So here we are, after two wasted years of bluff & bull, the time has run out for the government. A deal must be done – and it looks like it has been done, or it could be.
Regardless of where you stand on this fight, (and it has been a proper street brawl at times) the deal done by the government will not satisfy the remainers or the brexiteers. It will also be a substantial downgrade from our existing arrangement, full EU membership.
As a country, we will have to remain aligned to and follow EU rules, but without the power to inform influence and vote on them. Rather than an equal place at the table we will be relegated to a side table and given the kids’ menu.
Many MPs have made a career out of moaning about the EU, they will have even more cause to complain now, and ironically no recourse to do anything about it, no MEPs, no mother-of-all-Parliaments diplomacy.
For those naive enough to think this will be a temporary transitional situation – think again. This situation could very well become permanent; as the EU has absolutely no incentive to offer the UK some favoured-nation status. In fairness to the EU, they have clearly and unambiguously stated this for the past two years.
The UK risks being stuck in this limbo and humiliated for a generation.
For those deluded souls who pine for a hard Brexit, they continue to cling to it. They will forever say Brexit was diluted, or never delivered, that the people were defrauded and duped. This is a bit rich coming from people who lied openly and repeatedly about the sunny nirvana awaiting the UK with all the wonderful trade deals just ready to be plucked from the abundant tree of commerce.
The reality is that other blocs or nations negotiating with the UK know we are isolated and desperate. They will be queuing up around the block to stuff us and inflict chlorinated chicken and hormone filled beef on us. Other countries will just eye-up our ever-lucrative market and salivate at the opportunities awaiting them. (In the past carmakers have called the UK “treasure island” because of the prices they can inflict upon us). The irony is that the EU played a significant part in ending this exploitation of the UK consumer – particularly by European carmakers.)
What awaits us after a hard Brexit can already be seen at the WTO. The UK assumed it could hive off a proportion of the tariffs enjoyed by the EU to fast-track a tariff deal with the WTO. However, twenty nations, already full WTO members objected to this, stating they could lose out on access to the UK market. Those nations included Russia and New Zealand. So, there are trade deals to be done, but they are likely to be wincingly one-sided – in our hour of desperation, we become easy prey when separated from mother Europe.
So, if the May deal is not as good as we currently enjoy and gives us no say or stake and hard Brexit is even worse – we have to ask why leave?
The UK has every right to stay at the EU top table – we built it – the hard way. The EU came into existence after this country (and our esteemed allies) fought and defeated fascism. This is recognised and acknowledged by everyone within the EU.
Some people seem to forget that the war was won by a coalition of countries, all cajoled and persuaded by the British government. The UK has always worked best by working with our friends and allies. The blood on the beaches of Normandy has barely dried, and we are retreating from our historical position of power and influence.
We can and should remain central and fully engaged members of Europe to shape it more to our own image, besides, the rest of Europe still wants us, and probably needs us.