February 2, 2023

Brexit : The delusions of leavers and remainers

Brexit despair is now such that the elusive choices of leave or remain, hard or soft Brexit, or hostile environment for everyone do not matter anymore before the collective hysteria that has befallen Brexit stakeholders.

The self-inflicted Brexit cul-de-sac should have united leavers and remainers for the common good but there are only united in their delusions.

These delusions are not about shooting oneself into the foot or into the knee. It is rather like shooting oneself through the knee into the foot.

#1 Delusion: Theresa May’s Deal

Nothing is further from reality than calling the EU Withdrawal Agreement “Theresa May’s Deal” as do most politicians, media and the general public.

The EU Withdrawal Agreement is not a deal. It is not about bargaining, about achieving an arrangement for mutual advantage. It is the first phase of a two-phased Brexit.

The second phase will be the agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

While the EU Withdrawal Agreement is largely not negotiable, the future relationship is, and it is to a very large extent.

This has been experienced by the many red lines the British government has put forward only to withdraw them shortly afterwards. Also, the EU Withdrawal Agreement does not include much legally binding content about the future relationship. Calling this a deal is an oxymoron. It is insinuating that “Theresa May’s Deal” is about the future relationship and then call it a bad deal because it is not.

If anything, the future relationship between the EU and the UK could be called a deal.

#2 Delusion: The Brexit Plan

While the EU Withdrawal Agreement will be in place for a few months, the agreement on the future relationship will be in place for generations. The future relationship IS Brexit.

There is however no plan in place for the future relationship. There are not even any detailed proposals. There have not been since the EU bashing started, not before the referendum, not since, and at this rate, there never will be.

During the referendum, remainers tried to define potential Brexit plans but were shouted down with Project Fear. Remainers were and are quite helpless and hopeless in not holding to account leavers to providing detailed Brexit proposals. Anybody seen any detailed proposal from the European Research Group (ERG) or any other leaver?

No proposals. No plan.

And time is running.

#3 Delusion: The Brexit Debate

Brexit fatigue has set in. Many can be heard saying, Brexit, just get it done.

However, the Brexit debate has effectively not started yet, the debate about the future relationship. People are tired by the preliminaries, the pseudo-debates and political games.

Not only have leavers and remainers accepted the two-phased Brexit process, they have completely given up debating the second phase, the most important future relationship, the essence of Brexit. This Brexit debate needs as result not a 52% majority but a consensus of rather 80 or 90%.

No proposals. No debate. No Brexit plan.

#4 Delusion: Nit picking the EU Withdrawal Agreement

Focussing on the EU Withdrawal Agreement is a welcome distraction by many from the much more important future relationship.

As stated before, the EU Withdrawal Agreement will be in place for a few months, the agreement on the future relationship will be in place for generations.

It is easier to nit-pick the EU Withdrawal Agreement than to come up with a Brexit proposal on the future relationship.

Focussing on the EU Withdrawal Agreement also means wasted time which makes the criticized backstop more likely to be used.

Also, the lack of proposals, debate and Brexit plan makes it even more likely that the second Brexit phase negotiating the future relationship will take longer.

#5 Delusion: Labour

Instead of aiming for 80 or 90% of Brexit consensus, Labour made themselves irrelevant in the Brexit process.

Labour’s six tests for Brexit are close to irrelevant with their lack of detail.

Corbyn argues that he would have negotiated better than the government. That is the EU Withdrawal Agreement which is largely not negotiatable.

#6 Delusion: Brexit

Without Brexit proposals, a Brexit debate or a Brexit plan, Brexit remains an illusion. Westminster is expected to vote down the EU Withdrawal Agreement. Without orderly withdrawal, negotiations with the EU about the UK’s future relationship cannot happen.

None of the reasons of Brexit have been addressed.

Leavers and remainers can only blame themselves for their delusions.