Many, many, moons ago a number of posts here, offered the opinion that there would be ‘no deal’ that the UK could extract in reality from the European Union. Well, that is even more so still the same view now, when we are at the end of apparently the fourth session and some 4 months into such ‘formal’ pseudo-negotiations in Brussels.
Absolutely NO progress has been made whatsoever, so really we are still standing at the starting gate, but moreover and more importantly progress is UNLIKELY to be made when they restart next month (nor indeed ever before March 2019 when Britain is due to leave the EU?).
You see, the EU has unilaterally set unreasonable and dictatorial preconditions on the way negotiations can precede, and their BREXIT negotiators haven’t yet ended their stonewalling tactics. Their imposed rigid format has formed an impenetrable barrier to getting anywhere in Brussels, and as many of us thought at the time, Britain ought to have recognised that and rejected it out-of-hand at the outset, shouldn’t it? The EU has had the upper hand ever since and still do. EU attitude is, and will remain, “you British must capitulate to ALL our outlandish demands” – now, that is not ‘negotiation’ by any stretch of the imagination, is it?
In what doubtless will prove to be a vain attempt to break the existing logjam, PM Theresa May has stupidly stepped-in last Friday to announce an unwarranted commitment to give them enough dosh to ensure that the EU budget, even 2 years after we leave, doesn’t suffer whatsoever from the UK leaving, and neither will any of the existing members (no increase in their fees or reduction in receipts), and moreover the UK will pay-up all financial obligations from the ‘past’ (when we in fact have absolutely NONE, but the EU will claim is a king’s ransom).
Oh yes, our lead negotiator David Davis now says he believes (really?) that the deadlock has been broken and May has unlocked a change in the EU’s mood because the UK has shown “flexibility – what is meant is that we have “given-in” and made massive concessions both financially and otherwise, so that we have given-up all our trump cards (which as well as money, had included citizens’ rights & security cooperation), with nothing whatsoever to show for it. That is a mad negotiating strategy as anyone who has experience will know – you just don’t do those kinds of things when you can’t trust the other party, or when you are dealing with a demonstrable serious lack of goodwill on EU side, do you?
Cutting to the chase then, the opinion voiced here in a number of BREXIT blogs before, is that at the outset we needed to accept that the EU’s twenty-seven other countries would be incapable of ultimately agreeing any kind of ‘acceptable’ deal with Britain about our departure, and we haven’t even yet reached that FINAL hurdle which is still some seventeen months away, have we?
Instead of putting all our eggs in the basket of negotiating the mirage of a “good deal” which is the false ambition of the existing Government, we should putting all our energy and resources into the plans to deal with the likely “no deal”, surely? The May Government is making the same mistake as the Cameron one did by not having a plan that prepares ourselves for the ‘unwanted’ outturn. The worst thing about not doing that is that the EU side of the table know that we are bluffing when we say “No deal is better than a bad deal”, because they can see we will have no option, because we have no other plans lined-up, so we will have to accept any crumbs of comfort that they deem to offer the UK, don’t they?
They have now faced us down and ‘we blinked first’.
We know that in the event of a no deal outcome, we will have to continue with our same trading links but under World Trade Organisation rules, and we will certainly want to do that, because there are a multitude of small UK companies that already have long standing ‘strong’ relationships with customers in the EU and they fully expect their trading to continue, don’t they?
Perhaps for example, the Government could set-up a ring-fenced WTO financial treasury fund operating for 5 years, to which the tariffs paid by European companies exporting stuff to us are paid in, on which British companies exporting to the EU can draw down. Now, since the EU export MORE goods to us than the UK exports to them that would give stability to our companies until new trading agreements around the World are in place. This would be a particularly sound approach because the EU market is a progressively shrinking one for us, while there are other major expanding markets
Just remember everyone, that the EU autocrats have so far stuck to their guns in refusing to even start discussion on future trading arrangements until we agree a “divorce’ settlement which could be say €100 billion – but IF we ever agreed to that, you can bet your bottom dollar that it would NOT get us a trade deal though (or anything else) because they will demand that we BUY that privilege on top, so that the UK pays in for evermore, eh?
As it stands, with the new dynamics of the negotiations after Theresa May’s intervention, the debate on how much budget we will have spare by leaving the EU, to plough-in and save our cash strapped NHS, becomes irrelevant as it will be a negative number, won’t it?
[THIS IS NOT THE BREXIT THE COUNTRY VOTED FOR. Time for our Government to get real at last in our EU negotiations, don’t you think?]