Whilst most people now feel like Brexit was something that happened to them in another lifetime, reality is different and UK negotiators have continued talking with the EU over a ‘trade’ agreement that would come into force on December 31st.
What we learned this week, beyond the 24hr Coronavirus show, is the EU still believes that post-Brexit UK will continue to accept laws and the supremacy of the EU Courts above our own.
Amid the head shaking and hand wringing, it is clear their approach to ‘negotiations’ is to see everything the UK has – or will have – as only ever being a concession from them.
For them, this is not a negotiation about a new relationship where the stepping off point is what’s ours is ours and what’s theirs is theirs. They don’t realise you don’t build an agreement by making set-in-stone conclusions about what will or won’t appear automatically in-between.
There is no point questioning whether the EU missed the point of the 2016 Referendum. They clearly did.
Now, with the world holding its breath awaiting the impact of the financial depression that has been triggered with an inextinguishable gunpowder fuse, their inability to see beyond the EU project is quickly becoming much more trouble than it is worth.
Either the Euro in part or the EU as a whole is likely to collapse as EU Member States realise that their immediate priorities lie beyond political agendas and that for very practical and human reasons, they must have flexibility to make decisions over public and fiscal policy within their own borders. Their futures are best served being alone.
For many EU Member States, the truth is they are tied too closely into the EU through the rigidity of a common currency. It appears impossible for them to go out on their own.
With the German economy being the Euro’s dead man’s switch, it now looks all but inevitable that their response and measures being taken in response to the Coronavirus emergency make it likely the EU will break up or there will be a return to national currencies that will lead to the same thing.
Either way, the building blocks that gave the lie to what has always been about creating a sovereign European-wide Government are in the process of being read the last rites.
With the financial problems and legacy that the Johnson Government has already bequeathed us over only 8 weeks, the last thing the UK needs is to be tied to an EU that is about to create an even bigger financial black hole as it rolls over and begins to die.
The so-called ‘No Deal’ scenario has previously been presented by those whose first loyalty was to the EU as if it were a choice and that it would be stupidity to complete the process of Leaving the EU if there was no trade agreement in place.
But the reality of the post-COVID-19 World is that we MUST put the UK, our businesses and our people first.
Anything other than a simple trade agreement between the UK and the EU will expose us to more problems than we can deal with anytime soon. It will be far more trouble than it is worth.
The Government would be very generous to our EU Member friends if it simply offered a free trade agreement on a take it or leave it basis with no strings attached.
So if the EU collapses the talks before June, they will be doing us a favour that we should thank them for and wish them well for however long it lasts.