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BREXIT Heading for the Cliff Edge during Current Pandemic

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28.11.2020

John Bruton | Oped Column Syndication

The Conservative Party, which is driven by a narrative around re-establishing British identity and is quite insensitive to economic or trade arguments, wants Brexit done quickly because it fears the British people might change their minds. That is why there is such a mad rush. It is not rational. It is imperative!

Last Friday Michel Barnier gave a stark warning about the lack of progress in the Brexit negotiation.

But this week Boris Johnson has come back to work.

Perhaps it was unrealistic for Michel Barnier to have expected the United Kingdom to have engaged seriously with the trade offs and concessions, essential to a long term Agreement , while the UK Prime Minister was ill.

Brexit is Boris’ big thing. He made it. Other Tory Ministers have no leeway to make Brexit decisions without his personal imprimatur. He has purged from his party of all significant figures who might advocate a different vision of Brexit.

The point of Michel Barnier’s intervention is that, now that Boris is back at work, he will need to give a clear strategic lead to the UK negotiating team. If he fails to do that, we will end up, on 1 January 2021, with No Deal and an incipient trade war between the UK and the EU. Ireland will be in the front line.

The scars left by COVID-19 will eventually heal, but those left by a wilfully bad Brexit, whether brought about deliberately or by inattention, may never heal.

This is because a bad Brexit will be a deliberate political act, whereas COVID-19 is just a reminder of our shared human vulnerability.

Boris Johnson signed up to a Withdrawal Treaty with the European Union, which legally committed the UK to customs, sanitary, and........

© Oped Column


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