The modern news cycle is like a raging river. Those of us paying attention to it are the helmsmen of our boats, trying to steer ourselves in the right direction while all the while paying attention to what the river is doing. However skilled mariners we may be, sometimes it is necessary to take our boat ashore for a brief time to survey the river- to see how far we have come, how the river is acting now, and what needs to be done to get to our final destination.
Brexit news reporting is an especially raging river. Gossip, rumour and innuendo fill ever broadsheet and tabloid in the country. The broadcasters are no different, and as Adam Cornett brilliantly pointed out yesterday, the BBC is in fact worse. However, what the Daily Globe prides itself on offering is perspective. A thoughtful, daily, article to offer our readers something different than the noise of the raging media river. With Brexit, keeping calm and carrying on has never been more important if we are to successfully reach the final destination.
As of today, the most important issues for Brexit are the negotiations with the EU and the EU withdrawal bill going through Parliament. On those issues, there has been progress but no success quite yet.
On the deal reached between the EU and UK to advance to the trade talks, the Daily Globe cautiously welcomes the deal. No the UK did not get everything we want- but nor did the EU. Overall though, it was an acceptable deal for the following top five reasons:
- The UK will not be joining the single market. Ask Theresa May.
- The UK will not be joining the customs union. Ask Michelle Barnier.
- ECJ jurisdiction ends in the UK in 2019. Where it continues for EU citizens for 8 years (which is a bit long) it is advisory and will be decided by British judges. Honestly, it makes sense for the first couple of years to rely on EU law regarding EU citizens because, quite frankly, there will not be enough precedent to have a strong canon to rule using British law in that field, as a new British immigration law will only take effect in 2019 and/or during the two year transition period.
- Northern Ireland will not be in a separate regime to the rest of the UK. This we can also credit the DUP’s intervention for.
- The UK CAN work on free trade agreements during the transitional period. Of course, it would be preferable for formal negotiation to start now- but am sure informal negotiations are going on anyway with potential trading partners around the world.
Many people are worried about so called “regulatory alignment”, however at the present, that does not really mean anything. It is a diplomatic fudge and place holder. Issues of regulations will be something worked out in the trade negotiations, therefore, it is too early to comment on that issue- though of course the Daily Globe does not want EU regulations imposed on UK businesses not doing business in the EU. People are also worried about the default clause in it in the event of no deal, however as a DUP MP, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson pointed out on Iain Dale at Drive on LBC, paragraph 5 of the agreement also reiterated nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, so presumably this clause overrules the placeholder clause. Both the Prime Minister, the DUP, and the EU have all confirmed that this agreement is not legally binding until a later agreement. Finally, a lot of Globe readers seem to be concerned about the money the UK is offering the EU based on the comments to our questions on the deal on Facebook last Friday. The concerns are understandable. However, while it is not ideal that the UK is paying the £35-39 billion – it is less than four years of EU membership combined and it is less than half of the original 100 billion demanded by the EU.
Overall, the Brexiteers should be pleased: The UK government did not concede it legally owed any money. The UK government did not concede any jurisdiction over UK residents or UK courts and it received an assurance that Northern Ireland is leaving with the rest of the UK and there will be no customs border at the Irish Sea. The Globe is cautiously optimistic about a deal being reached in phase II of the talks.
For further good analysis on the deal reached, we recommend pieces by three different at stalwart Brexiteers: Paul Goodman of Conservative Home, the Rt. Hon John Redwood MP and the Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP.
Besides the issue of the deal, there is the issue of the EU Withdrawal Bill. Here, there is mostly good progress, with the caveat of the disappointing defeat on the issue of the so-called “meaningful vote” amendment.
First the good news, the EU withdrawal bill passed its second reading on September 11, 2017 and is currently in committee stage. It will become law- though with what amendments attached remain to be seen. Many superfluous amendments have been defeated but unfortunately, as we found out today, not all of them.
Shamefully, 11 Conservative MPs decided to humiliate their government and vote with Labour to force a statutory amendment (amendment 7) to have a “meaningful” vote on the end deal the government agrees with the EU. This was a stupid amendment, considering the government had already promised a vote on the deal. All this does is make the UK government look like it does not have a grip on its MPs and that Parliament is not behind the government in its Brexit negotiations. Tory MPs who rebelled should be ashamed- with the Conservatives finally having wind at their back regaining the lead in the polls, and united support for the deal, with it was an act of extreme disloyalty. Nadine Dorries put it exactly right in her call for those europhile Tories to be deselected.
However if the Tory europhiles really want to vote down the Final Deal they are more than welcome to- it will result in No Deal Brexit! Parliament voting down the Prime Minister’s deal will not stop Brexit, under Article 50 it happens on 29 March 2019- deal or no deal.
Despite the set back of yesterday’s vote, Brexit remains on track. This is no time to be complacent- but it is good to see how far we have come. Onward to 2019!