New Brexit proposals must be transparent
IT is said that progress is seldom made by early risers and more likely to be driven by the lazy intent on finding an easier way of getting a result. Neither the sloth approach nor that of the lark has yielded much to crow about in the context of solving the Brexit conundrum. Earlier yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was forced to insist that Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the EU could be in question if a breakthrough is not made in talks by next month. It now appears that there is finally some “new thinking” at Downing Street, and the prospect of “full alignment” may be the chink of light we have been waiting for.
We must hope so. For the Doomsday clock ticking in relation to avoiding a chaotic Brexit – never mind hard or soft – has been getting ever louder as the distance seems to be growing instead of narrowing between the EU and UK. This is gravely worrying given the enormity of the consequences of a failure to find common ground.
Whatever emerges has to be clear. Commenting before news of any advance, Mr Varadkar correctly noted: “We need to see it written down in black and white and know that it is workable and legally operable.”
But Theresa May has until now repeatedly dismissed any talk of backsliding – while at the same time repeating the UK will leave the EU customs union and single market.
It is to be hoped that we are finally reaching the “end of the beginning” in London. Informed sources are leaking that some prospect of compromise is indeed being entertained. Yet even if it is, can Mrs May sell it to an utterly divided party? Ireland cannot easily trade concrete proposals agreed in December for some vague prospect of a fudged arrangement on how the Irish Border might look.
It says much that at this stage any movement at all must be welcome.