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.


Blogger Recusant said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. I think the result you have posited is pretty much where we will end up. The only change I would make is that the whole thing is going to be done and dusted a lot sooner than you think. It won't be like one of those horrific and long drawn out divorce cases. This one will be like a divorce where the couple decide very quickly that their mutual contempt is growing so fast that they swiftly cut a deal and move on.

9:19 am  
Blogger Tim J said...

God that would be nice.

10:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that free trade in goods is relatively easily achievable, free trade in services perhaps not so easy.
And that many goods these days, above the level of nails by the bushel, are goods/service packages.

And when that free trade re. low or zero tariffs is also fairly easy; the difficulty comes with things like regulatory standards etc. if outside the Single Market area, and third party content rules if outside the customs union.

Latter is a massive issue for the Japanese car manufacturers and other mutiply sourced integrated products.

This is why some of the more realistic Leavers have been trying, and largely failing, since the referendum to persuade their fellows that EEA is best option, at least temporarily. Though that might(?) not address the customs/third party issue.
(Never mind the fun to be had with quota variable tariffs).

I tend to suspect that May and Hammond at least know this full well, and that the whole "play your cards close to your chest" and prerogative powers nonsense is primarily intended to conceal the necessity of some sort of EEA/Customs Union arrangement, albeit in thin disguise, from the headbangers: if the loonies are howling against Remoaners and judges etc, and unable to see govt. initial proposals getting summarily canned by the EU team, they are marginally less likely to go on the warpath against the PM.

In short govt. most dangerous opponents in the medium term aren't remainders of Remain, or the EU, it's the hardLeavers in Parliament, Party and press.

3:21 pm  

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