Despite the ambiguous constitutional status of referenda in the UK and the narrowness of the vote, the main political parties fall over each other to “respect the verdict of the people”
The people, however, had (as it is now apparent) little concept of what an out vote involved:
First, even if the country rapidly regrets its decision, there will be no going back to the deal the UK currently has. If Britain ever sought to rejoin the EU, it could not be on the terms of membership the country previously enjoyed. The UK’s budget rebate, exemption from Schengen and opt-outs from the euro and judicial cooperation will not be on the table again.
Second, returning to the EU on terms less palatable to UK voters will be hard to sell to them, rendering a future decision to rejoin politically implausible.
So the country now finds its self in a catch 22 scenario with the only feasible course of action is a lengthy transition period in which Britain could digest what it really means to be a member of the European Union and what it really means not to be a member.
One dimension of this scenario has received surprisingly little attention and that is at the end of this period England was to reapply.
First, the opt-out from the euro will no longer apply, with the best the UK can hope for is to emulate Sweden – legally “in derogation” of its obligation to accede, rather than having an opt-out as the UK and Denmark do – by making no effort to join.
In practice, this could be enough to enable the UK to retain the pound indefinitely, but if (and it is far from implausible) other countries accede to the euro following Brexit, leaving only one or two Member States outside, the position would be harder to sustain.
Let’s look at a transition period. What is it?
It is basically membership in all but name.
What problem is that for the EU27? Frankly speaking, none.
The alternative is to renounce the Good Friday Agreement, and then England can indeed leave the single market and customs union. Or England keeps the UK inside the European Union because democratically, that’s the only serious option.
That status comes with obligations. Applying and enforcing EU law, contributing to the EU budget, with no change in the freedom of circulation. Nothing changes, except that the Brits are not sitting at the table.
Now Brexit is done — the UK is it is no longer a member state — but it is still in the transition.
For Leavers, the conclusion is much simpler: however much they object to elements of the withdrawal deal or proposals for the future relationship, they will be worth swallowing for now because the bigger prize of leaving the EU will be all but irreversible.
The cannier pro-Brexit members of the Cabinet seem to have grasped this.
In a world of Donald Trump’s, Putin’s, “What is the point of Brexit?”
Colloidal damage Ireland, its economy not to mention the decoupling of Northern Ireland and perhaps Scotland.
The terms of membership the UK currently has are very unlikely to be on offer in future.
The EU you may wish to rejoin will be different from the one you are leaving.
Stop being angry. Stop behaving as though you are still campaigning. And stop complaining that stupid voters chose to believe the lies of the Brexiters and not your own, more sophisticated lies.
Let’s SEE 7 MILLION MARCHING. There is just about enough time left to add “future deal” to the list. There has never been a better time to challenge conventional wisdom than after such a disaster.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
Just imagine that a new British government — because it does not feel bound by whatever the previous government did — says: ‘OK, we believe the decision to leave that way was the wrong decision and we want to reconsider.’