couldn't have been lined up beforehand.

However, the EU made it clear all along what the primary sticking points would be, mainly the "four freedoms" of movement of labour, goods, services and capital.

The Brexiteers arrogantly assumed the UK was in a far stronger bargaining position than it was, and they could strike a deal where they kept many of the benefits of EU membership without ceding much, if any, ground. Some, like International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, are still waiting for the EU to blink and capitulate. Others have now switched to claiming that no deal was their desired goal all along, and we'll just jam it after Brexit on WTO rules and everything will be fine.

Many in the Tory leadership were (and still are) utterly ignorant of how the EU works. For instance, now-gone Brexit Secretary David Davis assumed he could start lining up trade deals with individual EU countries as soon as Article 50 was triggered. Unfortunately, and obviously, the EU makes such deals as a bloc - that's the whole point of it - so this was a non-starter. Only a week or so ago, a number of Tory MPs had briefings from experts on what the Customs Union is - after three years of blather about leaving it!

What absolutely should have been done was to have a clear idea of what the UK's desired end point of any EU negotiations was before Triggering Article 50. That required a proper debate within the UK, including listening to the devolved governments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the problem was that May refused to discuss properly or negotiate with anybody within the UK or, by all accounts, even her own Cabinet. When pressed, her lines were platitudes like "Brexit means Brexit" and "a red, white and blue Brexit". She might as well have said "a strawberry-flavoured Brexit". At this late stage, the EU is still waiting to find out what the government and Parliament actually want!

May's problem, Parliament's problem and the crux of the UK's problem from the referendum onward was that the question put to the electorate was extremely broad and sweeping - "to leave the EU" - and even those on the Leave side were contradictory about what that actually meant, often insisting that the UK would somehow remain within the Customs Union and Single Market.

If May had accepted at the start that the referendum result was very close, especially for such a major change, that a compromise between a hard Brexit and much softer varieties was necessary, and that the opinions of Remainers would have to be taken into account (what they call "losers' consent" ), things might have played out very differently. But she absolutely insisted that her main obsession of "ending freedom of movement" was front and centre of Brexit, which inevitably drew stark red lines that have tied the UK's hands in finding any workable agreement since (unfortunately, it seems Labour now share her main aim in the current May-Corbyn negotiations, though trying to figure out any coherence in their position from hour to hour is a fool's errand).

The problems have only grown worse the more attempts May et al., and Parliament, have made to define precisely what it does mean. It was only in July last year that May finally dared to gather her Cabinet at Chequers and try to thrash out a coherent Brexit aim, and almost immediately a supposed concensus was cobbled together, a number of her ministers resigned.

The more they try to pin it down, the more obvious it is that there is no majority for any proposed way forward, within the government or Parliament, let alone the country as a whole.

Reply to this post

Back to OP Alert abuse Link to post in-thread

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
KayF Apr 2019 OP
jberryhill Apr 2019 #1
moondust Apr 2019 #2
rampartc Apr 2019 #3
unblock Apr 2019 #4
beachbum bob Apr 2019 #5
LineNew Reply Negotiations with the EU couldn't happen before triggering A50, let alone before the referendum,
Denzil_DC Apr 2019 #6
KayF Apr 2019 #8
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2019 #7
Iggo Apr 2019 #9
Please login to view edit histories.