Brexit: no vision, no strategy, no idea

The cabinet © Getty Images
The government has no positive vision for Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU

The diplomatic twists and turns in the talks about leaving the EU and agreeing a future trade deal may seem bewildering. But one person who has seen it all before is retired diplomat Lord David Hannay. A key part of the team that negotiated Britain’s entry into the then EEC, Hannay was the UK ambassador to the EU from 1985 to 1990. He is currently a senior member of the European Union Committee in the House of Lords.

“Getting an agreement over the divorce terms, including the money that we have to pay the EU was definitely an important breakthrough and a good thing”, says Hannay. But it’s important not to “exaggerate things”. After all, the agreement left “a lot of loose ends which have to be tied up in any final transition treaty”. At the moment, the rest of the EU countries (“EU27”) are discussing among themselves the instructions they will give to their negotiating team, lead by Michel Barnier. Once that is agreed, talks between Britain and the EU can begin in earnest.

One major hope among supporters of Brexit is that the EU countries’ differing attitudes will force a fracture, allowing the UK to play them off against each other. However, Hannay thinks that this is very unlikely. Of course, Britain’s major trading partners such as Sweden, The Netherlands and Denmark will want to retain closer post-Brexit links than countries such as Spain and Portugal, who don’t trade as much with us. Eastern Europe will want to continue freedom of movement. But it is France and Germany (assuming Angela Merkel is able to form a government) that will play the biggest role in determining Europe’s line. Some experts see Italy as a possible wild card, but  elections in March are likely to be inconclusive. This will result in a lengthy period of coalition building, with the eventual government falling into line with whatever the rest of Europe agrees.

The British government, however, “doesn’t seem to have any agreed strategy, or even idea of what it wants the end state after the transition to look like”, says Hannay. The prime minister “was clear in her Florence speech that she wants free movement to end and that she doesn’t want the European Court of Justice to have any jurisdiction over the UK”. But she hasn’t articulated a positive vision for Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU, beyond “generalities”. In effect, “she’s given Brussels a long lists of of don’ts, but hasn’t provided any dos”.

Canada Plus Plus is just a slogan

Even the desire for a “Canada Plus Plus” (a free trade deal with enhanced access in certain areas) seems to be “just a slogan”. In Hannay’s view, any economic partnership will have to involve agreements on issues such as justice and home affairs, plus science and innovation, all of which have been “untouched” so far. While it’s “impossible to tell” what sort of access can be agreed, he is “pessimistic” about the sort of access that Britain’s banks and financial institutions can secure. In his view, “it is very unlikely that we can get anything close to passporting if we continue to draw all these red lines”.

The idea of securing a trade deal by the end of 2020, the period at which the government wants the transition period to have finished by, is “pretty ambitious” argues Hannay. This means that “there is a strong case for a longer transition period” though such a move would “be very unpopular within certain parts of the government”. In any case, if the end deal ends up being little more than a free trade agreement, “then you could argue that you are only replacing one cliff-edge for business with another”.

Of course, if the government suddenly decided to adopt the EEA as a model for future arrangements then this would “clarify things quite a lot”, especially since Europe “has had a lot of experience working with Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein”. At the least it “would be a striking alternative to the long list of negatives coming from the government at the moment”. Sadly, such a sensible solution looks unlikely “as it would contradict what Theresa May said last year in Florence”. The Prime Minister “seems to be conducting policy based on what will keep the Conservatives together, which is not the best way to make decisions”.

  • Cynic_Rick

    Quote:

    The British government, however, “doesn’t seem to have any agreed strategy, or even idea of what it wants the end state after the transition to look like”, says Hannay. The prime minister “was clear in her Florence speech that she wants free movement to end and that she doesn’t want the European Court of Justice to have any jurisdiction over the UK”. But she hasn’t articulated a positive vision for Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU, beyond “generalities”. In effect, “she’s given Brussels a long lists of of don’ts, but hasn’t provided any dos”.

    It would appear to me that Lord David Hannay is a follower of Dr Richard North at:

    http://eureferendum.com/default.aspx

    and his son Pete North at:

    http://peterjnorth.blogspot.co.uk

  • LG

    This magazine has promoted Brexit throughout. I hope you’re happy now.

    • Cynic_Rick

      Happy, yes. Satisfied, never!

  • Cynic_Rick

    Well, I’m promoting Flexcit!

    http://www.eureferendum.com/documents/flexcit.pdf

    What’s not to like?

    • Dave Caldwell

      it seems clear that a re-vote would fix this nonsense, so why dont we have one?
      The other option is labour standing for election on a reversal of brexit approach. The young (who will regain freedom of movement) will vote for it and turn up this time.
      The “people have spoken”, in a democracy, the conversation is ongoing

      • Cynic_Rick

        I take it the “nonsense” to which you refer is the antagonism towards the decision of the Referendum – the decision to Leave the EU; as you say, “the people have spoken”.

        But the nonsense which should be niggling the overwhelming majority is the way in which leaving the EU appears *not* to be being done.

        A second referendum should settle this nonsense if couched in the terms: “We are leaving the EU but should we also leave the Single Market?”

        A so-called Brexit via Flexcit would not only quickly release us from the EU and subjection to the ECJ but would also keep us in the Single Market (via the EEA/Efta umbrella) and give us control over immigration from the EU via evocation of Article 112 of the EEA Agreement.

        Unravelling 40+ years of integration in a sensible fashion cannot be done in 2 years, 4 years or even 6 years; it would take of the order of a decade. The way things are going the UK could, before properly leaving the EU, be a virtual Vassal State of the EU for a decade; subject to the ECJ, fully subject to the constraints of the EU.

        Is Vassal State status what “the people” have voted for?

        • Dave Caldwell

          Since there are many versions and outcomes of Brexit possible, one must conclude that a) the question asked was never going to indicate the “people’s choice” b) the people have no clue what they voted for.
          We have a symbolic situation, which Cameron got us into for internal political reasons.
          Meanwhile investment in UK is on hold..

          • Cynic_Rick

            In reply to

            a) They voted to ‘Leave’ the EU

            b) I doubt that the overwhelming majority of those who voted ‘Remain’ did so because they knew the Government would probably make a pig’s ear of leaving the EU.

            • Dave Caldwell

              a) It is like saying I dont want the lamb shank on the menu. It does not clarify what the people “do want”
              b) agree
              Now we need to figure out what the people do want. I would reckon on the various choices taken now, remain would win.
              However, we seem afraid to have a democrstic choice on this, sticking to the line on a vote around a half-assed question

              • Cynic_Rick

                You raise two good points Dave, and they’re both united by Flexcit:

                1) Democracy, of which there is very little left, thanks in large part to membership of the EU

                2) What “the people do want”; surely, the majority would like much more democratic governance.

                Brexit: no vision, no strategy, no idea.

                Flexcit has it all, in spades. Indeed, Phase 6 of Flexcit deals with the recovery of democracy via The Harrogate Agenda:

                http://harrogateagenda.org.uk

        • Tadaaa

          I see you have been drinking the North koolaid

          • Cynic_Rick

            I have had first hand experience of the benefit of the wisdom of Richard North.

            Without going into the details, I and my business were subjected to the full force of ‘The Law’, law which was founded on an erroneous basis; founded on politics rather than fact.

            Richard North, from his commonsense, observations, experiences and wisdom, knew in this instance ‘The Law’ was wrong. I knew ‘The Law’ was wrong from commonsense and my own observations and experiences.

            Without his intervention,” the North koolaid”, I and my business would have gone bankrupt.

            But this is just one example of the ineptitude and incompetence of government.

            Now extrapolate this story into the realms of Brexit.

            • Tadaaa

              cool story Bro

              I had a plumber who did some great work for me too

              But I am afraid there is more at stake than your business

              • Cynic_Rick

                Fortunately, I hope, my present ‘lagging’ will insulate me a lot more from the effects of a botched Brexit than would having lost my business have been at a time when my ‘lagging’ would also have been stripped away from me.

                You’re right, there is far more at stake to the country as a whole from a botched Brexit than from the loss of my business would have been to the country as a whole.

                But, unlike a lot of others, I’m not concerned for myself as much as I am for my country; I feel sure the same would apply for Richard North.

                And there’s no better ‘plumber’ for the Brexit job than he.

  • DiverPhil

    Yes considering we are 18 months in, not a great deal to show for it, the reason for a new vote would be that a lot of the don’t knows are beginning to realize the potential downsides not having the £350m into the NHS, tariffs, barriers, market access, potential new market access, lower growth and Northern Island to name but a few, sometimes you wake up to the reality and the don’t knows begin to know and could vote to remain, this is the overriding fear of the Brexiteer’s you got lucky with a small majority, but it could potentially just disappear like waking up after a bad dream.

    • Cynic_Rick

      Flexcit, as a means for the UK to leave the EU, was entered into an official national competition well before the Referendum. It was shunned then and has been shunned since by those in a position of influence.

      I contend that had the pros and cons of the EU been debated sensibly and publically before the Referendum the outcome of the Referendum would have been overwhelmingly for ‘Leave’. And the UK would have re-joined Efta and remained in the EEA as per Flexcit.

      Instead the public were fed misrepresentations, deceit, red-herrings and downright lies by both sides of the debate.

      • Al Green

        I think there are a lot of dreamers here, the initial vote was just to leave the Union, mainly on the problem of mass immigration, this was mass immigration from far afield, plus The then Newer member countries who targeted Britain, I believe the majority were never against what was the Northern European countries, it was more the volume of criminals entering the UK, the threats were and are real, it started with the polish plumbers,
        Who were screwing the system, I had experience of this when children were being moved back and forth from Poland, making benefits claims on both sides. The demise of the NHS is the thin end of the wedge, I had already moved to Portugal when the vote took place, I had to fit a financial criteria,
        It depends whether you want to see many changes in the UK similar to
        The collapse of the NHS, the massive building of homes on the green belt,etc. But if the government don’t get their act together it will all end in chaos. My visits back to the UK look bleak, too far to repair, Europe knows the damage being done in the U.K. the longer it goes on the more damage done.

        • Cynic_Rick

          Quote:

          “But if the government don’t get their act together it will all end in chaos.”

          Too right. But it probably needs this in order to bring the UK populous as a whole to its senses; to back The Harrogate Agenda:

          http://harrogateagenda.org.uk

    • Canary Bob

      Another remoaner who cannot interpret a simple message on the side of a bus. Read it again carefully. Some are claiming that this money has not been paid but, thanks to the flaky types we are still negotiating the exit so there is no saving and there is no money. Wake up please.

  • AJAX

    ‘Hannay was a key member of the team that negotiated England & Wales’ entry into the eu originally’ – that says it all. Who cares what he says now.

    LEAVE THE EU & trade with it via WTO rules, end of, there’s nothing to ‘negotiate’.

    • Cynic_Rick

      Quote:

      “LEAVE THE EU & trade with it via WTO rules, end of, there’s nothing to ‘negotiate’.”

      Read this:
      http://eureferendum.com/documents/BrexitMonograph002.pdf

      And if you have an ounce of intelligence you’ll see what a crass statement you have made.

      Penultimate paragraph of Monograph 02:

      “The point which needs to be drawn from this note is that the WTO option is a very dangerous and potentially expensive option which could do significant damage to the EU and UK, the effects of which could be long-lasting.”

      • AJAX

        Nonsensical eu-Quisling scare-mongering, which didn’t work in the Referendum & won’t work now. The British Isles has been trading goods back & forth with the European continent for the last 5 thousand years, the eu didn’t invent it in the 1970’s, & it won’t end with our leaving the eu either.

        • Cynic_Rick

          Eu-Quisling! Far from it but I’d rather we left in a sensible controlled manner rather than via the cliff-edge you are advocating.

          No, our trade with the EU wouldn’t end by leaving the EU, but it would be drastically curtailed by leaving the Single Market.

          You obviously have not thoroughly digested the contents of Monograph 02!

          Know about NTBs (Non Tariff Barriers)?

          Get enlightened here:

          http://eureferendum.com/documents/BrexitMonograph005.pdf

          • AJAX

            ‘Cliff-edge’ is eu-Quisling scare-mongering talk revealing exactly who you are & what your game is, it didn’t work on 23 June 2016 & it’s not going to work now. The eu-Single Market is the eu & the eu is the single market (the SM is a political mechanism that exists to create a unitary nation state, not an economic mechanism) one doesn’t exist without the other; & the majority of our foreign exports are outside the eu these days anyway (& we buy more of its exports than it buys ours), so you don’t even have a micro-economic argument supporting your eu-Quisling position.
            The Referendum was for Leaving the eu, get over your defeat, The Kingdom of England & Wales isn’t being destroyed in the way you’d hoped for.
            Trade has gone on for thousands of years between the British Isles & the European continent & will continue to do so after we’ve left the eu, & long after the eu has disappeared from the continent.

            • Cynic_Rick

              I will leave it for others to make their own judgments on this prattle…

              • AJAX

                With that post you’ve just declared a ‘judgement’, undermining the stated purpose it (pretends) to express, Numbnutz.

            • Marcus Lasance

              The Leave Alliance and the EUReferendum site is anything but pro-EU. They are thoroughbred leavers. The only difference is that they have thought about the implication rather longer than your average Kipper and Britain First supporter. (And even they are barking up the wrong tree)

              • AJAX

                I don’t take my views from websites, I formulate them myself, I suggest you start doing the same mate.

        • DLl M

          On the contrary, Rick and Richard North (on eureferendum.com) are probably dead right. This is all about leaving the EU in a sensible way, without cutting off nose to spite face. We’ve spent the last 40+ years intertwining our economy closely with the other EU countries: the mutual supply chains are complex and time-critical, and there’s also the little issue of our large financial sector’s service exports (you may not like the banks, but they pay an awful lot of tax). Bottom line: unwinding this close relationship overnight, as an immediate move to WTO terms would do, makes no sense. EEA membership as a first step looks like the best compromise to Leavers who have thought about the details of what’s involved.

          • AJAX

            Scare-mongering eu-Quisling nonsense, companies that need to re-structure their “relationships” with the eu have already had almost 2 years now to do so & that’s more than long enough, if they haven’t done it in that time that’s their fault, the rest of the country isn’t to be held hostage by them over its decision to leave the eu in the Referendum. WTO rules & out, leaving will be no more complex for businesses with interests in the eu than joining was originally, they just adjust & get on with it, which happens in international trading all the time.

            You lost the Referendum – get past it.

            • DLl M

              I voted Leave. The issue is how we leave: sensibly or recklessly.

              • AJAX

                Taking on trust that I believe you in saying this (which going from what you’ve said, I don’t), it sounds to me as if you’re a faint-heart, which will do you no good in this issue. There is no ‘sensible or reckless’ (again that’s eu-Quisling scare language, which as a Brexiteer it’s strange you should be using?), there’s leaving the eu & not leaving it, & what you are advocating is de facto not leaving it for an unspecified timescale to avoid the nebulous concept of “recklessness”, which is parked right next to that mythical “cliff-edge” that we were told by the eu-Quislings we would plunge over on 24 June 2016 if we dared to vote Leave. My 1st reply answered your points, the fact that you’ve just breezed past its logic without batting an eye increases the doubts about your real position & what you really voted on 23 June 2016.
                Every day the eu is bleeding our government of law making powers & our Treasury white, & deluging us continually with its impoverished citizenry from its Eastern Slavic & Balkans satrapies, & its “new” citizens who are currently deluging into it across the Mediterranean Sea in rubber boats from Africa & Asia, who are increasingly being issued with eu citizenship with a right to settle anywhere they wish within its territories, will soon be following. Where is your sense of urgency to stop any of this as a Brexiteer …?

      • dlp6666

        I know that Jacob Rees-Mogg isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he is an intelligent man and he doesn’t seem to be at all fazed by the WTO option https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/14/jacob-rees-mogg-hard-brexit-would-boost-uk-by-135bn-over-5-years

        • Cynic_Rick

          “…he doesn’t seem to be at all fazed by the WTO”

          Says a lot for JRM!

          Richard North is also an (extremely) intelligent man but he also exudes wisdom and integrity.

  • roborat

    I think the UK government have a plan. What it doesn’t have is the balls to say it without having an internal Tory revolt on either side.

    • Cynic_Rick

      Let’s hope it’s re-joining Efta in order to remain in the EEA and hence the Single Market. That would solve a huge amount of problems!

  • Stuart Marsh

    Why have I not heard anyone ask the question “Which British industries need to leave the Single Market and/or Economic Union in order to prosper?”

    • Cynic_Rick

      “Why have I not heard anyone ask the question “Which British industries need to leave the Single Market and/or Economic Union in order to prosper?”

      Well, I can’t answer that but the following includes a list of links to Impact Assessments on various sectors due to leaving the Single Market:

      http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86697

  • Ralph

    I am amazed as to why people are so surprised as to why we have arrived at this juncture. Westminster was overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU but they are now responsible for negotiating the terms of us leaving it. It was always going to be an exercise of deliberate miss-direction and poor management, simply because it suits the politicians for it to be that way. They can’t be direct and honest at the risk of losing votes, so they are being duplicitous at virtually every opportunity. The Tories didn’t champion Brexit but they were left holding the sticky (sic) stick and are having to tough it out. I’m sure Corbyn doesn’t want to take over at this stage either given the huge number of Labour “heartland” supporters who voted to leave.

    Westminster has now got the whole Country completely focused on the Trade Agreement which obviously skews everyone’s perspective. Whatever Trade Agreement with the EU we end up with cannot be as good as the one we already have but NOBODY either in Westminster or the media appears to talk much about the bigger picture other than the EU Trade Agreement.

    There is very little detail about currency, imports from outside the EU (the only MP who ever seems to mention this is Rees Mogg), the true impact of immigration (both negative and positive) and other potential Trade Deals. I am sure there are many more but these were certainly all central to the decision making process at the referendum. These are all important points that other than sound-bites are usually not mentioned much at all, let alone properly considered.

    This is not about what the people want, it’s about what the politicians want and so expect more of the same.

    • Cynic_Rick

      Quote:
      “This is not about what the people want, it’s about what the politicians want and so expect more of the same.”

      Is it about what the politicians want or is it about what those who are pulling the politicians’ strings want?

      Heard about Disaster Capitalism?

      http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86556

      http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86682

      • Ralph

        That’s slightly different because it’s about what motivates politicians to make the decisions that they do – it’s the old “Establishment” theory which I think everyone believes in at least to a certain extent where a vast majorities of politicians are concerned don’t they?

        Sovereignty was of course another key referendum consideration that gets little coverage now but that’s probably because it meant something different to the public than it did to Westminster. To the public it was all about government at least having to pay lip-service to the public, which clearly Brussels does not have to do. That is why the PIGS have struggled while Germany does whatever it wants to do (VW scandal and 1m immigrants being the obvious examples).

        increasingly the EU appears to be becoming an extended Germany – perhaps it should be badged EG?

        • Cynic_Rick

          1) “… what motivates politicians”

          Sadly, what motivates a lot of politicians is that they are there primarily to ‘feather their own nests”. In a democracy they should be there to serve the best long term interests of the majority.

          2) “Sovereignty … meant something different to the public than it did to Westminster.”

          It is precisely because of point 1) that what the EU leaving supporters should be expecting is to achieve sovereignty, not of Parliament, but sovereignty of the people – democracy.

          Flexcit is an all encompassing plan for a sensible exit from the EU which has not only idea but long term vision and strategy:

          http://www.eureferendum.com

          And Phase 6 of Flexcit addresses the issue of regaining sovereignty of the people; as a long term goal:

          http://harrogateagenda.org.uk

          • Ralph

            We are clearly of like minds Rick – I wouldn’t stop at politicians either – my own experience increasingly suggests that there are plenty of other people who are supposed to be pubic servants who increasingly abuse their powers – right at the top of the tree is the Gov of the Bank of England who isn’t even British but is allowed to lie to the public without any accountability whatsoever – I would also include devolved government, local government, Social Care and to a certain extent even the NHS – with the exception of Carney (who is actually a great example of why we maybe don’t need to immigrate skilled workers) their faults can all be blamed on the people responsible for running those “organisations” rather than the people who work for them. And that’s where the lawyers come in ……….

            God bless Tony Blair – nobody else would surely!

            • Cynic_Rick

              You know what they say Ralph – “A fish rots from the head down” and “Money is the root of all evil”.

              There are distinct parallels between ‘The West’ and ‘ The Fall of the Roman Empire’.

              • Ralph

                The possibility of major civil unrest looms ever larger the way things are going in “The West” for sure.

                Like you I support Flexit but I also have a bet with a friend of mine that the EU will implode before Brexit happens in any event.

                • Cynic_Rick

                  Talking of “major civil unrest”, have you seen Richard North’s rendition of today?

                  http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86761

                  Entitled:
                  Brexit: revolution in the air?

                  Regarding your bet; I wouldn’t bet against it! That’s for sure.

                  • Ralph

                    I read the Richard North piece and was quite unimpressed really. It’s full of the usual political spin that you get from all sides and which as always fails to grasp the real reason as to why Brexit happened. Put simply – it was failure over many many years by all of the political parties to address the issues that impact on most people’s lives. It wasn’t a right- wing Tory led revolt at all. In fact it wasn’t even the Tories – they just hi-jacked it after the event.

                    Read any of the material on You Tube by the economist Mark Blyth. No political bias just pure common sense.

                    • Cynic_Rick

                      Ralph, I didn’t understand the piece to read as “to why Brexit happened”.

                      I understood it to primarily point out the consequences of a botched Brexit but with elaborations such as apportionment of blame by various factions, and of the incompetence of government and of the media; possibly revolution.

                      But, I feel you would agree with my assertion that Brexit, essentially, was an anti-Establishment vote.

                    • Ralph

                      I think that most people accept it was an anti-Establishment vote but the Establishment/Politicians/ Media et al (as per Mr North’s comments) still seem to be as far away as they ever were, from confronting the actual things that created that discontent in the first place.

                      Whatever made May think that all of the Labour “heartland” supporters who voted for Brexit would subsequently vote for her? Those people wanted the EU out and then the Tories. They don’t care if our GDP grows or not – it has no obvious impact on their lives whatsoever as far as they can tell.

                      They have been treated appalling by both the Lablour Government who under Blair opened the door for hundreds of thousands of people to flood into the Country and take their jobs or keep their wages low. They have then been hung out to dry by the Austerity programme overseen by the Tory and Liberal regime, whilst at the same time the people who caused the Banking Crisis got away pretty much Scot-free.

                      I personally dread the idea of Labour winning large at the next election, particularly given the current people on their front bench but I do suspect that this is somewhat inevitable the way things are going.

                      Meanwhile I feel sure that the “Establishment will continue to argue about the pros and cons of Brexit purely with their own agenda in mind and not the electorate. I support the view that the longer they continue to do this, the harsher the eventual backlash will be and unfortunately, as we both agree, history shows that civil unrest in one shape or another becomes increasingly likely.

                    • Cynic_Rick

                      Quote:
                      “I personally dread the idea of Labour winning large at the next election, particularly given the current people on their front bench but I do suspect that this is somewhat inevitable the way things are going.”

                      Bearing in mind an earlier post of mine on this thread:
                      “At least Stephen Kinnock appreciates the EEA/Efta route to Brexit”
                      https://www.politico.eu/article/stephen-kinnock-mp-uk-risks-missing-brexit-boat/

                      made me think along the lines of what Richard North’s article of the following day stated (but he does it far more informatively than I ever could):

                      http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86760

                      “To that extent, even if we could not succeed in securing an immediate shift to the Efta/EEA option and are forced down the route of Mrs May’s “vassal state” transition, we would then have two years (or 21 months) to rejoin Efta and negotiate our way back in to the EEA Agreement.

                      “From this end of the telescope, it seems unlikely if this option would ever be entertained by Mrs May’s government. But the transition period does bring us to the end of 2020 and, as been mooted, an extension could bring us past the next general election.

                      “All of a sudden, Kinnock’s scenario could make sense. If he can convince the Labour Party to put its weight behind the Efta/EEA option, there will be “clear blue water” between the two main parties in the forthcoming campaign. And with the Tories split three ways, between Efta/EEA, a Canada-style FTA and the WTO option (or four if you add remaining in the EU), Labour could look electable, even with Corbyn at the helm. “

                      I’ve never considered Richard North to be politically biased. Far from it; he’s most definitely got a mind of his own.

                    • Ralph

                      Which brings me back to my central point really which is that Brexit has like everything else of any real significance (NHS for example) simply become another political football, when in fact it should have no domestic political party bias whatsoever.

                      If we truly lived in a democratic society then Westminster would be totally focused on our withdrawal from the EU and the best way of achieving that. Instead all of the Political Parties are more concerned about scoring points off one another. They are al, with few exceptions, a disgrace and people are becoming increasingly disenchanted with them.

                    • Cynic_Rick

                      With regard to internal affairs, I think the Government responds to what it perceives as being majority public opinion.
                      Insofar as Brexit is concerned, as there is divided public opinion upon how to Brexit, let alone a strong faction for not Brexiting, then the Government is also divided.

                      Regrettably, due to a cocktail of misinformation, misunderstanding, deceit and a UK Establishment which never wanted a Brexit in the first place, the so-called Norway Option was trashed before the Referendum.

                      But the so-called Norway Option, the EEA/Efta route, Phase 1 of Flexcit, is, if the truth be known, the least worst route to a Brexit which should be acceptable to the majority to include those that voted ‘Remain’.

                      So, if Labour suitably pushed for EEA/Efta whilst the Tories remained divided and lost the next GE as a consequence, then that would be the latter’s fault for not uniting behind EEA/Efta in the meatime.

                      But, Ralph, you’re right, we don’t live in a truly democratic society; far, far from it.

  • Peter Hirsch

    Very sadly, I do not think we are going to resolve this issue until we have a new Prime Minister, one with a reasoned aim and purpose, So long as we have the present Prime Minister – who is not a quitter nor short of courage – we will not make any progress out of the swamp. Torn by argument and battered by conflicting advice, she seems paralysed by dilemmas.

    Once, she seemed clear what she wanted. Now, that no longer appears true.

    In the Tory party there are just a very few who seem to be able to think logically and speak clearly. But a choice must be made and not delayed.

    • Cynic_Rick

      My reply to this is to quote from Richard North’s latest rendition:

      http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86759

      “Sadly, the “ultras” seem to regard their “free trade” ideology as more important then a successful Brexit and appear to be willing to put the whole venture at risk rather than make any concessions. As regards the “rationals”, there is no possibility that they can accept the economic disaster that is embodied in the “no deal” scenario that brings with it the WTO option.

      “So badly has the government handled the Brexit process, though, that we could end up with the “accidental Brexit” that gives us the WTO option by default, presenting us with a price to pay for withdrawal that the majority may consider unacceptable.

      “At that point, we may find that the “ultras” have destroyed our only chance of getting out of the EU. That much is at stake and, with the remainers organising their own rising, we should no longer take it for granted that Brexit is going to happen.”

  • Cynic_Rick

    At least Stephen Kinnock appreciates the EEA/Efta route to Brexit:

    https://www.politico.eu/article/stephen-kinnock-mp-uk-risks-missing-brexit-boat/

    “It is vitally important, therefore, that both the government and the Labour Party clearly state that the EEA/EFTA is our preferred model for the future relationship.

    “The EEA/EFTA model offers the best possible terms of exit because it provides a high degree of access to the single market but allows for important differences that preserve Britain’s desire for self-determination.

    “The EEA, for example, ends the principle of direct effect and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (it is overseen, instead, by the EFTA Court, which frequently forges a different path to the ECJ). It also allows the U.K. to shape the rules of the shared aspects of the single market (studies have shown that only 10 percent of all EU rules apply to the EEA states). There is also a precedent for reforming the operation of free movement through the EEA Joint Committee, which Britain could do by triggering Articles 112 and 113 of the EEA Agreement.

    “The EEA/EFTA model also provides a solid basis upon which to negotiate a customs partnership between the U.K. and the EU, and would deliver the frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic that all parties are rightly committed to preserving.”