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This Brexit deal is the end of the beginning Britain hasn't come to heel. But what comes next will be even harder

If anything, it looks like the EU side blinked

If anything, it looks like the EU side blinked


December 25, 2020   5 mins

Voltaire’s joke philosopher Professor Pangloss preached in the midst of disaster that “all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds”. It doesn’t sound quite so absurd if you put a strong stress on the word “possible”. It’s easy enough to create imaginary worlds, and to aspire to perfect solutions. But the possible? That, after all (as that supremely effective cynic Otto von Bismarck put it) is what the art of politics consists of. The defenders of the ‘deal’ finally agreed between Britain and the EU — defenders on both sides of the Channel and the North Sea — will doubtless tell us that it was the best possible in the circumstances.

Was it worth it? All the turmoil, anger, effort and worry since 2016? Remainers will unanimously say “No!”: how much better the world would be if we had remained docilely within the embrace of Brussels. Many Leavers will also say “No!”: how much better if our rulers had stored up their courage and walked out. We shall never be able to say which of these imaginary scenarios might have been true, which is what makes them so attractive to those who hold them.

Both would have had their costs. Had we voted, in 2016, to Remain, we would probably have been increasingly marginalised inside an EU set on greater centralisation of power, but which, as the history of the last 20 years has shown ever more clearly, lacks democratic legitimacy. The EU has become a political black hole, sucking authority away from its member states, but unable to use it to solve its increasing problems. Success for the EU has become little more than staving off disaster. The most obvious example of this, of course, is the insoluble problem of the eurozone: creator of poverty and unemployment, kept afloat on an ocean of debt, benefitting a few countries at the expense of the others.

A remarkable recent study by a German think-tank estimated that EU membership since 2000 had cost every Frenchman on average 56,000 euros, and every Italian 74,000, whereas every German had gained 25,000. Although we would have been outside the euro, we would have been partially responsible for its rickety structure. This has been further undermined by the devastation of the Covid crisis, aggravated by the EU’s divisive and ineffective financial rescue package, and, as if to add insult to injury, rounded off with tardy and incompetent planning for vaccination. So the purely negative advantages of being outside the EU are potentially huge. For one thing, the Commission has calculated that the UK would have been liable for 84 billion euros in its next budgetary cycle.

So why not just walk away? Tempting indeed. Boris must surely have wondered whether this was at last his 1940 moment: “I felt 
 that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.” Some naïve press hyperbole has even called this the worst crisis since 1940. Fortunately, it is infinitely less grave. Nevertheless, Boris has had to deal with a divided country, a divided party, a ruthlessly hostile and opportunist opposition, uncontrolled and largely hostile media (how would Churchill have coped with today’s BBC?), and nationalists licking their lips. Was Macron’s cynical Channel blockade an attempt at intimidation? If so, the Government’s own clumsiness is largely to blame: it managed to turn a scientific advantage into a global disaster, giving our rivals and enemies a field day. So a deal at least wins short-term relief, and takes the wind out of the sails of Keir Starmer and Nicola Sturgeon. It will not stop hard-line Remainers from blaming everything on Brexit. But it will smooth things down over the next few weeks and months. And a week is a long time in politics.

This is not the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning. Professor Pangloss might argue that through a chaotic process of political Darwinism we have arrived at the necessary (and, therefore, best possible) outcome . Think back across the aeons to 2016. Few people had any idea what Brexit ought to mean. ‘Hard’ Brexiteers thought of a Norway option, or rejoining EFTA or the European Economic Area. Mrs May and her advisors — wise (or so one would have thought) from years of negotiations in Brussels — imagined some “bespoke” deal, “ambitious” and wide ranging. Some Brexiteers predicted an easy negotiation: to reach a free trade agreement with people with whom we already had free trade.

How simple minded we were to think that the people who ran the EU would simply accept the UK’s decision, and pragmatically work out the most mutually beneficial future relationship. That is not how the EU operates, as we have seen most recently in Greece and Italy. Challenges to Mr Verhofstadt’s mighty empire have to be defeated, or the whole structure might begin to unravel. The EU were encouraged to think that they could repeat in Britain what they had succeeded with in Greece and Italy (not to mention Ireland and Denmark) by the tireless campaigning of Remain to try to undo the referendum — a strategy now condemned by Lord Mandelson for failing in its stated aim, but which succeeded brilliantly from the EU’s point of view in undermining the British government’s position throughout. The EU and the Remainers managed to set the terms of the debate: it was all about the UK’s “access” to the EU market, ignoring the need of key EU countries for “access” to the UK’s market (the most valuable in the world both for Germany and France), and of course to our fisheries.

The May government’s incoherent strategy, made worse by the unconstitutional antics of parliament, led to a disastrous Withdrawal Agreement and the trap of the Northern Ireland backstop. Boris Johnson inherited this poisoned chalice, from which Remainers gloated he would have to drink. It was impossible, so went the argument, to get the EU to change its mind. It held all the cards, and the UK was a pathetic supplicant with delusions of grandeur. As a former British representative to the EU proclaimed in the House of Lords, “We will huff and puff but, in the end, we will basically come to heel”.

Well, it seems we haven’t: if anything, the EU side seems to have blinked. It will take some time for the details of this agreement to be scrutinised. The traditional British approach — centuries old — of not looking too closely at texts in the assumption that common sense would prevail has, we must hope, now been abandoned. In dealing with the EU, you read the small print and count your spoons. We must assume that every loophole will be exploited by an organisation that fears our departure and begrudges our possible future success, because it reflects badly on itself.

But, at first sight, this agreement seems to assure the essentials. We will not be subject to EU law or the European Court. We will not be vulnerable to one-sided economic blackmail. Even our long-suffering fishing industry will have the chance to revive. We shall be freer to continue (as has been happening for 20 years) shifting our trade away from the EU to more profitable regions. In future we shall have no one to blame for our shortcomings but ourselves. The end of the beginning. What comes now will be harder still.


Professor Robert Tombs is a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and the author of The English and Their History


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Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
3 years ago

“As a former British representative to the EU proclaimed in the House of Lords, “We will huff and puff but, in the end, we will basically come to heel”. Well, it seems we haven’t: if anything, the EU side seems to have blinked.”

Indeed, the MSM pushed the myth of the EU holding all the cards in negotiations but if they did, why didn’t the EU force Boris to go into the last election on a no deal platform, a much harder proposition to sell to the wider public? Instead they handed Boris the withdrawal agreement he needed to win a landslide. Not the behaviour of a negotiator with nothing to fear from no deal.

And now, despite months of telling the UK no deal would have been a catastrophy for the us but a minor inconvenience for the EU, they appear to have given the UK most of what we wanted.

Perhaps the EU are so magnanimous they let us have this deal out of the goodness of their hearts? Or perhapes everything the Remain campaign told us for the past four years was utter fantasy.

Dave Bradley
Dave Bradley
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Thinking about the Remain campaign my three favorite lines were

1 Donald Tusk: “Brexit could destroy Western political civilisation”

2 George Osborne “House prices could fall by 18% if Britain quits EU”

3 David Cameron “Brexit’ could trigger World War Three”

Plus during a debate on Brexit a remainer said ( and i’m sorry i can’t remember his name) if we leave on time we will run out of food and then went as far to name the exact date as being the 15th of august
I’m sure people will have there own and no doubt someone on the remain side will remind me of things said by the leave side that were just as stupid

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Bradley

And medicines. We should all be dead by now.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Bradley

my favorite line from the Leave Campaign “350 million pound every week for the NHS”

J J
J J
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

We have spent an extra 6.2 billion pounds on the NHS this year. Funding is now at a record high, in real terms, per capita and as a percentage of GDP. NHS spending has pretty much increased in real terms every year of it’s existence.

Don’t fall for the left wing propaganda. The truth is not what you’ve been told.

Helen Balshen
Helen Balshen
3 years ago
Reply to  J J

Absolute nonsense try working in the NHS.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Helen Balshen

Do you have any data to cite? Or just your “lived experience”?

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

The complaints about that line are just so unutterably dull. If you earn £100k/year, you don’t have £100k/year to spend. Almost half is taken by the government to spend on what they want to spend. Which figure would you cite as your income – £100k or the post-tax amount?

The £350M was clumsy, ill-defined and not a claim I would have made in that way. But the moans about it are shrill and silly.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Anyway, £350 million was an understatement of the money going out to the EU, and far more is going to the NHS now.

The reason Brexiteers allowed the Remainers to keep repeating their false accusation without correction was that it enabled everyone else to realize just how much of our money was flowing to the EU. A lot of people hadn’t realized before. It was a brilliant piece of PR and the Remainers provided most of the publicity by going on and on arguing about it. All most people picked up was that an awful lot of our money was going to Brussels, no matter what the exact amount.

Pete Rose
Pete Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

“my favorite line from the Leave Campaign “350 million pound every week for the NHS”

Except it wasn’t that, was it?

It was “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund the NHS instead.”

You do understand the difference between “let’s” and “we will”, don’t you?

Let me help you. One is a suggestion that was meant to stir the imagination as to what could be done with the money we pour into the EU’s coffers, while the other is a promise. It really isn’t that difficult.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Rose

It is very difficult it seems to many of our dear Remanic friends

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

Boris Johnson admits Brexit deal falls short for financial services

PM says agreement ‘does not go as far as we would like’ over sector’s access to EU markets

trouble in paradise

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Rose

I recognize your distinction without a difference and am not surprised by your failed logic and also recognize your disembling.

Pete Rose
Pete Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

So, you’ve got nothing then.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Rose

you and yours have the empty hands, get used to it.

Boris Johnson admits Brexit deal falls short for financial services

PM says agreement ‘does not go as far as we would like’ over sector’s access to EU markets

Pete Rose
Pete Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

As I said; so, you’ve got nothing then. I bet you think you’re a “progressive” of some sort while fawning over a corporate club that has the only constitution in the entire world that has effectively outlawed Socialism with its rules on competition and procurement and its regulations on State Aid. An unreformable champion of the worst excesses of neoliberalism that habitually uses its ECJ to rule in favour of corporations over and above Trade Unions and ordinary people. At least out of the EU we the people can decide on what kind of government we want and thereby which direction we go in, both politically and economically. It’s called democracy. Something the EU “doesn’t do”. Something denied to us by a distant undemocratic entitity where 30,000 corporate lobbyists embedded in Brussels have more influence over forming policy than you or I ever will.

Us actual progressives have watched you intolerant authoritarians masquerading as “progressives” and have seen that what your argument boils down to is an arrogant and bigoted contempt for those you see as beneath you. Nothing more.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Rose

well that is a load of indecipherable bullocks

Deryck Hall
Deryck Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Rose

Except we didn’t send the EU £350m every week. Mrs Thatcher secured a rebate that had brought our contribution down to £286m pw. Then, of course, we received c£230m back from the EU in the form of CAP and CFP subsidies, regional development funding and other finding.

c£56m – stiil.a sizeable sum – doesn’t look so good on the side of a bus.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Deryck Hall

You don’t mention Blair’s surrender of a large part of the rebate in exchange for CAP reform which never came. Of course this accumulated sum was never refunded to us when we left.

Pete Rose
Pete Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Deryck Hall

Most sources state the net amount as £181 million, but I get your point. It could also be argued that that sum was correct in 2016, our net contribution is likely higher in 2020.

But this is just nit picking. Nowhere did it say on the side of any bus “We send the EU £350 million a week, we will give that £350 million a week to the NHS instead”.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

They got access to manufacturing and you LOST access to the service market.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

To misquote the late, great Clement Attlee, a period of silence from both Remainers and Leavers would be most welcome.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

Conservatives broke it and now own it, no more EU or Labour to blame.

“It means that we will have full political and economic independence on 1 January 2021. A points-based immigration system will put us in full control of who enters the UK and free movement will end.

“We have delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions, which protects the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it.

“We have got Brexit done and we can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us as an independent trading nation, striking trade deals with other partners around the world.”

“Boris Johnson

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

And yet notice the complete lack of any panic. This is because the single market for services has never been fully functional in the EU. Not only that but service industries are rarely include in free trade agreements anyway and tend not to be, because they are able to trade perfectly well on WTO rules.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

The idea large European countries will decide to avail themselves of heavily regulated , relatively tiny pool of more expensive capital..and not want to borrow and finance in the predominat pool of investment from the rest of the world is just the latest in a long line of Remainer fantasies.

A mercedes Benz struggling with legacy factories and production line will not borrow one tiny ‘click’ above Tesla if it can help it…and ditto that for Ikea, Aldi and whoever else you want to mention.

WE will see of course, but I don’t expect any great massive change…which hasn’t happened yet despite endless predictions by Remainers…of London’s financial/commercial business sector power draining to Paris or Frankfurt.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

Have you EVER worked in Investment Banking?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

you really do need to keep up…

“City firms move £1.2tn and 7,500 jobs out of London – EY”

‘Dublin still among big winners from Brexit exodus by financial services groups’

The Irish Times
Thu, Oct 1, 2020

“In the wake of Brexit, Amsterdam is the new London”

‘How a city less than a tenth of London’s size is becoming Europe’s unlikely financial powerhouse.’

FORTUNE MAGAZINE
BY VIVIENNE WALT
November 25, 2019

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

A recent report by TheCityUK, a membership organisation that lobbies for the financial sector, estimates that 751,000 people are currently in jobs across the sector in London as a whole.

https://www.onlondon.co.uk/

Keep calm and carry on Nun!

Your selective reasoning might give you a heart attack.

Greg C.
Greg C.
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Opinion masquerading as fact, written by Remainiacs. Try harder. You are not even wrong.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

On the other hand, there’s this from City A.M. 14 December 2020:

“Warnings that Brexit would deliver a major shock to the City’s financial services jobs have failed to pay off, with international banks maintaining the bulk of their UK staff since the 2016 referendum.

A survey of 24 major international banks and asset managers by the Financial Times found that the majority had increased their London headcount over the past five years.

JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, UBS, Japan’s MUFG and Goldman Sachs are among a raft of high-profile banks to have boosted their UK employee numbers in the past few years, despite warnings that Brexit would cause an exodus to the continent.”

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

And don’t forget that Unilver has decided to base itself in London instead of its split UK/Dutch structure. This is much to the chagrin of Dutch politicians, some of whom are attempting to hit Unilever with a massive fine.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

stay tuned bunny

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

who you going to believe?… Fortune Magazine read around the world and acknowledged as a valued and credible source of news or a The City’s community newspaper and FT the voice of the Monarchy and defender of the Empire?

keep your eyes glued on that rear view mirror.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“And yet notice the complete lack of any panic.”
From you!

L Paw
L Paw
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Do you ever attempt to post anything vaguely truthful?
Which market for goods did the EU not have access to pre Brexit agreement that they have post Brexit agreement?
And why are Global investment banks increasing their employee numbers in London?
Worst Remainer figures for loss of jobs in City are 4% of workforce. Figures fluctuate more than that annually without Brexit.

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Not true.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

the folks commenting on this thread have no comprehension of the implications of this fact.

Jean Fothers
Jean Fothers
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

That’s because nobody, anywhere,not just on this thread, are anywhere near as clever as you.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Temporary equivalence rights have been granted with a comprehensive framework under discussion.

Meanwhile, London has much of this financial plumbing, which manages trillions of dollars of derivatives contracts every day.
https://www.wsj.com/article

Shifting £1.2tn and 7500 jobs works out at about 1% of total jobs and total assets Ă°ĆžÂ€â€

In other words, get a grip.

Kevin Carling
Kevin Carling
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

I’m looking out the window and the sky hasn’t fallen yet. Let me know when it does

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Carling

Boris Johnson admits Brexit deal falls short for financial services

PM says agreement ‘does not go as far as we would like’ over sector’s access to EU markets

clearly it is all too painful for you to be reading the press and their putting. the details of the “Tory’s” great success…if this is what you and yours believe to be success you are in for a very bad decade…but you will always have the Queen.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“…they appear to have given the UK most of what we wanted.”

details please.

Stephen Colman
Stephen Colman
3 years ago

I’m not a fan of Boris. I consider him to be a buffoon more focused on rhetoric than results. However I have to say that the key to avoiding no deal seems to be his appointment of Lord Frost as chief negotiator. He seems to have brought a clarity and sense of purpose to the negotiations and forced the EU to change its overbearing and superior attitude.

This is not a great deal but it is an ok one. All deals involve compromise and we were never going to get everything we wanted. What we have got is a lot better than no deal and leaves us free to pursue new avenues of trade and freedom to make our own destiny.

The EU faces real structural problems. Its ruling elite is moving further away from the people it claims to represent but who in reality have very little say in what actually happens. There will be a lot of people watching us to see if we can make a success of Brexit and many who will wish to emulate us.

It’s time to end the endless recriminations and move forward together to redefine this country both economically and culturally. And I say this as someone who voted to remain.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Colman

“I consider him to be a buffoon more focused on rhetoric than results.”

Cicero would have regarded this as his most admirable feature. The truth is that politics is largely rhetoric. No-one could possibly care about some pokey ‘trade deal’ or other. What people really care about is the loud trumpeting of principles, hopefully sprinkled with some wit, and encouraging phrases which promote endurance and courage. Remainers have never understood this natural, human trait.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

“Buffoon” and “blustering” are the two most overdone cliches as applied to the PM. Do these people even know they are just repeating now meaningless insults? For some reason “blonde” is another cliched insult.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Quite. Given that Mr Johnson got a result here, in the face of intense pressure from all angles, the claim that he’s more focused on rhetoric than results is an odd one. For all that we don’t yet know all the angles of the agreement here, the truth is the EU blinked. We got something far better than they claimed we’d get.

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Colman

Except that we still have the Withdrawal Treaty, with which the EU will still be able to skewer the UK, especially by creating internal division.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Colman

Yes, it appears that much credit it due to Lord Frost.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I don’t know what a Lord becomes after being further honoured, but I’d like Mr Frost to benefit from whatever it is …

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

He can be decorated.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Sounds good to me ðƾ


agsmith.uk
agsmith.uk
3 years ago

The mistake that the ‘Remainers’ made, all along, was that the British people would be persuaded by what became known as their ‘Project Fear’. The fact is that ‘Brexit’ was not an economic question at all, but the desire to regain the nation’s sovereignty. To that argument, the Remainers had no answer. Other member nation’s Remainers will soon have to face up to the same conundrum. The exodus is about to begin!

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  agsmith.uk

‘The fact is that ‘Brexit’ was not an economic question at all, but the desire to regain the nation’s sovereignty. To that argument, the Remainers had no answer.’

You’re right, Brexit was always fundamentally a political question rather than an economic one, therefore the only way that Remainers could counter that was essentially by framing it purely in economic terms ie it will make us all poorer, not least the ‘poor’ people who apparently ignorantly and selfishly voted for it in the first place and they repeatedly feigned concern for, or by dismissing the whole concept of sovereignty itself as entirely nebulous and meaningless or, perhaps most unforgivably, disingenuously conflating it with the divisive, ugly concepts of nationalism, isolationism and xenophobia.

Never mind that the sovereignty that the UK sought to regain by the referendum vote was the very same sovereignty that the EU had gradually been snaffling from the UK since the signing of Maastricht and that it covets and seeks for itself in order to legally cement its own power and legitimacy.

With the UK ‘gone’, the largest country that at least offered some resistance to this seemingly inexorable so-called ‘pooling of sovereignty’, other smaller, like-minded countries that chose to hide cravenly behind it, happy for it alone to be forever characterised as the ‘bad European’, will find it far harder to resist now and yet they will only have themselves to blame quite frankly.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

You were sovereign – that is why you held a referendum.
Are we to believe that Blackpool and Skegness voted leave because they truly understand EU but Oxbridge doesn’t?

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Given its trajectory, 2016 was likely the UK’s last ever chance to leave the EU via its own democratic, constitutional means.

That referendum was the culmination of over 25 years of building political pressure in the UK and in that time the European Project had become something VERY different and will and would go on to become something else again.

Do you ever ask yourself why the rest of the EU member states aren’t exactly falling over themselves to put these fundamental sovereignty based questions to the public vote, and are you aware of the results on the rare occasions where they have done?

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Ah, so should only Oxbridge graduates be allowed to vote on such matters and certainly not ignorant northern chavs?

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

That certainly seemed to be the implication didn’t it?

What I found most disturbing immediately after the Brexit vote was how there were frequent calls by some ‘losers’ to actually redefine the very principle of universal suffrage that underpins democracy.

Democracy lives and dies by losers’ consent not so much by the winners’ victory, so to find this even being suggested at the time was a shocking indictment of those who even suggested it but in many ways echoed the EU’s own attitude to the tiresome inconveniences thrown up by putting the far reaching aims of its own project up for a specific or periodic public vote in any of the member states, with the arguable exception of Ireland.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Just after the referendum result, one particularly devastated remainer pretty much said that I personally might just as well have wielded the knife and gun that murdered Joe Cox. When compared with that kind of hysteria the idea that certain people with the wrong kind of attitudes should be disenfranchised from the vote on the grounds of their obvious mental incapacity seems fairly mild.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

How extraordinary.

A few of them are indeed complete nutters unfortunately.

I’ve had the odd unpleasant exchange, but nothing quite as bad a that.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

Did I say that?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I don’t know why you’re saying anything since you aren’t from the UK.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You certainly seemed to imply it!

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

Speaking as a northern chav who lives in Blackpool and voted leave I have to say its been terribly nice to rub those posh toffs in Oxbridge’s noses well and truly in our filth! Twitter has been a real joy to see this past coupe of days. What a poor old load of plonkers crying into their Christmas trifles they all are. Never have I typed out the words “Didums den’ quite so often 😉

anthony tebbs
anthony tebbs
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Could it be that Blackpool and Skegness understand their own lives very well – and voted accordingly.
As for Oxbridge understand Blackpool and Skeggy I have no opinion.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  anthony tebbs

It would be beneath an Oxbridge type to ever go to such places.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Yes, because they are crappy places. And I am sure (c.99%?) that you don’t go there either.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’ve had some great times in both Skegness and Blackpool. But then again I’m not a pretentious snob.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Blackpool is just down the road but we don’t go much, it is very run down. I believe it’s the only town in the UK to contain two of the country’s ten most deprived wards.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  anthony tebbs

“As for Oxbridge understand Blackpool and Skeggy I have no opinion.”
Did I ask that?

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yes

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Just wait until the new EU treaties replacing the Lisbon Treaty come into effect in 2025. There will be no Article 50.
Anyway, the ability to hold a referendum does not sovereignty make.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Matthew Goodwin has often referred to research showing that Leavers had as much knowledge of the workings and structures of the EU as did the Remainers. My own experience is that Leavers know a lot more about the insidious ways and Soviet-style governing structures of the EU than Remainers.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

There is great wisdom and understanding in people who haven’t been brainwashed by wokism. Thank Heaven for them.

Hadyn Oriti
Hadyn Oriti
3 years ago

As an Australian, from this side of the world, leaving and doing this deal seemed like “no brainers”.

That a nation, any nation but especially the UK, encompassing a country that had given the world parliamentary democracy, would out-source its lawmaking and regulation to the bureaucrats of Brussels was simply unfathomable. The Remainers’ arguments lacked any sense of self-esteem or self-confidence.

In any event, I am cheering Boris on and hope that the little emperors lurking within the DNA of the EU get their comeuppance.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Hadyn Oriti

As an American I agree with you 100%. It was very sad for us to see the lack of confidence from the land that gave the US much of its DNA.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

As a British person living abroad with completely British (or rather, English) DNA it was depressing to watch that lack of confidence and commitment to that most basic of our shared values. Am no Boris fan but the man does have an uncanny knack of tapping into the old drive for freedom.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Agreed. He also has a knack for tapping into the old drive for democracy. To me Remain was less about the EU and more about who should be making decisions about the UK’s future. It looked like ferocious push-back against the “deplorables” even from Parliament, which was shocking.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

I’ve been shocked by Americans I’ve met who thought that leaving the EU was a crazy decision. The reply, “would you accept the U.S being governed from Mexico City?” invariably shuts them up.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

I can’t tell if Americans who would say that really understand the EU and the control it exerts over much of life in member countries because you’re right, few Americans would accept it. Nor do they understand that countries lose the freedom to be able to manage their economies. Imagine Canada telling Americans that they have to adopt austerity measures and let in thousands of unvetted refugees!

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

You can be pretty sure that Churchill would have had a tough time with “todays BBC”

Emily and Laura Haw Haw would have been pushing the “Why don’t you just surrender ?” agenda from day one.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

We dealt quite effectively (if not, perhaps, wholly lawfully) with William Joyce, when we finally got our hands on him.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Quentin Vole

True – he didn’t benefit from todays “woke gender protections”

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Congratulations! Having no one to blame is the dawning of adulthood.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
3 years ago

No doubt there were those on the first lifeboat to leave the Titanic who, observing the cold, dark ocean all around them, looked back wistfully at the still brightly-lit promenade deck, and wondered aloud whether it was too late to row back; failing to notice that the bows of the ship were perilously close to the water.

Lionel Woodcock
Lionel Woodcock
3 years ago

This is a good deal; better thanmost of us expected.

The outliers on both sides will, of course, continue shouting but they will be increasingly isolated, irrelevant and ignored.

The plain fact is that we are now indisputably an independent nation state and our deep-seated cultural values wIll drive us to a complex and unique future.

There will be endless postmortems and we will often wonder at the plain silliness of it all. But it will be greatly valuable to have some insight into how we moved from a lost cause to independence. What were the enduring and hidden realities that made that happen.

Dodgy Geezer
Dodgy Geezer
3 years ago

In future we shall have no one to blame for our shortcomings but ourselves. The end of the beginning. What comes now will be harder still.

That would be exactly why I voted Leave, and wanted it to be with No Deal.

UK politicians, and the UK rulling establishment, have had it far too easy over the past 50 years. They have just delegated all the difficult decision to inpenetrable committees in Brussels. And they have become incompetent and soft.

The only way you become competent is testing yourself against the hard world. Ten years of that, and all the competent people should rise to the top, and we will have a capable ruling class again…

Hugh R
Hugh R
3 years ago

You’re right Professor, but as the country bumkin said to BMW driver – no I don’t know where Bicester is…but I ain’t lost.
China, a more isolationist USA, collapsing South America, belligerent Russia – it all adds up to difficulties, for sure. However, we won’t be on the hook for the normal run-of-the-mill Tens of billions, before the the financial hole that Berlaymont dare not even imagine – the Euro and Target2 nightmares.
Benifits enough.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh R

I always liked the bumkin asked by a lost driver how to get to Bicester says ‘If I was going to Bicester I would not be starting from here’.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh R

“Euro and Target2 nightmares.”

What does that mean?

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

11

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Google
Bigger than the GFC – Target 2 and the Euro crisis – Dr Oliver Hartwich
For an introduction to the EU’s little secret

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

I know you think you are making a deep monetary/fiscal point but you are not.
You are repeating semi-conspiracy theories from internet.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Don’t be ridiculous.
Hartwich is a respected academic explaining how the system works.
And you are just a silly little boy in denial.
Do your own google search then.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Don’t be ridiculous.
Hartwich is a respected academic explaining how the system works.
And you are just a silly child.
Do your own search then, and tell me what you discover.

nicktoeman4
nicktoeman4
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

What conspiracy Jeremy? Credits and debts are way out of balance under TARGET2 and cannot be settled without default and restructuring that could shake the foundations of the Union. Or do you have a solution that provides surging growth for Italy to wipe the slate clean of half a trillion euros owed to Germany?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  nicktoeman4

Do you think Germany is (Bundesbank or the German Federal Gov?) going to ask for the money back?

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You do not understand what either Hartwich or Toeman are telling you. So you just squawk.
Old adage: When something cannot go on forever – It will stop.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Jeremy, I would be very grateful if you could put me at ease by explaining why Target2 is nothing to worry about. I was alarmed when I first watched Oliver Hartwich’s lecture, but Germany’s Target2 balance seems to have been stable at just under a trillion Euro for several years, so now I don’t know what to think.

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

This shows that ignorance is the basis of views strongly held by a Remainer.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
3 years ago

I hadn’t thought of the issue raised by many commenters: God knows what sort of EU c**k-ups will be coming down the pike in the next few years. At least the UK is out of the line of fire.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

Admitting that the super-duper, all-singing, all-dancing rescue fund is actually nowhere near as big as it needs to be to have the desired impact and having to ask the net contributors for even more money (cue hissy-fit by the Dutch and endless demonising of Mark Rutte for “being the new Britain”), Italy failing to spend the money it was given in any meaningful way (exacerbating tensions with the frugals), deepening rifts between West and East concerning rule of law issues, plus further messy compromises (thereby further eating away at the very foundation of the Union)…and that’s even before we get to the perennial issue of debt sustainability in Italy, Spain, Greece….oh what fun it will be!

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
3 years ago

I took a moment yesterday to reflect and watch Tony Benn on Democracy and the European Union.
This issue has been demonized as Far Right.
In truth, it crosses party boundaries and is about Sovereignty and Democracy. It is clear that Johnson understands that and today’s Labour Party did not and does not understand those core values of our Democratic society as exemplified by their parliamentary behaviour in 2017/19.
What surprises me most in all the political shenanigans was Corbyn’s complete repudiation of the long held views of the Far Left regarding the EU.
Had he held to Tony Benn’s position it is quite possible that the Labour Party could have kept the Red Wall.
I disagree with Tony Benn on most things economic but, on Democracy, his views are well worth consideration.

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
3 years ago

Boris has worked his special kind of magic on Mrs von der Leyen and the preening frenchies have been sent packing with the bill….one hopes.

vladmoss
vladmoss
3 years ago

Excellent article. I was getting depressed about the supposed failure of Brexit. Now my zeal is revived…

Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago

Once again we have actually escaped from the recurring desire for one power to control all of Europe and it feels so good to see all the efforts of particularly the last conflict to have been worthwhile – For sure there will be future attempts for future generations to deal with – The prolific invasion of the EU iconography where the yellow and blue had to be displayed everywhere and even on number plates as so would have been the case for the red and black under the previous Reich shows that some things have to happen regardless of victory or defeat – But we now have another victory and it is all down to one man Nigel Farage….. never has so much been owed by so many to just the one! – He will feature in so many movies about this escape that has so many ironies and so many cliff hangers and such strong characters on both sides – It is difficult to find such an extraordinary plot in fiction let alone real life. (The most enduring irony has to be the videoed comment by Barnier’s team after May’s capitulation “We have turned the UK into a colony as we always intended” as they failed to realise although she had the cabinet in an arm lock the UK parliament would not be the rubber stamp of the EU parliament their negotiators were familiar with – No wonder Barnier is so miffed at Boris scoring the winning goal past Ursula who replaced him as EU captain at the last knockings)

Lucille Dunn
Lucille Dunn
3 years ago

Dogs come to heel. We are not dogs.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucille Dunn

Correct, to misquote Winston Churchill …”English donkey”.

Charles Lawton
Charles Lawton
3 years ago

The only thing I find disturbing about this article is the number of commentators who look backwards at the referendum and in particular perpetuating the divide between those who voted remain and leave, when that question was settled on 31 January 2020. I voted remain, but that is irrelevant now, we all need to think about the future and how we all can make the best of our situation outside the EU. This will not be easy for a variety of reasons, most importantly that the majority of the UK’s income is tied up with providing services rather than making things: the current deal with the EU does not include, much if any agreement on trading services. However that can be improved with time, trust and hard work by those involved including our government.
In embracing our future, the one worry I have is making sure we never return to being the moribund nation we were in 1973, when to a seventeen year old, the UK was a society that was, class ridden, hostile to change, nostalgic about an empire that had gone and in all reality an economic basket case, as was proved in 1975/6 when the IMF bailed us out.
This deal allows us to trade with our largest and most local market, it is far from perfect and will be very bureaucratic. From there on in it is up to us ALL to work on making the UK a global trading power, not as the exceptionalist, former empire that a lot of the Tory Party delude themselves still exists, but a competent, modern, outward thinking state that is trustworthy and well run. This means that our Government who, have in petty squabbles, managed to trash our reputation for having none of those attributes
over the last 4 years, will have to perform big time. There is much to do and rather than writing to our MPs about stale remain/leave stuff, now is the time to force them to work in the nation’s interest rather than belonging to one of the best drinking clubs in the UK.
For starters we need to sort out the level of security and cooperation with the European security and intelligence services, to bring back the sharing and cooperation that has kept us all safe for many years, whilst in the EU. i say that having a son as a serving policeman and realising that in the push for a trade deal this has and is being ignored by HMG.
Time to move on and be adults. Yes, this sounds like a lecture, apologies for that but continuing using the term leavers, remainers brexiteers or remoaners, just take the focus off the real game we need to play.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Robert writes: “‘Hard’ Brexiteers thought of a Norway option, or rejoining EFTA or the European Economic Area.” These seemed to be presented as three distinct possibilities, but in fact only countries that belong to the EFTA or the EU can be members of the EEA, so the Norway option essentially means being an EFTA country that opts to join the EEA like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and presumably agrees to calculate an HICP, constant tax HICP and so forth, like Iceland and Norway. It could just as easily be called an Iceland option, could it not? I don’t see why this would be considered a hard option, given it largely means that immigration from EU countries would be uncontrolled.
The EFTA countries now in the EEA are all small countries compared to the UK. The GDP on a PPP basis of the UK is 8.5 times the size of Norway’s. The EEA model was never really suitable for the UK if it wanted out of the EU.

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

No deal would still be better.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
3 years ago

“Although we would have been outside the euro”

Personally, I’m convinced that following a Remain vote that wouldn’t have been the case for long. Our opt outs would have melted away like snow in summer as soon as the next Blair came along, and the referendum result would have been loftily waved around as definitive proof that the UK public fully endorsed our wholehearted commitment to the European Project.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

Deontology concerns its self with ethics and motivations, wile Utilitarianism is concerned with outcomes. Pangloss was a Bentham/Mill Utilitarian where outcome is what is, what matters, thus motives not an issue as all will be the end it will be. ‘Things cannot be otherwise than they are’, ‘everything is made for the end, thus the end is necessarily the best end.’

So why not? Brexit is Panglossian. It is that there is no effect without a cause and thus the end must be the best end, as it is produced by a cause and thus the end is set, therefore the end is the best outcome. I am sure Boris acted on this philosophical plane, and thus achieved his ‘Best of all Possible Endings’, as he would have no matter what the outcome. No point in getting lost in the details.

David Collier
David Collier
3 years ago

‘What comes now will be harder still’. Indeed it will. ‘So why not just walk away?’ A country, no more than any other organisation, can’t just walk away from an established system or infrastructure, it cannot just float about the the air. The great myth about the referendum was that that was exactly what could happen, but it cannot, something must replace what is going to be replaced. I get the impression many people think this will be, for their daily life, no change, but if you want no change, why change anything? What comes now will be harder still because the vision of what the country actually wants – a step on from leave, leave implies going somewhere – is still not defined. Or if it is, I don’t know what the great shared vision looks like. The question in my mind is whether Boris, or indeed any prime minister of the current Conservative Party, is or would be strong enough to define this and get it sold to the country.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Collier

People who voted for Brexit have a vision, it’s those who didn’t want to leave the EU that do not. And I’m not sure there will ever be a shared vision yet life still goes on. There’s obviously room for disagreement, why not just see that as a fact of life, people will disagree on all sorts of things. The UK was already sold on Brexit, this is a trade deal. And yes, it very much can walk away from an established infrastructure. It did in January 2020.

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
3 years ago

Regardless of this deal, the Withdrawal Treaty remains in place. 1 January 2021 will be the first day of a new cold war as the EU, the new imperial power on the world stage, seeks by every means possible to divide and weaken the UK internally, to suppress it economically, and to outflank it in world affairs. The new deal makes that a little bit harder but not by much. The new deal should have replaced the Withdrawal Treaty which binds UK to EU foreign policy, keeps the UK in line for a defence union, and splits Northern Ireland from the UK. The EU still holds a good hand of cards, thanks to Mrs May.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

This is a great victory for Democracy, not just for this elected government but for future governments to come.

Now it’s the British electorate that decides our fate which will require our imaginations, our ingenuity and our reason to navigate. Now it will be the best arguments and the best ideas, backed up with empiricism that will prevail, not the narrow beliefs of ideology.

So what are we to do with our new found independence and our resuscitated responsibilities towards one another.

With multiple disruptions on the horizon whether oil and gas depletion, climate change, biodiversity loss, ecological degradation, reducing national ecological capacity and human population growth, surely our democratic efforts need to be guided towards creating a sustainable, resilient and sufficient future for Britain in cooperation with all the other societies within our fragile world.

May 2021 be the year that this important task be the next chapter of British history.

#PaxBrittania ðƾ‡¬ðƾ‡§

#PaxGlobal ðƾƒ

https://goodlife.leeds.ac.uk/

Ape Alpha
Ape Alpha
3 years ago

3 issue with this essay:

First, the “study” was never peer reviewed and it was done before the Covid pandemic and the consequent receecession and the stimulus package that followed.

See:
https://m.dw.com/en/cep-stu

This to say that it is very weak starting point on which to ground the entire Brexit deal argument (good deal / bad deal).

The 2nd point is the issue (the article touches just superficially), of the Court and the rule of law is way more important.
With regards to Brexit, this is the real argument here. This is a big issue, not only for Britain.

3rd. If the deal is good or bad for Britain, only time will tell. The demise of either GB or the EU is a recurrent theme on both sides of the pond. Britain’s real issue now on will be the unity of the Kingdom. Now the real issue is: does England have the money to pay for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to stay in the UK or not? How does England generate the extra cash to pay the bills?

The rest is just nonsense.

james87
james87
3 years ago

Bottom of 7th para says uk is the most valuable market globally for Germany and France. Not an area i know much about, can anyone point me to reference info regarding this?

Mike Spoors
Mike Spoors
3 years ago

And so another interminable debate about Brexit begins. It is to be hoped that this one does not last as long as the last because whilst the remain/leave warriors have filled the ether with more bits and bytes than anyone imagined possible the rest of us have just left them to it and got on with what must seem to many of the partisans our rather dull lives. The fact that 5 years have been frittered away on this subject whilst the country has gained little if nothing from all the hit air seems to be neither here nor there. However many more years spent name calling by both factions seems like nothing more than self indulgence. Meanwhile the world and the EU moves on whilst we seem content to continue our own private hissy fit. Enough is enough. Brexit is done. Better to now manage the consequences which might be more challenging than a few mandarins negotiating a ‘deal’ accompanied by the siren voices proclaiming that the fightback has only just begun whilst others say that the sun has finally risen again on Britannia Unchained. Yawns all round might be a suitable response.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Spoors

Yet you’re here to comment. Why not just yawn and stay away?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Spoors

What debate? Brexit happened nearly a year ago. Other than a few hard core holdouts, who is not accepting this? This was just a trade negotiation, countries have them all the time. It won’t be the UK’s last trade negotiation either.

Pierre Whalon
Pierre Whalon
3 years ago

My grandmother used to say, “Qui vivra, verra.” My sense of this mess is that a great opportunity to make the EU work has been wasted. Now we’ll see if its promise can be finally come to pass. Alas, Britain won’t be part of that. As for sovereignty, that has always been part of Britain’s membership ” the exception to the rules. Perhaps it was always the fly in the ointment, the rationale for others to play that game within the game.
In any event, Mamé will be proved right.

Simon Toseland
Simon Toseland
3 years ago

Noticeable how the commentators on here – even a year after we have left the EU and with the end of transition in sight – fall back
on stereotyping and deriding Remainers, rather than looking forward to describe the sunlit uplands we are all supposedly nearing.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Toseland

As if the Remainers haven’t been doing the same for the last 5 years!

David Smith
David Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Beat me to it Mike !

Ian Moore
Ian Moore
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

They’re still here doing the same now, Jeremy for example is practically frothing at the mouth.

tynycwm
tynycwm
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Toseland

Supporters of the view that the population should have their lives run for them by wise bureaucrats with only a partial understanding of them has been proved wrong again and again over the centuries.
The likes of Adam Smith and Darwin saw a deeper truth about the working of reality.
Government should protect individual rights and otherwise work to get out of the way as far as possible.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Toseland

“stereotyping and deriding Remainers”

Why spoil our fun? What else can one do with self-righteous, snobbish, humourless drones |(certainly the majority I’ve read or heard)? No doubt there are some who hold their views unemotionally, but they seem mostly to be keeping quiet.

A sign of emotionalism is ad hominem, and by my count Remainers outstrip Brexiters by kilometres in that regard, from ‘Comment is Free’ to here.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Toseland

It’s really not about Remainers anymore. That battle was lost more than a year ago. It’s about trade now. And there will be many other trade negotiations as well, with other countries.

Pete Rose
Pete Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Toseland

Returners (who I wholeheartedly isolate, separate and distance from the majority of those who voted Remain and have respected the referendum result), derided those of us who voted Leave for 4 and a half years, using venomous falsehoods, bigotry and fact free statements throughout. Now that we have left the EU, are you suggesting us leavers just forget this and move on, while those very same Returners continue to undermine every aspect of us leaving the EU, instead of doing their utmost to ensure us leaving is as successful as possible?

I think it might take a little while longer for us to forgive your bigoted and hateful actions that were mostly driven by hysterical cowardice and downright selfishness.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Rose

I’m not sure how long it takes to recover from Stockholm Syndrome, but that might be the best guideline to the likely timeline of sanity returning to otherwise rational folk.

Ian French
Ian French
3 years ago

Well, that’s settled, then. Settled, that is, if you ignore the growth of cronyism, the
waste of shrinking public funds, elitism, skids under the Parliamentary system of government and economic ruptures over the last decade. A long list of ills that has deepened amid in a misfiring divided society. This country, with its long pre-existing fault lines, never attempted to define its concrete aims during the Brexit “debate”, nor
the means to attain them. It has just wrangled over what it was against, ignoring all else. So, it would seem that we’re set to continue extreme national naval gazing as members of the Union shape up to peel away and leave us to our own devices. Frying pan or fire makes little difference, if nothing is done to address our severe structural problems.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian French

You make many good points. We are indeed very badly governed, the vast majority of public money is wasted and we are the victims of all manner of cronyism and layer upon layer of self-seeking incompetence in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff (especially bloody Cardiff) and Stormout (sic). Incidentally, the amount of public funds is not ‘shrinking’ as you claim, but grows massively with each passing year and will, eventually, lead to Paper Money Collapse.

But we have at least shed one layer of this vast and unaccountable farrago. Perhaps now we can focus on getting rid of the repulsive House of Lords and bring some integrity, competence and accountability to the public realm.

Charles Lawton
Charles Lawton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Agree with all that, except the HoL needs replacing with a proper chamber to review legislation, where the Commons is terrible and very unlikely to change. A second elected chamber has always been an anathema to the Commons but it is the only democratic way out of Blair bottling the problem.

Kenneth Crook
Kenneth Crook
3 years ago

Now that the author has had time to read the small print, he can presumably see that the UK has gained some symbolic wins, but otherwise has been brought to heel.