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Simon Cox @SimonFRCox
, 31 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
UK is heading for #Brexit In Name Only. And maybe the slow, spasmodic death of British nationalism. Thread.
I’ve never believed UK & EU would agree terms on a new - indefinite - relationship. There’s a chasm between EU’s position & UK rhetoric 2/
Conservative Party backed EU for 50 years. Most grandees, funders and MPs still believe UK would do very badly if it left SM. Financial Times & Treasury agree 3/
But Conservatives have too many nationalists, racists & Singapore-on-Thamesists for their leaders to be honest with party. 4/
So May demanded cherrypicking. For a year. And EU flat refused. Because EU political integrity depends on best deal being just for EU members. Not for the quitter-Britters. 5/
I thought May was serious. And therefore a final deal would be impossible, smashed by the British fantasy that UK’s value to EU exceeds that of the Single Market’s integrity. 6/
Until last month, I was pretty sure that - whatever transitional deal was made - UK would fail to sign the Withdrawal Agreement. UK would crash out of EU. 7/
May - dependent on DUP/ERG and opposed by a Labour uniting anti-globalist / Brexiter / continuity Remain in an anti-pragmatic alliance - would flounce out of talks with EU 8/
But its turning out the other way around. EU reality is smashing the nationalist dream. And the nationalists are not fighting back. 9/
Instead of being “a bloody difficult woman”” May has continued like a lawyer with a crazy client, “negotiating with” (aka “capitulatibg to”) EU & telling Mogg & the ERGists to accept it. 10/
May has been lucky in her opponents. Mogg, Redwood, Gove, Johnson, Fox have completely failed to fight back. 11/
Instead, Britain’s Battling Brexiters have allowed May to agree to all the EU’s demands. Putting career & party before country, they have strutted and ... done nothing. 12/
Labour’s leadership could have attacked. But - in topsy-turvy Westminster, their fear of seeming anti-Brexit means they will agree to May’s submission to EU reality. 13:
So, while it’s not signed til it’s signed, the Withdrawal Agreement has a rosy future. 14/
WA means UK leaves EU political structures on 30 Mar 2019 - but stays bound by all the economic laws: free movement of people, capital, services and establishment. Until Dec 2020. 15/
What are the chances UK & EU agree long-term relationship by Dec 2020? IMO v unlikely. Because all the reasons I thought UK would crash out of EU without that deal still hold good. 16/
UK-EU deal will be blocked by:
- Unbridgeable gap between British nationalists & EU
- deep fear that most of Conservative & Labour MPs have of leaving Single Market 17/
Leaving EU in Mar 2019 will reduce UK voter pressure to leave SIngle Market. Britain will celebrate “independence day” and “take control” - with no sharp economic impact. 18/
Key Brexiter concerns will remain - must obviously Free Movement of People. But Gov can tweak some rules & step up visible anti-migrant propaganda. 17/
Come Apr 2019, Gov will discover that the transition would be much smoother for business if it were say 3 years. Or maybe 4 years. 18/
EU actors may get annoyed. But they’ll surely appreciate value of a paying, non-voting member of SM. And the cost of having to kick it out 19/
What’s most likely:
1. EU gives enough concessions for a great FTA?
2. EU refuses to extend transition leading to UK crashout
3. EU agrees 2 year extension. Then another one. Then another one. 20/
All this time, rump Leave will be agitating. Against migrants. Against new EU laws (and imaginary ones). Calling on Parliament to act. 21/
And Parliament will debate the extensions. But each time it will face a cliff edge. And decide the cost isn’t worth it. 22/
Redwood, Banks, Farage will call it betrayal. But people will find it hard to understand - because UK Will Have Left The EU. 23/
Slogans like “vassal state” and “rule-taker” may not resonate with voters. They’ll be loads of changes - like blue passports - to make jingoists feel Great again. 24/
Con & Lab party activists will breath sighs of relief & get back to fighting each other on issues they feel comfortable about and will try to marginalise people who complain about Brexit 25/
Elsewhere, Leave & Remain purists will protest, with ever decreasing attention from media and public. 26/
Proposals for elements of a new comprehensive agreement can be debated. Swiss & Norwegians have been doing this kind of thing slowly for years. Brits are great at muddling through. 27/
And every time someone says “ we really must wrap this up” they’ll be asked “how”? And until that gets majority UK & unanimous EU support - the answer will be “see you next month...” 28/28
My thread’s abt what operates for medium-term, next 5-10 years. Point here is that Swiss & NO took years of talking - and piecemeal implementing - to get to the current position. I wasn’t commenting on what final UK-EU agreement wd look like - if one is ever made...
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