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Brexit evolution… January 12, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Got to say, Tom McGurk in the SBP has certainly changed his perspective in relation to Brexit. Gone is the airy language about Britain being ‘the mothership’ and calls for the ROI to Irexit. Instead we are faced with his thoughts on HMS Queen Elizabeth, the aircraft carrier and how it is leaking and has no aircraft to fill its decks.

He writes:

Perhaps given all the unfortunate circumstances and the symbolism involved, they should have named it HMS Brexit. Are tehr not similar echoes of another age in the mindset that is commissioning £6bn worth of aircraft carriers and simultaneously giving up membership of the world’s richest trading market to go it alone?

I have to admit I had to read that twice because while his tone and substance had changed radically in the past six months this was quite a leap given his concerns over sovereignty and so on previously.

But then perhaps the reality of Brexit, both prosaic and absurd and grim, for Ireland and Britain, of necessity has been of a kind to require some rethinking on the part of those like McGurk.

He makes some useful points, will the ‘new relationship with the EU be better than the existing one’ and suggests this is a question for the British. And he argues that it is in the hands of the BLP and Corbyn to offer some sort of alternative to the Tory led Brexit. I think most of us would agree with this. Certainly in broad terms it would be useful to see what the BLP intends should be the status of the border on this island. It is not difficult to envisage that a BLP led government would allow for a ‘border’ in the Irish Sea (a precedent for which came during the Second World War). And McGurk is not incorrect to ask that the BLP clarify its stance. But he goes further saying that the BLP should call now for a second referendum at which the British people(s) could ratify whatever agreement was made.

I’m dubious about that – not least because it seems to me to attempt to address the chaos of the first referendum with another, potentially leading to a worse place. And I think the first referendum has sufficient democratic legitimacy to allow it to stand as is.

Instead I’d argue that the BLP should acknowledge the reality of that first vote (as it does in fairness) and then push directly towards EEA/EFTA status. The benefits of this are principled, in that the UK leaves the EU as validated by the original referendum, practical in that it addresses many (though not all) of the concerns in relation to this island and further the customs union and single market. As has long been suggested here, in some ways that would have been the perfect location for Britain in any case.

Frankly I can’t blame the BLP for being coy ahead of an election. At some time they have to make decisions, but not quite yet.

Anyhow, I guess we’ll see.


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