Brexit looking shaky

So, in case you had missed it, a Brexit deal is now on the table. It introduces a transition phase while the new relationship is being discussed and keeps us in the Customs Union (and much else besides) while that process continues. After 2 years of negotiating an exit it crucially fails to assure Britain that a meaningful exit is possible at all. Since the passage of the Lisbon treaty there has been the Article 50 get out clause, but bizarrely, no such mechanism to leave is contained in the withdrawal agreement.

This is a ludicrous version of Brexit and cannot really be given the name. It has been described as capitulation, giving Britain the status of a vassal state. Regardless of your views on Brexit, or participation in politics generally, the passage of this agreement would be a disaster.

The question must now be asked: what should be done?

If the choice on the table is between Remain and this deal, then the only sensible decision is to Remain. Exit on WTO terms seems to be an incredibly unpopular option at present, and seems even likely to pass the necessary Commons vote. I greatly prefer No Deal to the present option, but the task of campaigning for it seems quixotic. It is perhaps made possible by the fact it is presently the default in law, but there are attempts underway to change that fact also.

There does seem to be some momentum behind the idea of creating an alternative deal, either by making small but important changes to this deal, or invoking the Norway option (EFTA / EEA membership). There are even a few people in the cabinet working on a fix.

The conventional wisdom is that there is no time for a second referendum, but there does seem to be a degree if political will in favour it. Should libertarians aim to begin influencing that process?

Perhaps it is better, since we are ourselves divided, to avoid taking a corporate libertarian view on the matter. This might be reasonable, but a concern is that this means sitting out one of the largest political controversies of our time.


  1. There is no real difference between Mrs May’s plan and staying in the European Union – both keep us under the rule of the European Union (till “20XX” as the plan puts it). The idea that we have “influence” in the E.U. by staying a member is nonsense, but this plan would commit us to “harmonise” with E.U. regulations (i.e. OBEY them) anyway.

    It is clear that Mrs May (a “Remainer”) intended to sabotage the chances for the independence of the United Kingdom from the start. And the use (by all sides) of this meaningless word “Brexit” has just caused confusion – which has most certainly not helped the pro independence cause.

    I remain in favour of a Canada style free trade agreement that David Davis was negotiating – but Mrs May deliberately sabotaged that. It COULD STILL HAPPEN – but Mrs May would have to be removed for that to happen.

    As for “no deal” requiring a vote in Parliament. How can there be a vote if there is no document to vote upon? If Mrs May has slipped in a provision for a vote on “no deal” then she truly is just plain evil.

    As for “not campaigning for no deal” – there should be nothing to campaign for, that is the DEFAULT option if there is no agreement. As for all the “Operation Fear” stuff about starvation and disease – should not libertarians campaign against government and corporate LIES.

    “Vote again” – I am reminded of the YouTube films of the Irish Conservative Dave Cullen, when he finally knew that the Republic of Ireland was finished is when the people voted against various European Union treaties, only to be to vote again – and the people WENT ALONG WITH THAT.

    If you vote on a serious matter and the establishment tell you to “vote again” the correct response is NOT be polite about that Simon.



  2. As Martin Howe (QC) has pointed out – the Act of Parliament to leave the European Union on March 29th 2019 has already been passed, and it is NOT conditional on the deal of Mrs May (or anyone else) being passed.

    So “it is my deal, or we do not leave the E.U. at all” is just another lie. Like the endless establishment elite lies one finds in the Economist magazine every week.



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