This blogpost was written on May 14th 2018
It is increasingly difficult to see any way in which Brexit ends well. The reason is simple: The UK wants what it can’t have. It asks for two incompatible things.
- It wants to be leave the EU and take back control over its money, borders, laws and trade policy so as to be able to say that it is a completely sovereign country, beholden to no one.
- But it also wants to continue to trade with the EU in the frictionless manner that it does today so that it will suffer no economic damage as a result of leaving.
As we have repeatedly noted in this Briefing, it wants all the benefits of the customs union and the single market, but without the obligations and restraints that come with those benefits.
Throughout the process the position of the EU has been clear. In accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty it says the UK is free to leave the EU. The very fact that a country can leave the EU shows that sovereignty was never lost. Only a sovereign country can quit an organisation like the EU. Is California or Arizona free to leave the United States? A civil war says no.