Take charge now or it’ll be too late
YESTERDAY, our editorial went blank with outrage over the government’s preparations for Brexit.
We concluded ministers had done hee-haw in negotiations on how to depart from the European Union so we ran an empty column listing their Brexit achievements to date.
Leaving the EU is not a position we want to start from but, if we can’t halt this gross act of Tory folly, then we must make it orderly so it inflicts the least amount of damage on our economy or that of our neighbours.
No one leaves the bar without paying their bill and the UK needs to stump up what we owe now and what the EU have calculated as our contribution for the coming budgets.
That’s seems pretty straightforward. But a settlement figure, any figure, would produce howls of protest from right-wing Brexiters. So Theresa May will not reveal one.
We need to guarantee the rights of EU citizens and UK citizens abroad but any hint of allowing continued freedom of movement or the continued jurisdiction of the European Court brings Brexiters out in xenophobic Union Jack boils. So, again, May is scared to lead on this.
Because Brexit is Britain’s wish then it falls to Britain – not the EU or Ireland – to devise a plan that allows the land border with Northern Ireland and Europe to continue as an open channel.
That looks like it cannot be done, which is why the EU have left it to Britain to sort out.
On top of that, we need a seamless trade and export relationship with the market that is the destination for 44 per cent of our exports. Without that relationship our jobs and businesses will suffer badly.
We need something like a single market but not THE Single Market, because that would offend Brexiters, too.
All of the above is missing from the Brexit talks. But what is missing most is leadership.
What we need is adult negotiators in the room. By now, that should have happened but Theresa May is letting herself be held hostage by the Eurosceptic lunatics who will be happy with nothing but a hard Brexit solution that will wreak economic havoc on us.
With every misstep, May is cornering herself into the hard Brexit the wreckers want. There is precious little time to turn this around and get the best deal possible.
Brexit is going to be nightmare but no trade deal will be a disaster of an altogether different magnitude.