The idea for this week’s podcast had been to outline how we would do Brexit and to explain what we think we might get out of it; a positive and productive episode to offset the doom-mongering of last week. Broadly, we would outline how our opinion on this hasn’t changed in 18 months, and that the only way to do Brexit successfully is through membership of the EEA and EFTA. At the end of last week’s blog, I mentioned how this strategy had started to come back into the conversation. Michel Barnier seems increasingly keen to make it obvious that this route is a good idea and an acceptable compromise. EFTA representatives are suggesting they would be happy for us to become a member, and there are rumours of increasing support for the idea within the government. Then of course, we had the 2nd official round of negotiations, and everything looked depressing as usual. It was reported that there were significant disagreements over citizens’ rights, in particular because the rights of those citizens will have to be overseen by a supranational court - normally the ECJ, but this would cross one of the Tories red lines and so no agreement was reached. The talks were totally unproductive, it would seem. Then, Barnier was asked a few questions about ways to resolve the issue:
I’ll leave you with a few things to read. The big one is this report from The UK in a Changing Europe, which is a great overview of the horrors that no deal might entail. I wouldn’t say it does a comprehensive job in that regard, but it certainly exposes some of the rubbish still being pushed by some on the same topic, like this. This article in CapX is brilliant on why Norway is the way to go, and Stephen Bush in the New Statesmen is good on the possibility of a transition. Finally, this piece in The Conversation and this in the LSE blog explore the possibility of joining EFTA.