I think this is all irrelevant. The Tories don’t have the numbers to avoid having the CU enforced upon them by the HoC which is thy the Trade Bill etc are currently hidden. Pushing for the cliff-edge Brexit will simply lead to defeat in the Commons for the same reasons, there are too many pro-remain Tories who won’t have it, and insufficient pro-Brexit Labour MPs who would vote with the Govt.
There will need to be a fudge. Of course this will mean decades of whinging about betrayal of the will of the people and/or blaming all and sundry for killing the magic Brexit unicorn of plenty.
I thought the EU had already rejected both CU options the government were vacillating over. Staying in the CU while retaining freedom to negotiate separate trade deals is cake & eat it, unicorn thinking n’est ce pas?
They say they don’t want them. But it’s a negotiation. Nothing is decided (until everything is decided) I imagine.
I continue to be surprised by people who keep saying “We don’t know what the government’s plan is”. The last time I played poker everyone kept their cards hidden until the end.
This, however, isn’t a game of poker. Getting what you want doesn’t involve revealing what you really want at the aboslute last minute. For one thing, the matters which need resoving are so riciculously complicated, with a myriad of knock on effects, that it takes months and years to get close to something like a working document … a fact that seems to have escaped HMG and nobody whatsoever in the EU.
I genuinely cannot work out whether David Davis actually believes his own shite, or is just frantically buying for time hoping for a meteor strike which wipes out the human race
While I personally think there are more Labour votes in leaning toward remain than brexit, you’re right: it’s not the parties which are split, it’s the country’s traditional left / right axis which is kayboshed.
That said, while all political norms seem to be getting chucked overboard, I find it staggering that a party in government for 9 years, with a terrific stench of incompetence (even before we even get to the brexity bits) isn’t getting gaped assunder in the locals, regardless of who the opposition.
“Anyone but this bunch of jokers” would normally win hands down in this situation.
I think they’re just able to cling on because sadly there are enough ‘leave at all costs’ morons & Little Englander bigots around still supporting them despite their questionable record.
But by your / our own admission, there are plenty of them in the labour-voting ranks too
I don’t think it’s anywhere near as high a proportion. I suspect that the bulk of UKIP’s voters have switched to supporting the Conservatives although I was pleased to see that it didn’t appear to be the case down here in Plymouth.
No. It involves talking quietly behind closed doors to explore, without pre-conditions, what both sides really want and where both sides might be prepared to concede on some of their national/collective interests for the sake of getting a favourable outcome on others. Each of the negotiating teams also needs to handle the stakeholders ‘back home’ to get whatever approval is needed there. Again this is a process which goes more smoothly if the participants have some private space in which to reach a compromise. If we look at an example like The Good Friday Agreement I seem to remember that some of the foundation processes of this, e.g. the UK government’s initial discussions with the IRA, were kept so secret that the government flatly denied they were even happening when they absolutely were.
All that said, I have good reason to believe that the UK government’s position in the current negotiations is shambolic. But my evidence for this is not the failure of David Davis to appear every day on the 6 o’clock News telling me how many clauses on fish quotas have been ticked off. The process would be being kept just as quiet if it was going well as it is when, as I fear, it’s going badly.
Nail on the head.
There can’t be some magic reveal at the end where it all works out, the deal has to be voted on by the EU and, possibly, even by the UK parliament. It needs to be agreed with enough detail to ensure that it is actually technicalities possible (which wipes out the UK proposals).
I don’t think there can be anything except fudge plus long transition, with the transition extended when we can’t implement the fudge.
The deal has to be voted on by the EU when there is a deal. The idea that we should spend every Friday afternoon voting on this week’s progress isn’t realistic.
Yes, and given the time scale for voting (which will be significant) there needs to be a well worked-out deal several months before the deadline.
As much as DD might wish it to be on the hushhush, its been clear from the get go than Barnier must report on progress to the EP, so - leaving aside what gets hammered out over a private glass of Trappiste - the progress made always has been and will be public.
I’m not quite sure what you mean with the evening news anecdote, but re…
The EU is bound by a raft of pretty transparent internal and external legal obligations, whilst the UK is bound only by its own political choices…upon which it has so far failed to discuss, decide or make clear to anyone.
And in doing so, it is hard-wiring failure into the entire process.
The incompetence offends equally as much as the decision itself.
Risky. It’s been a while since negotiations in Brussels were directly relevant to my day job, but back when they were it was the case that you really did want to be one of the people in the Commissioner’s drinking circle. It seemed that the Europeans did a lot more business that way than we ever did. Which resulted in us (the UK reps in this exercise) being stitched up by the Germans/French/Italians more than once.
Where we did catch the other nations off guard was in our our ability to reach what they thought was an agreement only for us to have to come back 3 days later because someone back home who was further up the food chain had simply rejected the compromise we’d made. They couldn’t understand why we hadn’t been able to achieve domestic agreement, or at least to have devised a plan for knifing our domestic opponents if/when necessary, before sitting down at the table.
Ah yes, “If we didn’t have rules where would we be ?”.
I kid you not, I spent a good part of my time with colleagues from other EU nations coming up with forms of words which, at the same time, appeared to be in accord with ‘the regulations’ and also allowed us to do what we all agreed really needed to be done. I was not there because I was good at duplicity. I was there because the others needed me as a native English speaker and that was our working language. It was a real education watching people who felt that rules often needed to be got around. I’d be surprised if Barnier hadn’t worked out how to get around them if/when it suits him.
That’s why Labour never get in. No inward reflection or recognition as to why they aren’t making inroads. Just somebody’s else’s fault.
It’s telling that when Tony Blair came to power (started in no small part by John Smith), they went through a massive period of soul searching as to why they were consistently unsuccessful in convincing swing voters to vote Labour. Ultimately this lead to a huge programme of modernising the party. They’d do well to do something similar now as going further left will not win them enough votes to hold power.
I have never represented HMG in any capacity, so I speak only from my many years in Brussels (so, network and marriage): i’m rather familiar with the positions of other government’s Reps in the EU, and neither they nor I can think of a single major piece of EU legislation that has gone directly against HMG interests. Do you know of any? (genuine question)
Quite the opposite, nearly everyone I know views the UK civil service as one of the most effective operators within the EU machinery…ensuring a Blighty-friendly slant to the devil in the detail
My trappiste comment refers only to the fact that some positions will inevitably be taken off-campus.
Naturally so where it applies to EU<>UK cooperation , but as soon as we start wading into WTO waters - Country of Origin, GATT, GATS; MFN etc - then I can’t possibly see how the issue gets fudged by semantics, And, while worded differently, it’s the resolution of these very issues that currently occupy so many collumn inches, no?
No. Just to be clear, the field I worked in wasn’t a legislative one, it was big science. This was back in the day when the EU Framework Programmes were distributing a few tens of billions of euros to consortia from groups of member states. The individual projects, including the ones I was involved with, were typically each at the level of a few tens of millions of euros, so quite small beer really, but big enough that it was worth putting some effort in to secure a slice of the cake. Each programme had its own objectives/rules, decided in a pretty opaque way inside the Commission. This is where having the ear of the Commissioner helped. Even then the objectives/rules didn’t always suit us. But with a little creativity in the wording of the proposal it was possible to avoid drawing too much attention to this.
Of course as well as reaching an agreement with the fundholders in the Commission it was also necessary for the project participants to agree among themselves. This is where we were sometimes stitched up. None of this involved direct negotiations between member states’ governments (at least not as far as I’m aware). The entities involved were typically at the next level down. My organisation was an NDPB for example. But we would typically play by our governments’ rules. And the cultural differences between us seemed very clear.