Post by James Hammerton Post by James Harris
As time is going by the Brexit negotiating strategy of the UK
Conservative government is steadily becoming clearer and, with some
reading between the lines and making assumptions about the bits we don't
yet know, the government's plans are looking ever smarter.
Why do you think the plans are looking ever smarter?
There are indications that they made their plans long ago and are
revealing them bit by bit, as a card player may choose which card to
play and when. There's basically nothing new in recent statements but
the government is adding emphasis or filling in details as needed.
You may recall that my unease for a long time has been about the
government getting Brexit through parliament. I thought that they would
need to call an election before we left the EU. Unfortunately, the one
they called was inconclusive and I wouldn't be surprised if another one
were to be needed before we finally exit. (That will be a significant
risk if it happens in an economic downturn.)
Given the pressures from the UK parliament, the British people and the
EU, May has to steer a very fine line. As her strategy is becoming
clearer I think we see the way they hope to do that. Things such as
* Effusively positive approach to the EU negotiation in the apparent
belief that an EU deal is almost essential for both sides. Willing to
give a lot to get a deal, including money and commitments. Willing to
trade with any advantages we have including money, security, access to
UK waters, regulation, citizens' rights, etc.
* Treating other trade deals almost as an afterthought. Willing to
postpone even the USA in pursuit of appeasing the EU.
* Achieving separation slowly so as to minimise the transition period
they've had in mind for a long time. Wanting to form a truly positive
bond with the EU.
* Having a strategy to get there but undertaking a detailed plan for the
Don't get me wrong. It's not at all what I want from Brexit. But it does
seem pragmatic and more likely to steer the ship through the rocks of
the parliamentary process.