Who knows where we will end up in the Brexit negotiation.
There are signs that finally even Theresa May’s soft Brexit position is such that she knows she can’t go any further based on the EU’s reaction to the chequers white paper.
Early on I hoped that the EU would stand firm on their ideas of cherry picking and their supposed to freedoms. That it would mean no matter the deal, it would have to mean an end to things “like” the current EU structures.
No single market or even something like it.
No customs union or something similar.
This would mean a clean break and the most power possible brought back to this country so that we can pursue our own policies as we see fit as a nation.
Now of course the entire project is a contradiction.
The EU breaks it’s own rules when it sees fit.
They sign up agreements, treaties and trade deals with other countries that by any definition of the term do cherry pick from the 4 freedoms.
Which is the other reason why striking a trade deal should be pretty easy, certainly based on the fact that we are already so closely aligned.
If Japan can sign a trade deal, so can we.
But here’s what I find amazing about Barnier’s response today.
He listed a number of issues he felt existed with the white papers position.
They included all manner of questions of legality, the imposition of bureaucracy and fear of fraud.
But one thing struck home to me instantly.
He said that if the UK diverged on services then we could gain a “significant competitive edge”.
How can someone miss the point so much that they let it sail by.
Of course we want a competitive edge. Of course that’s a major reason for leaving and part of everything the leave campaign spoke of in the referendum campaign.
What’s even more odd is that no one will mention that it’s a bit odd that he pointed this out. They are so blind now to the idea that whatever the EU say must be true, desirable and reasonable.
To be fair when your own government is in the shambles it’s in its its hard not to assume they must be onto a loser, but to not get that that’s what Brexit is for is just crazy.
We do want to compete. We do want to trade. We do want to be good neighbours.
But that doesn’t mean there is a problem with us having a different tarrif to the EU, which again Mr Barnier points out today.
It means finally, we as a country can pick and choose how we want to trade and what priorities we want as a nation.
I suppose if the EU 27 don’t actually understand why that is ultimately good for us and for them then that’s their look out.
And it only serves to once again point out why we don’t want to be part of that way of thinking.