I have to keep coming back to Brexit from time to time, this time inspired by ex-UK-Foreign-Secretary David Miliband on today’s now-biased BBC radio 4 programme, Today. Basically time is slipping away and negotiations within the UK cabinet have not yet concluded, let alone those with Europe. Time is running out fast.
Miliband suggested that the UK is being held hostage to the hard Brexiteers in the cabinet, who do not mind crashing out of EU, despite the untold misery that is likely to cause.
The cabinet argues over two possible ‘solutions’, neither of which EU thinks will work. The so-called max-fac ‘solution’ has a hardish border, but some magical technological fix will avoid it becoming a major bottleneck. No max-fac is going to stop border smuggling in Ireland by legions of white vans. Even minimal delays will destroy ‘just in time’ supply chains. This seems like cloud cuckoo land to me.
The other solution appears to involve UK acting as a tax collector for EU, but being otherwise disengaged. Well maybe, but that would involve a huge amount of trust, which will come under great strain when the UK starts making separate trade deals to EU’s disadvantage. (What is this big deal about trade deals? UK will clearly never get a better deal than the larger EU would.)
Basically the UK cabinet collective appears to be disconnected from the real world.
The position of the Labour Party and some moderate tories on retaining some form of customs union seems the best way forward, as does membership of the European Economic Area – if we must proceed with this absurdity of Brexit.
Oh, and it was nice to hear, in David Miliband, a politician speaking with the gravitas and understanding you might expect of a prime minister. What a shame Labour drove him away.