The Withdrawal Agreement – The UK’s Prelude To A “Canada Dry” Brexit?



Maybe you were like me, when you were little – on Christmas Eve you just couldn’t sleep, eager to find out what Father Christmas had brought you. You knew what you were getting though, because it was preordained thanks to that 50-page Christmas list you wrote back in August. The much awaited for withdrawal deal, like your Christmas presents, was already wrapped up, well before you turned the first page. There was no way that it could have been any different.

The UK, and ex-Brexit secretary Dominic Raab in particular, having understood what a border is, and how to avoid it, reached an agreement with the EU. The UK proposes to stay in the customs union, abide by all EU laws, accept the ECJ in Northern Ireland if need be, but will be free to choose the colour of street lighting as long as the lightbulbs comply with EU standards. Understanding the abstract complexity and significance of post-modern borders was a bit too much for poor Dominic Raab. The fact is that he didn’t even know what the deal was about, poor soul. No wonder he left.

Less funny, though, is that the deal is probably going to be rejected by the UK parliament, for the simple reason that Brexiteers won’t admit they made a mistake. The resignation of Dominic Raab is just the beginning of the announced death of the Brexit agreement. The Brexiteers’ argument that you cannot deceive 16 million people with a bad deal is completely unfounded. Foremost, what about the 15 million who voted for remain, if the UK leaves without a deal? It’s a bit like if half the population of London wanted to leave the city and the other half didn’t. What do you do, get rid of London?

But the real reason for the Brexit mess that cannot be cleaned up is quite simple. The leave supporters are living in a fantasy world where they have no idea of how treaties work, how countries relate to each other. They also ignore the fact that the days of world domination by a single nation are long gone. 

Where would we be without Boris Johnson’s enlightened views on Brexit and his vision of the future? It’s a future of “Canada +++” economics and social justice. His version of Brexit is not based on the boring and dysfunctional withdrawal agreement, but something much more exotic and tangy. Theresa May’s soft version of Brexit that, in fact, will never end, should be replaced by a “Canada-like” agreement that goes well beyond  a “Canada-like” agreement. Ginger ale and nirvana – an irresistible combination. This is where the Canada Dry ginger ale, that is good enough for the Canadians, gets replaced by Canada Dry ginger ale and lemonade – indispensable for the Brits.



Have you ever wanted to get a taste of nirvana? Well, now’s your chance. From 29th March 2019, that’s all you poor souls stranded on an island, not a stone’s throw away from Donald Trump’s Atlantic ocean, will find in the shops.

But before you ask, “who on earth is nirvana and what does she taste like?” let me explain.

In fact, at the risk of disappointing half the male population, nirvana isn’t a woman at all – hence the absence of a capital letter. Nirvana is no more-no less, the goal of Buddhism – its ultimate objective. Once you have realised that the whole of life – including the EU – is impermanent, and that even your “self” is ever-changing, and thus doesn’t exist as a permanent entity, you’re well on the way to becoming a better person.


The foundations of Boris Johnson’s  conceptions concerning a post-Brexit Britain coincide precisely with nirvana, the consecration of Buddhism. Nothing really exists because everything is impermanent. Even from the beginning of his sentences, to their end, I have changed, and so have you. That is what gives each and every one of us our absolute freedom. 

Boris Johnson doesn’t care about EU regulations. The paper they are written on has no self that can be destroyed by fire, and would not even exist if it were not for trees, sunshine, men and machinery. 

Freedom of movement, just like EU regulations, has no identity because it depends on so many other things – people and countries, to name but two.

The idea that freedom of movement is a fundamental right of the EU is just bollocks. –  Boris Johnson

Thanks to emptiness, everything is possible. – Nagarjuna

The above comments are, of course, tinged with parody. There are much more serious matters at hand, and many more qualified people than me, to analyse the 500+ page withdrawal document, but what I can say is that there are plenty of empty minds wandering through the corridors of Westminster, and none more so than Theresa May. The UK prime minister deserves our admiration for having lasted so long, and not done a runner like so many of her colleagues. But one thing is clear – her short statement outside Number 10 giving an ultimatum to the UK only reflects her state of mind. In saying that the deal reached is better than a no-deal scenario or not leaving the EU at all, Theresa May has just shown how lost she is in the whole Brexit saga. Her remarks suggest that she was either not completely sincere when she supported the Remain campaign, or when she suggests that Brexit is the best thing to happen to the UK since sliced bread.

The Brexit deal resembles the referendum that caused it, by its sheer absurdity. In the same way that the referendum was advisory but binding, so the Brexit deal proposed by Theresa May is “leaving the EU but staying in the EU.” No wonder the Brexiteers aren’t happy, and Dominic Raab had no choice but to leave. But he was the Brexit secretary, wasn’t he? And he knew nothing about the deal, until the last-minute? Can he be responsible for the nature of the deal, but not guilty?

The fact that Northern Ireland will have to apply extra rules, and that all will be under the supervision of EU officials, makes the deal dead even before MP’s have read it. Would you accept a soldier wearing the blue helmet of a foreign institution poking his nose into your business, and driving you to the nearest ECJ if necessary?

It’s quite clear to even the most unconcerned remainer like myself – I’ve been out of the UK too long to worry about their tantrums – that the proposed deal for exiting the EU puts the UK in a worse position. Under the proposed terms, the UK would resemble a disruptive schoolboy who is forced to play in the playground, in the pouring rain, and under strict supervision from the headmaster. It’s better than being expelled from school, I suppose. At least the poor blighter is still on school premises and hasn’t been sent home.

It’s a no-brainer that the deal will be rejected because it resembles more the anticlimax of a suspense thriller where the director has run out of ideas – how I hate those open endings. Has it really taken more than two years to come up with a British “Carry-On” version of the EU? And all this just to ensure a “level playing field?” How I loved the inclined plane of the football pitch I used to play on, during the obligatory school sport-afternoons. It was situated in the wilderness of Raynor’s Park, the only place in London where it was colder in the summer than in the winter. The first half was always a problem, but after the break, we were playing down the slope and, if the breeze was with us, would unleash our French panache, and destroy the opposition.

Life will go on after Brexit, and if the Darwinian nature of UK society is anything to go by, the UK might do rather well out of a no-deal Brexit. It’s a society where the rich get richer, and the poor remain just that – vociferous but harmless. The discrepancies between London and the rest of the UK never cease to get worse, with cool sushi bars in Chelsea shining their bright lights, as far away as the forever closed steel factories in Sheffield, and the disused fishing trawlers in Hull.

Theresa May is right when she says that the proposed deal is much better than no deal at all. Yes, it’s ten times better. But for the Brexiteers’ logic, ten times zero is still zero – so who cares, and let’s get on with a no-deal Brexit, because Brexit means Brexit, if nothing else.