Monday, 16 January 2017
Still none the wiser
As is normal we don't have to wait for the day of the speech to get media briefing notes. What we get though brings us no closer to understanding what Mrs May has in mind. It would appear to be explicit to those in the media with no critical faculties but those who know what the respective terms are, there is room for interpretation.
For instance, Norway is not half in or half out. Norway categorically is not a member of the EU. As to "we do not seek a model already enjoyed by other countries", it still leaves things wide open. Britain being a more diverse economy than most necessarily requires an adaptation even if it uses components of an existing agreement. Moreover, what Mrs May seeks is neither here nor there. It's what she can negotiate that matters.
As to not holding on to bits of membership as we leave... dream on lady. We do not have the administrative capacity to repatriate all of it all at once. Fishing alone is a major headache and with Andrea Loathsome as Defra boss there is no possibility of anything approaching a competent policy coming from her shop.
Admittedly it looks like the intention is to leave the single market but May has not categorically said that. She hasn't given herself much wiggle room - but then this is the Tory party we are talking about. We know what Tory promises are worth when it comes to the EU.
If I had to take a guess at what this actually means, I still think we are on for Bonehead Brexit - trying to secure a comprehensive deal in a single bound. I see no scenario where that is feasible in two years (or even five) and unless May is keeping something from us, it is clear that she has been fed a lot of faulty information about the challenges she faces. Unless we are looking at comprehensive transitional measures then Mrs May is going to land us in hot water.