The European Union is not perfect. Having worked in the European Commission and European policy for several years, I was aware of the inefficiency, the slow progress and intractable bureaucracy. There are many things wrong with it. On balance, however, I argue that it does more good than bad. Over the next year people will realise this more and more and the sensible powers that be will stop the folly of jumping off the cliff edge, of this I am certain.
The main reason Brexit won’t happen is due to the Irish border issue. Europe has three negotiating red lines; the Irish border, the safeguarding of migrant rights (in the UK and mainland Europe) and the settling of the money the UK rightly owes. Two of these issues are solvable, the first is not. There are three options with the Irish border. The first is to implement a hard border, unacceptable to Ireland and thus Europe as Ireland is a member state. Albeit the overall Brexit deal will be settled by qualified majority voting (QMV) – not unanimity, so this could happen. It seems unlikely however as Barnier was involved in setting up the Good Friday Agreement and no one wants a return to the Troubles of the past. For interest, it is also worth noting that the QMV needed for Brexit makes Spain not entirely an obstacle for voting against Scotland staying in Europe; Spain not being a fan of ‘separatists’ clearly.
The second option is the reunification of Ireland. I can’t see the UK giving up Northern Ireland. Theresa May’s shady deal with the DUP is a sign of intent there. Interestingly the DUP has already not voted with the Tories on the public sector pay cap, making a Brexit deal getting through UK parliament increasingly unlikely. Even Labour says it won’t vote for the Brexit deal, but abstaining seems to be their hobby these days – so little hope there.
“Theresa May’s shady deal with the DUP is a sign of intent.”
The third option is the UK staying in the single market – by far the only and most workable solution. So we end up paying to stay in the single market whilst having no say how Europe forms our laws. A poor solution but better than the cliff edge. Hilariously this might also mean signing up to Schengen which will delight the racists no end. The transition deal is also in the gift of the EU and I can’t see any reason why member states will vote for it. They’d rather see us suffer, and our arrogant government deserves to be made an example of.
Many of the flaws people see with Europe stem from its pervasive neoliberalism. This is exemplified in the Common Agricultural and Common Fisheries Policies. Economies of scale and large scale production, compartmentalisation of the production line, is not compatible with localism and empowerment of communities. Scotland being in the European Free Trade Association (which allows us to opt out if the CAP and the CFP) could well be a good result here. I’m actually against the euro and the European Union having more control over our social security, foreign policy and defence too. This could be a way for Scotland and Northern Ireland to get what they want from this deal.
Greece and Spain have not been good points for the European Union lately. Neither of these situations have shown the EU in a good light. With Greece it was the assymetry of the economies entering the common currency that lead to their people being so shoddily treated. With Spain, I don’t think we could expect the European Union to interfere in the politics of a sovereign state. Individual member states must of course uphold democracy and denounce the actions of the Spanish government incarcerating elected leaders, many have such as Denmark. For the EU to impose diktat or invoke force over a sovereign state is exactly the kind of overreach of an EU superstate that people rally against. The EU is just a collection if sovereign states supported by the commission. If the Council of Ministers wants to agree to impose sanctions on Spain, fine. If someone wants to take a case against the Spanish government to the Council of Europe and the European court of Justice, also fine. If Brussels wants to give Catalan ministers asylum, great. For Juncker to say something however is no better than Baroso interfering in Scotland’s indyref. It is beyond the remit of non elected bureaucrats.
We must think on balance of the environmental, scientific and daily human right advances of the EU. The excellent work of member states collectively taking in migrants, of progressing higher living standards and working rights across Eastern Europe. Of maintaining “peace in our time” for decades. The EU is complex and delivers so many benefits. Leaving these behind will impoverish our country and give the Tories free reign to destroy our NHS and all that we hold dear.
Let’s face it, the UK can’t even roll seven benefits into one Universal Credit over seven years never mind negotiate hundreds of new trade agreements in one. Trade agreements that will exploit developing nations no doubt. The common standards and regulations that bind us together will not be untangled easily, and with time people will see it is folly to try. Brexit won’t happen, I bet my life on it.
The Butterfly Rebellion