Trade deal or not, the Brexit dream is dying. Trade deal and we spent the coming years in a push-pull relationship with the EU over economic alignment. No-deal and we intensify the battles over the future of the UK.

It wasn't supposed to be like this.
The fundamental problems being those piloting Brexit assuming the EU would provide the access we wanted with few responsibilities, and failing to create any national consensus with business and devolved authorities.

They assumed they could do it even when advised otherwise.
At the basic level the UK will still have greater freedom outside the EU. But it will be far from the dream because the US and EU have demands over regulation in trade deals, and trans-national business supply chains use their regulations. Watch EU data adequacy in particular.
So far Ireland has primarily defeated the Brexit dream. Through not joining the UK in leaving. Through focusing EU unity and obtaining US support. And because as a more successful economy than the UK it provides a realistic model for Scotland.
Reality for the UK is we can be outside the EU but not outside Europe and the EU's regulatory reach. And no other alliance such as the utopian CANZUK can compete because other countries know the power of geography and business supply chains. And we can't rely on the US.
The major question for the UK now is how long we continue to fight geography and modern trade, even if politically convenient in England, until realising we have to deal with Europe, and therefore the EU. It could start in weeks, if a deal, or years, if not.
And the Brexit dreamers are going to have to redefine their dream. In 2015 they would have settled for what they now dismiss as vassalage. They got greedy. They ignored the teachings of the individual many claim as their hero when she said "You can't buck the market".
Remain lost in 2016 and again in 2019. Brexit, as pursued, is going to lose in 2020 or soon after. And we'll all lose if we can't adjust to those realities and find a new path out of here. /end

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More from @DavidHenigUK

16 Oct
A letter from the PM on the EU talks which is confused, exaggerated, and internally contradictory. There could be no possible basis for a trade deal if the letter was to be taken seriously. ImageImage
The EU-Canada agreement is not based on "friendship and free-trade" but is absolutely full of conditionality. I've clipped a random bit of text, but frankly there are dozens of similar examples. ImageImage
"They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom".

Distortion / exaggeration. All trade treaties involve a restriction of legislative freedom. You might as well say the same about other members of the WTO. Image
Read 9 tweets
16 Oct
Worth noting as we play future scenarios, that no trade deal is probably not a stable UK EU end state as it will mean more such demands to denounce the Withdrawal Agreement.
Anyway, the deal available to the UK (and EU) is more or less as we've known since June, and not technically difficult. The politics and choreography horrendous. We wait to see what the coming days bring.

In the mean time, at least tonight, 🍷
Ah, this is not what happens in the run up to a deal
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct
"I still can't make a decision" - UK PM

Because there still isn't an easy path he can take.
A PM desperate for the EU to resolve his problem of a deal acceptable to them and the Brexit ultras. Which they can't.

That Australia style deal? Well Australia doesn't have a car industry, and we won't have one if there's no deal.

Just words without meaning.

And as I've said before the EU wouldn't even offer Canada the same deal now as they gave in 2020. Not to mention us asking for more. Not only does trade policy move on, but it is always different for neighbours.
Read 8 tweets
16 Oct
At a rough guess EU leaders have become bored and irritated by optimistic London pronouncements about a deal not backed up by a willingness to make significant movements on substance, indeed with the internal market bill, backsliding.…
Not perhaps the EU's finest negotiating moment either, for while we know fish is a domestic sensitivity the UK maintaining status quo on waters always was a non-starter. But removing the word intensive about future talks appears to have had an effect.…
But as before, still mainly for the UK to show we can accept the deal on offer, and drop the internal market bill threats, before the last minute fish haggle. Over to the PM to make the decision...
Read 6 tweets
14 Oct
Has the EU really only just discovered that fishing is the UK's strongest card? Problem is fishing communities in both UK and EU are not overly keen on being traded off...
Here's a fuller (pessimistic) take from @tconnellyRTE on the state of UK-EU talks.…
The UK version of EU-UK talks remains more optimistic than that in the EU.…
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
What's new? Nothing. But therein lies the problem, the evidence suggests the UK government thought a small amount of movement on state aid, some shared principles, would move the dial on talks. Always looked unrealistic to this observer. Further movement needed.
There's no major disagreement on handling UK talks in the EU beyond usual backchat, fish will be difficult but seems achievable. We just wait on the PM making the decision to cut this deal or not. Unfortunately making timely difficult decisions is not a strength of his...
I think the UK government is stuck in indecision. Going for the deal means upsetting Brexit ultras / dropping parts of the Internal Market Bill. No-deal shows a PM who couldn't get a deal, damages manufacturing etc. Keep going and hope something turns up.
Read 9 tweets

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