The British people have rejected the hardest of hard Brexits – but what are the practical alternatives? There aren’t any – except to stay in the EU.
The hard-line Brexiteers still do not recognise the economic harm they have already inflicted on Britain – with more developing rapidly beneath the surface. They will prevent the UK Brexit negotiators from putting forward a coherent policy and the two-year clock to March 2019 departure will tick increasingly loudly for commerce in Britain, raising the tempo of economic damage suffered by electors.
As the pound drops, so will the `penny’ as voters increasingly experience the harshness of Brexit and realise how much they have been misled. They will demand a further referendum as the only way to give their representatives in Parliament a clear mandate for sorting out the mess – but they may also insist on a new set of representatives who tell them the truth.
The unpalatable alternatives are simple as some special `bespoke’ deal now looks even more unrealistic:
Staying in the `customs union’ means the mythical idea of negotiating hosts of free trade deals around the world would have to be formally buried.
Remaining in the `single market’ means that its rules would continue to be enforced by the European Court of Justice. If they are not, then by definition it would not be `single’. The hard-line Brexiteers will never accept `bending the knee’ to the ECJ’. It also means the `four freedoms’ must remain – including the totemic concept of free movement
Joining EFTA (if they will have us…) requires accepting both the above – with the added disadvantage for the UK of simply taking whatever rules the EU27 care to agree in the future.
© Graham Bishop
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