This is an extremely important and insightful thread from Alex Andreou, whom you may know from Best for Britain and the Remainiacs and The Bunker podcasts. This government has failed or is refusing to grasp any understanding of the value and inviolability of the single market and to comprehend the scale of damage done by “losing the entire framework under which it trade” with devastating and enduring consequences for all of us save the super rich/those exploiting the carnage. Would you do buisness with these grifters?
Please share widely. We have been well and truly betrayed by our politicians who have squandered trust and integrity at about the same rate that they have spaffed our taxes on Covid-19 scams.
THREAD. Just finished Friday zoom with my Brussels group. Much to report.
First, a framing point: The summit went all day and all night. All was agreed: budget, environmental goals, Covid19 response. Brexit was discussed for ten minutes. All agreed the mandate is unchanged.
Everyone at the Commission is quite confused. The current offer to the UK is a deal in which IF we align, we get full access. IF, in future, we diverge they limit access or put up (some) tariffs. The UK choosing to go to NO access and FULL tariffs NOW, is incomprehensible.
This has led people to split into two camps: There is one school of thought, that Johnson really is utterly clueless. His behaviour at the UVDL dinner last night (a car crash, apparently), has fed that impression. This makes people not want to do business with this government.
The second school of thought, is that Johnson negotiated in bad faith throughout. That his aim was always No Deal and he simply strung 27 countries along, at the expense of a huge amount of work, effort and expense. This makes them not want to do business with this government.
Note that the conclusion is precisely the same under either theory. That whether idiot or fraudster, Johnson is best kept at arms length. Polling in most EU27 shows that being tough with the UK yields a big favourability boost. So, I’m afraid, nobody is riding to our rescue.
There is also a lot of weird back-channel chat that he might ask for some sort of technical extension at the 11th hour. Nobody puts much stock in it, but they are prepared and have worked up various legal mechanisms, if that happens.
Those involved with negotiations describe two basic category errors. 1. The UK seems to think that the damage of a No Deal to each party is Trade Amount A vs Trade Amount B. It seems oblivious that the UK is not only losing trade but the entire framework under which it trades.
There was not a single person who thought the UK is even semi-prepared. Most think it doesn’t even have a clear idea of what is coming. Several cited the fact that the IT system, meant to accommodate border forms in THREE WEEKS, has not even gone live to be Beta-tested yet.
2. The second category error is the UK’s belief that Single Market integrity is somehow negotiable. That it’s a haggle, during which if the UK says “oh, go on” enough, the EU will eventually reply “oh, alright then”. They have run out of ways to explain this cannot happen.
For four years the Commission tried to explain that nothing – no amount of cajoling, sweeteners, or goodwill (of which there is very little) – nothing, can ever produce a deal that can be seen to be better for the UK than it is for members. THIS IS BARNIER’S MANDATE.
And for four years, this is precisely what the UK has demanded. The prize, without buying a ticket. It won’t happen. Full and free access to the market is the central offering; the essence of membership. They’re not about to start giving it away to third parties. Ever.