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Friday, May 11, 2018

Tua culpa maxima

How many pro-Europeans woke up today and stared incredulously at their computer screen as they sought to digest arch-Brexiteer, Dan Hannan's mea culpa, that our departure from the EU is 'not working out' the way it was planned? Who knew there was ever a plan? I thought they were winging it, at least that is how it comes across.

As the UK Business Insider website reports, the Conservative MEP whose speeches against Brussels went viral on YouTube, is now saying that Britain should seek an "Efta-type arrangement, à la Suisse" to protect trade with the EU. This is a clear rift in Brexiteer ranks, with the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg still holding a firm position against any such free trade area.

Mr Hannan expressed surprise that an uncompromising Brexit was being pursued despite the closeness of the 52-48 referendum result which backed Leave. Maybe he should have a quiet word in Theresa May's ear:

Writing on Conservative Home, he said he was often asked, "not working out the way you thought, is it?" He said: "To be fair, they've got a point." He went on: "I had assumed that, by now, we'd have reached a broad national consensus around a moderate form of withdrawal that recognised the narrowness of the result."

He backed being in the European Free Trade Association (Efta) — participation in the single market of 500 million people, but without the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

And even there he has ventured back into the land of fantasy negotiations: if we are in a free trade area then there are rules and if there are rules somebody needs to adjudicate disputes. Isn't it about time these Brexiteers acknowledged that the UK cannot have its cake and eat it?

Once we enter a free trade area or agreement with anybody then we have to be subject to an international arbitration system of some sort, and there has to be free movement. The denial of these basic facts was the lie on which the Leave referendum victory was based. It is time they were called out on it.
The Swiss border is not as transparent as Hannan and a recent correspondent to the Evening Post make out. Denis MacShane explains here: http://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/the-swiss-border-swindle-denis-macshane-1-5503444
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