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In the Science-Fiction movies of Star Trek, those training to become Starfleet officers often undertake a stressful test called the ‘Kobayashi Maru’. This test is a simulation of a rescue mission, in which the participants try to rescue the crew of the eponymous spaceship Kobayashi Maru.
“Doctor McCoy: Jim, it’s the Kobayashi Maru. No one passes the test.”
Currently as a EU member state the UK has 73 Members of the European Parliament. There is currently some debate about what should be done with the 73 seats after Brexit.
We would like to make a modest proposal which we hope the EU will find interesting. Why not allocate ten of the soon-to-be vacated seats to non-EU states and territories? Continue reading A modest proposal for the EU
On the 2nd of March 2018 Prime Minister Theresa May made another speech about Brexit and our future relationship with the European Union.
To be honest, there was little in the speech that was new or original, but there were a few sections we would like to highlight.
“Others have suggested we negotiate a free trade agreement similar to that which Canada has recently negotiated with the EU – or trade on World Trade Organisation terms.
But these options would mean a significant reduction in our access to each other’s markets compared to that which we currently enjoy. And this would mean customs and regulatory checks at the border that would damage the integrated supply chains that our industries depend on and be inconsistent with the commitments that both we and the EU have made in respect of Northern Ireland.”
On these points, Mrs May is correct. Neither a CETA or a WTO option Brexit would be good for the UK; as we discuss here.
Mrs May is also insisting that we leave the Single Market, despite admitting some of the problems that would cause:
“I want to be straight with people – because the reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts.
We are leaving the single market. Life is going to be different. In certain ways, our access to each other’s markets will be less than it is now.”
This admission is markedly different from her comments in March 2017 in which she said that we would “trade freely into the European Single Market…the same benefits in terms of that free access to trade”
A curious phenomenon is occurring, where MPs who previously supported negotiating a Norway or Switzerland-style relationship with the EU are now mysteriously changing their minds for flimsy reasons.
— Marcus Fysh MP (@MarcusFysh) June 22, 2016
Controversial MP Marcus Fysh who once supported the Single Market and UK rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) has now renounced the idea in an article in the Telegraph (surprise, surprise).
His fellow MP, Antoinette Sandbach has replied to his Telegraph article with the below letter:
— Antoinette Sandbach (@Sandbach) March 1, 2018
The disgraced former MP and former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind has waded into the debate on Brexit. His comments have of course been welcomed by the Hard-Brexit fanzine Brexit Central:
Pro-EU former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind: Single market membership post-Brexit would be “particularly unacceptable”, accepting new laws that we are “unable to influence, much less veto” https://t.co/VrHACeprOF
— BrexitCentral (@BrexitCentral) February 18, 2018
We are now entering a potentially dangerous phase of the Brexit process. Some Westminster politicians seem to think that the hard work is now over, given the epic struggles of 2017.
In fact, we have merely left the rocky terrain and are now entering the minefield.
Monsieur Barnier has repeatedly told us that the choice for the UK is between a Free Trade Agreement model (perhaps like CETA) or a Single Market-style relationship like Norway or Iceland.
Either alternative has pros and cons for the UK.
The FTA approach would give the UK back more sovereignty (at least on paper) but would leave us a rule-taker in many ways, following rules and regulations ‘faxed’ from Brussels when trading with our largest trading partner (and many other countries which are emulating their rules willingly or unwillingly).
In addition, this approach would mean we would have to strike new deals with the EU and its member states about the rights of UK citizens to live, work, study and retire in the EU (and vice versa). Continue reading Into the Brexit minefield
Today, an article appeared on the Bloomberg website discussing their predictions for Brexit talks in the year ahead. Several interesting scenarios are discussed, with some possibilities more likely than others.
In one scenario:
“it proves impossible for May to satisfy her three most difficult audiences: the Irish government, which is backed by the EU; the Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up her government; and the ardent Brexit-backers within her own party.” Continue reading Response to Bloomberg