This post may offend or even classify me as a Leaver, but I maintain the firm conviction that enough is enough. The UK has struck a deal with the EU, and that should signal the UK’s departure from the EU. It may be easy for me to say that, covered by my dual citizenship and a professional qualification that will remain valid. But the fact is that a majority of MP’s cannot accept that any exit from the EU will entail some sort of deal that resembles the present one.
What does the House of Commons want? Do politicians really believe that the UK can leave the EU and have full access to its single market without a trace of customs control, whilst at the same time severely restricting immigration?
It is utopic to pretend to be able to leave the EU without a scratch, and it is undemocratic to dodge the result of a referendum in which it was made crystal clear that the result would be respected. Even those outside parliament are twisting a tool of democracy in their own favour, being as they are, staunch supporters of remaining in the EU.
There is just no escaping the claws of the single market and customs union because they form the foundations on which the EU, with all its faults and imperfections, is based upon. It is the UK that is leaving, and not the EU. London cannot be allowed to cause a breach in the rules of the single market, in the same way that Brussels is not responsible if the UK has no choice but to leave without a deal.
Let us not deviate from the problem at hand by saying that voters did not know what they were voting for or have since changed their minds. Let us not fall into the trap of those who support a second referendum with no other ulterior motive than that of giving the people the final say. The marchers who shout for a second referendum are too full of Union flags covered with golden stars instead of the cross of Saint George. The only democratic process that will really test the UK’s desire to leave the EU or revoke article 50 is a general election in which each candidates state quite clearly where they stand on Brexit and how they will vote on any future deal.
Any form of withdrawal deal is a preamble to a future trade deal with the EU that will pose the same problems intrinsically linked to the Irish border. So why not accept Boris Johnson’s deal now and improve it when discussing the future trade relationship with the EU?
Opponents to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal claim that the present deal is even worse than the one obtained by Theresa May, leaving the UK still entangled in the EU trade mesh, post-Brexit. They are kidding themselves by thinking that an acceptable Brexit is synonymous with an end to wrangling with Continental Europe. A withdrawal agreement, as its name implies, sets the rules concerning the UK’s departure from the EU and not its future political and economic relationship with Europe.
No one seems to mention that it is the political declaration that goes with the withdrawal agreement that will set the tone for any free trade agreement between the UK and the EU. Reading the document, it becomes apparent that the political declaration is not synonymous with obtaining easy one-sided trade deals.
Given the Union and the United Kingdom’s geographic proximity and economic interdependence, the future relationship must ensure open and fair competition, encompassing robust commitments to ensure a level playing field.
Brexiteers seem to think that the present political declaration will facilitate agreeing a free-trade deal with the EU because shadowing EU rules on competition and state aids is no longer a pre-requisite for a deal, a more open-ended commitment not to distort competition being a sufficient basis for a trade deal between the UK and the EU.
The UK may very well obtain lucrative trade deals after Brexit, but not that easily I fear, and certainly not without being pushed around by the US, China and – dare I say it – the EU. That is the price to pay when you a small and act on your own.