Take charge now or it’ll be too late

YES­TER­DAY, our editorial went blank with out­rage over the govern­ment’s prepa­ra­tions for Brexit.

Daily Record - - NEWS -

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.

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