Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Short-circuiting Brexit

God but the endless peregrinations and peseverations about Brexit are trying. Yes, we know that the Government isn't offering a running commentary. Yes, we know that the EU is going to be extra extra hard on the UK to punish us for leaving. Yes yes, all Tory MPs are parochial thickies who've never been east of Dover. Christ. And there's going to be months and months more of this, regardless of the result of the Supreme Court litigation (although that'll be worth it for seeing how Mance and Sumption disagree with each other).

So let's just cut to the chase. Here's what the shape of the eventual deal will be (and feel free to call me an idiot again in 2019 for getting them all wrong, when we've been flung into outer darkness).

If there's one thing we're definitely sick of hearing it is that you can't be a member of the single market without accepting freedom of movement of people. Fine. So we won't be a member of the single market. That was pretty bloody obvious on the morning of the 24th. So a deal will be cut:

Free trade in goods;
Reduced UK budget contributions (notionally towards maintaining common standards regulation);
Access to financial markets governed by Solvency II style regulatory equivalence;
Continued close military & intelligence co-operation;
Free movement of workers.

That last one? Well, the Treaty of Rome set out the four fundamental freedoms that underpin the EU. Everyone (approximately) now sees the first of these as the "free movement of persons". The actual text of the Treaty, however, refers to the free movement of "workers" and grants the freedom of movement specifically to accept "offers of employment actually made". A reasonable compromise, therefore, would be for the UK to allow immigration into the UK of any EU citizen who has been offered a job in the UK.

Anyway, that's what should happen. And I think we all know by now how good I am at making these predictions.