The Brexit Political Declaration has turned up just in time for Christmas – it has all the rigour of a Christmas present list written to Santa.
The reality is that all the key points have been booted into the long grass at least a year from now. The only point of actual agreement appears to be is that Christmas is coming and everyone is exhausted by this 2-year and counting divorce. The parties have decided who is going to get the cutlery, but not what will happen to the kids, the house, the mortgage etc. – basically all the important parts.
Goods – it appears the UK will only have access to the EU if it respects EU standards on competition, tax, the environment, and social and employment protection. This is done to prevent the UK from undercutting the EU – which is what the Brexiteers had in mind.
Fishing – there still needs to be an agreement on EU access to UK waters, it could be that British caught fish will be prevented from being sold in the EU without a deal. This is not all bad news; we are just going to have to eat more fish.
Financial Services – passporting is going, it will be replaced with “equivalence”. This is a stricter test, under the agreement it can also be withdrawn with just 30 days notice.
Northern Ireland Border – the addition of a new technological solution paragraph marks the return of “magical thinking” eliminating the need for a physical border and customs – as if Ireland didn’t have enough leprechauns already.
Gibraltar – the Spanish government, has stated they will not agree on any trade deal unless Gibraltar is excluded from it. This appears to be a move to isolate Gibraltar from the UK and make it even more reliant upon Spain.
Breaking up is never easy, but only a sane person would question whether going ahead with this break up is worth it. This is not exactly a quickie divorce, we are not even leaving the house – we are living in a tent in the garden.