Wednesday 21 March 2018

UK's negotiating technique: cave in and declare victory

Our government has declared Phase Two of the negotiations for our leaving the EU a success and we now move  on to Phase Three.

This "success" has been achieved only be the government's giving way on  its so called "red lines."  (I wonder why we call them that - Brewer's Dictionary is no help.)  "Non-negotiable positions" would be more informative.

  • EU nationals who come here during the transitional period will, after all, be able to  claim rights of permanent residence if they wish;
  • Fishing-boats from other EU countries will continue to be allowed to fish in "our" waters;
  • several matters will remain subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ ;
  • Northern Ireland's remaining in the single market and customs union continues to be on the table as the most likely  option for avoiding a hard border.
And, although it wasn't exactly "non-negotiable,"  the transitional period is reduced to  21 months rather than the two yeas Britain wanted, with no option for the period to be extended for "as long as it takes."

Sadly the Brexit-supporting press report this as a victory rather than the humiliating climb-down that it is.

I must make it clear that I myslef have no problem with these climb-downs: they are common sense.  But they are not what the Brexiteers promised..

I believe that it is quite right that fishing in "our," and indeed, the rest of the world's, waters should be subject to quotas in order to maintain sustainable supplies. If we feel that British fishermen have had a bad deal then the mature way forward is to re-negotiate, not leave in a huff.

I welcome nationals from other EU countries and fully support their existing rights.  As long as they come they should have them (and so should UK nationals in other EU countries.)

 I have no objection whatsoever to the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and can' honestly see why it is a problem, even for the Brexiteers.I'm sure it wasn't at the top of the list as a motivation for Brexit voters.

And of course nothing should be done to destabilise the hard won "almost peace" in Ireland.  If the price is that all the UK should effectively stay in the single market and customs union, well and good.  So why leave the EU in the first place?

The message is that it is not just on the "£350m per month for the NHS" that  the Brexiteers are not delivering what they promised, but on much else besides.   This is what should be reported, and could help persuade Brexit voters that continuing with this folly simply isn't worth it.

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