Latest post of the previous page:By accident or design, a 'no deal' Brexit is getting closer
So, which is it? Accident/incompetence or design?Theresa May’s commons statement on Brexit progress was a strange, confused and confusing mixture indicative of the strange, confused and confusing situation we are now in. On the one hand it showed some glimmers of realism about how in any ‘transition period’ ECJ jurisdiction would continue. That immediately attracted the ire of the Brexit Jacobins, such as the ubiquitous Rees-Mogg. Interestingly, there are signs that the Brexiters in the cabinet – Gove, especially – are more relaxed about this, reflecting, I suppose, the distinction between those who have the luxury of not having to take any responsibility and those who do. On the other hand, there was a much harder sense that May is preparing for a ‘no deal’ or 'Kamikaze' Brexit, and in that, of course, she has the unqualified support of the Ultras.
Why should ‘no deal’ even be being spoken of at this point? The answer seems to be a realization that the EU is unlikely to agree that sufficient progress has been made on phase 1 issues in order to progress to trade talks, and raising ‘no deal’ is perhaps designed to put pressure on the EU – or more accurately the individual member states – to give ground on this (and, by the way, even if they do UK ideas of what the future trade relationship would look like are unrealistic).
That in itself is absurd. The reason there has been no progress on phase 1 is almost entirely because the UK has failed to come up with anything remotely realistic on the issues of citizens’ rights, the financial settlement or the Irish border. And the reason for that, as ever, is because the Brexit Ultras won’t countenance anything realistic on the first two of these, whilst there is no obvious solution to the third of them. Moreover, progress has been made slow by the lack of British preparation prior to triggering Article 50, the time wasted by the election and by Tory infighting, the confused departmental structure created to handle Brexit, and the low-energy approach of David Davis to the negotiations.