Friday, 21 December 2018

Brexit means Brexit

By Roy Price

Here is how the head of Britain’s hauliers’ trade association sees the effect of a no-deal Brexit.

  • Each haulier entering Britain will be required to submit a 40-field declaration form per consignment before travel. The form takes 10 minutes to fill out.
  • The average trailer has 400 consignments per delivery.
  • 11,000 trucks a day use Dover.
If his figures are correct, this means:

By coincidence, as of 1 April 2018 the total strength of the full-time trained and untrained UK Regular Forces (army, navy + RAF) was around 146,560.

And the figure above only counts Dover. The DoT’s official (and excellent!) publications do not give the breakdown needed to compute a comparable figure for all the other UK ports but I should be surprised if Dover represents more than 50% of consignments. It could well be less.

The UK will also need a smaller but nonetheless sizeable army of Customs clerks needed to process all the new paperwork and spot-check the consignments. And average days are one thing, but what about peak days? Few lorry drivers have clerical skills. Many have little or no knowledge of English. And even competent clerks make mistakes every day.

How to recruit this army of clerks at a time when immigration is supposed to drop dramatically, with knock-on effects for the job market throughout the UK? Not to speak of all the new housing and infrastructure needed at the ports. It simply cannot be managed.

Of course all this can be computerised. It will have to be if Brexit occurs and be ready when the transition period ends. Such system will take years to develop, test and fully deploy. It will cost billions to the tax payers and tens of billions to industry. There is no way that it can be even started until the outlines of the future UK/EU trading relations have been agreed.

Who thinks a UK/EU trade agreement can be agreed in 2-3 years? The EU’s agreements with Canada and Switzerland took much longer although the stakes were much lower.

Everything will have to be thrashed out, product by product, service by service and agreed unanimously by all EU members and Britain. Every company in the EU with a strong British competitor will be putting pressure on the respective governments. An agricultural agreement will probably be impossible with serious consequences for British farmers (or huge subsidies to replace the ones they will lose).

Developing the software before all the details of an ultimate trade agreement are known will greatly add to the cost and the amount of debugging. New software never works perfectly from Day 1. The physical “cloud” infrastructure to support a system that doesn’t fail more often than, say, airline reservations, will cost further billions. And when the inevitable breakdowns do occur, a lot of produce will spoil or many half-assembled cars will stop assembly lines for hours.

Once such a system is implemented, every company in the EU exporting to Britain, and every British company exporting to the EU, will have use the new system for each consignment. Companies in the EU will have to charge their British customers more for the extra admin costs. And vice versa, which will mean loss of customers for many (probably most) British manufacturers. If standards start to diverge – very likely if the past is a guide to the future – there will be more costs. Everyone will be poorer but Britain will suffer much more than the rest of the EU.

How many Brexiteer politicians have the slightest understanding of these “practical” problems? They appear to expect business simply to get on with it.

One way to avoid this mess
Crashing out of the EU has the merit of simplicity. The systems for imports from non-EU countries exist already (although they are far from being fully computerised, in Britain or anywhere else). But the billions needed to implement a new UK/EU system would be almost trivial compared to the disruptions that would follow if third-country tariffs were applied to UK/EU trade.

EU/UK trade today is a far cry from what it was in 1974. It is more comparable to trade between the north and south of England or France or Germany Just think of what putting a border across the middle of any big country and you can see what Brexit really means in reality.

Taking back control
Mrs May’s deal would avoid almost all of these problems but it would also strip Brexit of any practical meaning… except that Britain would no longer have a voice in making the applicable rules. Parliament will not accept that and quite rightly so. Either Parliament votes to cancel Brexit (unlikely) or it acquiesces in a crash-out or it calls for a second referendum.

A second referendum becomes all the more probable if the implications of a crash-out become clearer in the weeks ahead. The 27 EU countries will gladly accept a postponement of Brexit to allow that, knowing that the result is almost certain to be different this time.

It's unseasonably warm in the Rabbit Hole
And it promises to get warmer by the day despite the approaching winter outdoors. What would happen if Mr Corbyn came out for a second referendum and urged Labour voters to opt for remain?

Mrs May says:
1.   “What we have agreed unashamedly puts our future economic success, and the livelihoods of working families up and down this country, first.”
2.   “It is important in delivering for the British people that we are out of the implementation period before the next general election.”

No 1 would be true if the transition period were to last indefinitely because, for almost all practical purposes, the UK stays in the EU although it no longer has any voice in Brussels. But No 2 is logically incompatible with No 1. The EU has said, effectively, that “Brexit means Brexit”. Does she not remember who said that first?

Mr Corbyn says:
1.   “Our votes in parliament will be to attempt to stop this deal…”
2.   … and to say to the government, ‘You’ve got to go back and negotiate something else’.
3.   There is time to do it. By the way, when the EU says there isn’t time, the EU has a long history of 11th hour negotiations. Even the Lisbon Treaty was renegotiated several times.”

No 1 is obvious. Everyone knows that most, probably almost all, Labour MPs will vote against the deal. No 2 follows logically because the Government will almost certainly pretend to try again before calling for a 2nd referendum or a general election.

However the EU will not budge to help the Tories. Or Labour for that matter. So No 3 is disingenuous and Mr Corbyn surely knows it.

The EU will gladly postpone the deadline for leaving. But that does not mean they will seriously change any of their positions. A Labour government, if one should emerge, must either accept the current deal, or hold another referendum which the Remainers are likely to win, or crash out which they know will have consequences for which they will not want to be held responsible.

Nothing suggests that Mrs May and Mr Corbyn are mating underground but both are hiding from reality or pretending to do so. As of today it seems that Mr Corbyn is the more clever animal. When the deal is voted down in Parliament, and if he cannot get the general election he wants, he will have to acquiesce in a 2nd referendum. Mrs May will have a hard time doing that.

And if there is a 2nd referendum, how will the two denizens of the rabbit hole urge their respective followers to vote? Either way both will be exposed as dissemblers.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Informal social on December 12th

We are organising an informal social, follow-up event to our Petit Victor Hugo dinner on December 12 (the day after the "meaningful" vote in Parliament !) at Saint George's Anglican Church Parish Hall  ( 7 Rue Auguste Vacquerie, 75016 Paris - tel: 01 47 20 22 51)    

This will be our last meeting of calendar year 2018 and we hope it will be the occasion for us allto :

  • get to know each other better
  • discuss the results of the Parliamentary vote that occurred the day before
  • talk about our views on where we go from here, if (as appears likely) Theresa May's UK Withdrawal Agreement is rejected
  • share some Christmas fare (mince pies and mulled wine) before we all go off for the end of year's celebrations

The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm. and last until 8:30 pm and I hope that as many of you, as possible will be able to join us there to celebrate Christmas with some familiar (anti-Brexit) faces, no matter what may be the result of the Parliamentary vote !

To cover our costs, we'll be asking you each to please make a contribution of €10 when you arrive (with as many mince pies as you can eat and as much mulled wine as you can drink !) 

We really look forward to seeing and chatting with you all.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Theresa May's letter to the nation

by Robin Baker

The Prime Minister wrote to the nation on 24thNovember setting out her views on the benefits of the agreement reached with the EU27 on Brexit and seeking to rally support for it.  She did not succeed in convincing me, although I have to concede that would have been a herculean task.  But worse, she did convince me that her arguments are false and based on a number of misstatements.  Here is the text of her letter, and my comments on it in red.

"When I became your prime minister, the United Kingdom had just voted to leave the European Union.  Correct, but by a majority of just 37% of the electorate and 27% of the UK population, by a margin of 2.7% of the electorate and with those most affected by the result denied the right to vote despite the promise of expatriate votes for life in the Conservative election manifesto.
"From my first day in the job, I knew I had a clear mission before me - a duty to fulfil on your behalf: to honour the result of the referendum and secure a brighter future for our country by negotiating a good Brexit deal with the EU.  Despite the fact that the voters were fed a series of lies; for example that we would save £350 million a week when the true figure was about half of that, and that the Prime Minster herself told the Conservative Party conference that “the referendum was not just a vote to withdraw from the EU.  It was about something broader - about a sense – deep, profound and let’s face it often justified – that many people have today that the world works well for a privileged few, but not for them.”
"Throughout the long and complex negotiations that have taken place over the last year and a half, I have never lost sight of that duty.
"Today, I am in Brussels with the firm intention of agreeing a Brexit deal with the leaders of the other 27 EU nations.
"It will be a deal that is in our national interest - one that works for our whole country and all of our people, whether you voted 'Leave' or 'Remain'.  The fact is that it cannot possibly work for those of us who voted remain, because it takes us out of the EU, and it doesn’t work for those who voted leave because the UK remains subject to EU rules indefinitely.
"It will honour the result of the referendum.
"We will take back control of our borders, by putting an end to the free movement of people once and for all.  It will not, see my blog of 6thNovember below.
"Instead of an immigration system based on where a person comes from, we will build one based on the skills and talents a person has to offer.
"We will take back control of our money, by putting an end to vast annual payments to the EU.  But the Government’s Office of Budget responsibility says that there will be no Brexit dividend for the Government because any savings will be offset by the loss of revenue caused by a lower GDP.
"Instead, we will be able to spend British taxpayers' money on our own priorities, like the extra £394 million per week that we are investing in our long-term plan for the NHS.  But she decided to spend that before she knew the terms of our leaving.
"And we will take back control of our laws, by ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK. 
"In future, our laws will be made, interpreted and enforced by our own courts and legislatures. Not for an indefinite period and, after that, we will still be subject to the rulings of the WTO disputes procedure.
"We will be out of EU programmes that do not work in our interests: out of the Common Agricultural Policy that has failed our farmers, and out of the Common Fisheries Policy that has failed our coastal communities.  The Common Agricultural Policy does work in our interest because if makes us part of a self-sufficient food producing area which we will no longer be after Brexit.  When we leave the Common Fisheries Policy over-fishing will still have to be controlled, otherwise the industry will not be sustainable in the long term.  Were the EU and the UK to adopt different fishery conservation policies, since fish do not understand boundaries between different territorial waters, the one applying more stringent controls and therefore deserving greater sustainability with their fish stocks, would inevitable lose fish to the other one.  This would lead to political pressure to increase quotas which, in turn, would endanger the future of the fishing industry in both UK and EU waters.
"Instead, we will be able to design a system of agricultural support that works for us, and we will be an independent coastal state once again, with full control over our waters.
"The deal also protects the things we value.
"EU citizens who have built their lives in the United Kingdom will have their rights protected, as will UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU.  No, that is not true, many rights on both sides will be denied to us.  See the blog of 9thNovember below.
"A free trade area will allow goods to flow easily across our borders, protecting the many skilled jobs right across the country that rely on integrated supply-chains.  But does the PM really think that the UK will be allowed access to a free trade area with the EU for free.  I believe that we will be charged for that as EU member states are, and that is going to have a substantial affect on what we save by leaving the EU.  Also there is threat by the French to tie a free trade agreement to concessions by the UK on fishing rights.
"Because our European friends will always be our allies in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, the deal will ensure that security co-operation will continue, so we can keep our people safe.
"As prime minister of the United Kingdom, I have from day one been determined to deliver a Brexit deal that works for every part of our country - for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for our Overseas Territories like Gibraltar, and also for the Crown Dependencies. But the agreement reached by the Prime Minister with Spain excludes Gibraltar from the general negotiation between the EU and UK and "will allow Spain to negotiate directly with the UK over Gibraltar”.
"This deal will do that.
"Crucially, it will protect the integrity of our United Kingdom and ensure that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland - so people can live their lives as they do now.
"It is a deal for a brighter future, which enables us to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.
"Outside the EU, we will be able to sign new trade deals with other countries and open up new markets in the fastest-growing economies around the world.  Only when the EU has agreed to this, if they do not agree we are still tied to the agreement indefinitely.
"With Brexit settled, we will be able to focus our energies on the many other important issues facing us here at home: keeping our economy strong, and making sure every community shares in prosperity; securing our NHS for the future, giving every child a great start in life, and building the homes that families need; tackling the burning injustices that hold too many people back, and building a country for the future that truly works for everyone.  That would be fantastic, but we would always have been in that position had we never started this Brexit nonsense in the first place.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

In full: the draft withdrawal agreement and the UK government's explainer

The full text of the draft withdrawal agreement, all 585 pages of it, is available to read online. You can find it here.

In addition, the UK government has produced a rather lengthy ‘explainer’ document, outlining its interpretation of the agreement. You can find that here.

Update on November 20th 2018: The government has now produced a more condensed explainer, in the form of some ‘explanatory slides’, which are available here.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Joint Statement from British in Europe and the3million regarding the Brexit withdrawal agreement and citizens' rights.

 Citizens’ rights groups the3million and British in Europe have reacted with anger and disappointment after the Brexit negotiators failed to deliver their promise to agree a deal  that would allow people to  carry on living their lives in exactly the same manner as before Brexit.
Despite good progress at the early stage of the negotiations, the talks stalled when the focus switched to the Irish border, with crucial issues such as freedom of movement for British citizens in Europe and lifelong rights to return remaining unsolved in the agreement presented by Theresa May last night.
Key Concerns That Have not Been Met:
-               British in Europe – losing free movement, which our members rely on for work and family. 
-               3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK have to pay to apply to stay in their home, will undergo systematic criminality checks and can lose the new status if family or work obligations mean they have to leave the country for five years.
Chair of the3million Nicolas Hatton said:
“the3million feels betrayed by the Brexit negotiators. Despite early progress in the negotiations, over three million EU citizens in the UK, including 700,000 EU children, are now facing a lifelong limbo under the Withdrawal Agreement.
We are still bargaining chips, as the negotiators will soon discuss the future relationship, with our lives still in the balance. As a reminder, the Withdrawal Agreement does not protect our existing rights, and shamefully creates more insecurity by allowing the Home Office to pick and choose the EU citizens they want to keep.”
Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe said:  
“We were told in March that citizens’ rights were a done deal and that discussions on this would not be re-opened. However it is clear from the text that some changes have in fact been made, meaning that it is unacceptable and upsetting that free movement – a lifeline for many of us - has been excluded when both sides knew it was critical for us.
Brexit Secretaries come and Brexit Secretaries go.  But unlike  Dominic Raab our members don't have the luxury of walking away from this mess.  His resignation only adds to the uncertainty that millions of people have been experiencing for two years. It is now up to the European Parliament, not only to walk the talk on its red lines – free movement in our case – but to put pressure on all sides to ringfence the agreement on citizens’ rights so that 4.6mn people can sleep at night now whatever happens on Brexit."  

A fuller analysis will follow in due course.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Maike Bohn the3million
+44 7967 627808
Laura Shields
British in Europe +32 497 409 884
@mediawhizz @britishineurope

British in Europe is the largest coalition group of British citizens living and working in Europe.  It is comprised of ten core groups across the continent representing a membership of around 35.000 Brits working together to stand up for the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

100 Years from the Armistice

The one hundredth anniversary of the armistice is an appropriate moment to consider what was behind the movement towards European unity.  That was set out in the Schumann declaration of 1950 that announced the formation of the first of the European Communities: European Coal and Steel Community.  Extracts from what Robert Schumann said are:
« Le rassemblement des nations européennes exige que l’opposition séculaire de la France et de l’Allemagne soit éliminée : l’action entreprise doit toucher au premier chef la France et l’Allemagne. 
Dans ce but, le gouvernement français propose de porter immédiatement l’action sur un point limité mais décisif : "Le gouvernement français propose de placer l’ensemble de la production franco- allemande de charbon et d’acier sous une Haute Autorité commune, dans une organisation ouverte à la participation des autres pays d’Europe." 
La solidarité de production (de charbon et d’acier) qui sera ainsi nouée manifestera que toute guerre entre la France et l’Allemagne devient non seulement impensable, mais matériellement impossible. »

“The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany.  Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries. 
With this aim in view, the French Government proposes that action be taken immediately on one limited but decisive point. 
It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe. 
The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”
There is nothing in this declaration about a free trade deal but there is the establishment of a High Authority to take power away from the established nation states.  It worked magnificently.  We have seen that with the friendship between France and Germany manifested in the personal relationships between de Gaulle and Adenauer, between Mitterrand and Kohl and between Macron and Merkel now.

The benefits from the European Union are many.  We think overwhelmingly today of the material benefits: enormously increased prosperity, the freedoms we enjoy to live and work where we will within the EU.  We are right to do so but this carries the danger that we forget the most important one of all.  

That is the freedom from war and the threat of war between the countries of Western Europe.  That we should remember above all on Armistice Day.

Robin Baker
11th November, 2018 

Friday, 9 November 2018

Defending our citizens’ rights

  1. Call by campaigners for Brexit Citizens' Rights deal  (see
  2. Text of Westminster speech by  French Senator Olivier Cadic, senator for the French Aboad (see
  3. French Senate passes a Brexit law which now has to be adopted by the Assemblée Nationale   (see

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

BEMF dinner on November 23rd

The BEMF will be organizing its first ever dinner on November 23rd at 7 p.m. at the outstanding restaurant, Au Petit Victor Hugo, 143 Avenue Victor Hugo in Paris.
 Our guest speaker on that occasion will be a most remarkable man, Richard Ashworth, British MEP for the South East Region
Though he is the former leader of the UK Conservative  delegation in the European Parliament, Richard, a fierce opponent of Brexit, was expelled from the Conservative party last month in a shock move by party Chairman, Brandon Lewis.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Richard recently stated that “In October 2017, I, along with Julie Girling, voted in support of a European Parliament resolution that said, “Not enough progress has been made, by the EU and the UK, in resolving the question of the Irish border after Brexit”. Only five Conservative MEPs took part in the vote, which was not a political statement but a factual one.”
In light of that vote, Prime Minister Theresa May announced at the following PMQs “I have suspended the party whip from two Conservative MEPs”.
Subsequently, both MEPs, in defiance of the British Conservative delegation, voted to censure the far right Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. 
Consequently, Party Chairman, Brandon Lewis, announced last month that both Ashworth and Girling had been expelled from the Conservative party.
Richard Ashworth is 71 years old and was born in Folkestone Courageously, he has publicly expressed his concern that the “once broad-church pragmatic Conservative party has deserted the centre ground in favour of far right ideology and intolerance”.
Richard will talk to us  about his experiences and beliefs and will answer any questions you may have
We can assure you of a very pleasant and convivial evening with a special menu consisting of an assiette d'hors d'oeuvres variés, magret de canard laqué au miel, potimarron et petits légumes and a choice of desserts.  Half a bottle of red wine, mineral water and coffee will be included 
If you are interested in coming along to the dinner (whether or not you are formally a member of the BEMF) please contact us on

No, we’re not being bullied by the EU over Brexit

The following thought-provoking article by Jonathan Lis,
Deputy Director of the Think Tank “British Influence”,
originally appeared in Prospect Magazine on-line on November 2 2018

The logical consequence of leaving Europe is that we are worse off. Brussels bullying simply doesn’t enter into it.

As the Brexit negotiations stutter towards a new deadline and a new opportunity to miss it, the rhetoric of punishment again hangs in the air. The narrative is predictable. The EU is attempting to blackmail us into accepting the Irish backstop, taking its revenge on us for leaving. We should have no desire to be in an organisation that bullies and humiliates us. 
This is not simply the language of radio shock-jocks and nationalist commentators. The foreign secretary told the Conservative Party conference that the EU “[seems] to think the way to keep the club together is to punish a member who leaves… even by breaking up the United Kingdom with a border down the Irish Sea.” For good measure he then compared the bloc to a Soviet prison. That was a neat accompaniment to his predecessor’s remark that the French president “wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who chooses to escape, rather in the manner of some World War Two movie.” If it’s not the empire, eventually it will be the Nazis.

The genre was recently best illuminated by former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott in the Spectator. He warned that the EU might, in a no deal scenario, “hit out with tariffs and impose burdens on Britain.” Students of global trade might be aware that these “tariffs and burdens” are otherwise known as following the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

The truth, should it need to be pointed out, is that the EU is not punishing us. It is simply refusing to grant us special privileges. From the beginning, Brussels’ deepest red line has demanded that the UK must not be able to enjoy the benefits of membership without its obligations, and must therefore be accorded no more favours than any other non-member. Originally the EU might have been motivated by a desire not to spread the “contagion” of exit, but that risk has long since abated. Now member states insist on the policy in order to boost their political cohesion and long-term interests.

The EU can only function with a commitment to common laws. This is particularly apparent in the case of no deal. When Brexiters are confronted with the reality of collapsed port infrastructure, empty supermarkets and grounded aircraft, they either dismiss them altogether or accuse the EU of attacking us. This is a straightforward inversion of the truth. The Article 50 mechanism carefully outlines the results of triggering it. A no deal is by definition the result of the UK’s request to sever all existing agreements with the EU. If the UK wants to be a third country, the EU must comply. In labelling its own sovereign decisions as external punishment, Britain is blaming the EU for acquiescing to its self-immolation.

Shared laws accompany shared principles, and the EU depends on both. Jeremy Hunt’s comments therefore betray a peculiarly British narcissism. They discount the possibility that other countries besides our own might have ambitions to promote and interests to protect. The EU’s priority is not the economic integrity, or punishment, of a departing member state, but the cohesion of its single market and peace on the island of Ireland. Unfortunately for the UK, the EU has the economic power and political leverage to insist upon both.

Given that only the Irish backstop currently prevents the government from signing the withdrawal agreement, that is now the focus of the punishment narrative. The Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has again stated that Britain must follow through on the commitments it made, and that it must do so in the next week. Typically, Brexiters ignore Ireland’s near-existential concern over a hard border and affirm that Dublin and Brussels are railroading us into a soft Brexit.

The truth is more prosaic. The EU27 are not issuing a last-minute demand or ultimatum on the pain of no-deal. They are quite literally asking the UK not to renege on what it freely signed up to in December and March, and which it has acknowledged forms a condition of any exit agreement.

Fittingly, perhaps, the block to a withdrawal treaty thus arises not from any great conspiracy to hurt us or deprive us of our global destiny, but because British ministers were either too lazy to read or too dim to understand the document they agreed to.

It is worth asking how the punishment narrative gained such traction in government and the wider Brexit establishment. The whole point of Brexit was that we were stronger than the EU, they needed us more than we needed them, and we would have the capability to pull out at any moment without feeling a scratch. In December 2016 then Brexit secretary David Davis remarked, with characteristic modesty and self-awareness, that he would be “kind” to the EU by granting it a transition even though the UK did not want or need one. How can the EU punish us when we hold all the cards?

The answer takes us to the heart of Brexit: namely, a co-dependent myth of domination and grievance. The EU must validate both our Anglocentrism and our victimhood, and thus simultaneously revere and attack us. Because we see ourselves as unique, the same treatment as any other third country is necessarily punishment.

The truth about Brexit and punishment lies rather closer to home. From Theresa May’s declaration at Lancaster House that we would be leaving the single market and customs union, to her recent affirmation in the Commons that she would rather crash out of the EU with no deal than extend Article 50, Brexit represents a zenith of arbitrary self-harm unprecedented in modern history. When it comes to a no-deal scenario, we are not only freely administering that punishment, but also requesting it in masochistic abundance from the EU.

Brussels does not want us to commit economic and political hara-kiri, but will not stop us if we insist on it. The sad reality is that during the course of this process we have only ever been punishing ourselves.

Brexit Humour

By Geoffrey Ross

……..AND LIKELY RESULTS:  BREXIT 2016 – 203 0
·     BREXIT 2016: The streets will be paved with gold. 
·     BREXIT 2017: It won't be as bad as they warned. 
·     BREXIT 2018: We got through two World Wars. We can do this. 
·     BREXIT 2020: It would have been great if Remoaners had helped. 
·     BREXIT 2030: This rat tastes funny. Pass the mint jelly.
1)    Where the Leaver factions stand in regard to CAKE policy
·     Gove/ Johnson etc;- I want to have my cake and eat it.
·     Mogg/ Farage etc;- I don’t care how delicious or bad the cake is, I don’t want it.
·     Hoey / Field etc;- I was told there would be cake, where is it?
Oh dear !
2)     It even  gets nuttier and nuttier, given the EU’s position.
·     EU: You can't cherry-pick
·     UK: OK, we won't. We'll put the cherries in 3 baskets.
Do we really think we can get whatever we want if we just use different words?


Hi – I’d like to discuss driving my LH drive car on your UK motorways. I’d like to follow my own local laws but I’m going to make sure that I follow the principle of “equivalence of outcomes” so I will always drive with the aim of not crashing. I recognise that continuing to drive on the right as I do at home would create difficulties given the flow of traffic in the UK, but obviously on a motorway I will be able to drive in the outside lane and treat it as the equivalent of the slow lane at home – I believe this will be an acceptable compromise that recognises my sovereignty while creating a deep and special road-based relationship. 

I find roundabouts confusing but traffic lights are ok, so I’d like to diverge when I get to a roundabout, always subject to the overriding “equivalence of outcomes” principle, so I promise to not actually crash. Your police may be concerned by the screeching tyres and evasive action of other road users as I exercise my very limited and reasonable “right to diverge” but I hope you will regard this as evidence of the vibrant and dynamic nature of our new deep and special relationship.

If an accident does happen I don’t want to be subject to UK courts since that would infringe my sovereignty. Instead I propose that we set up an independent tribunal to adjudicate.

Over time there may be other aspects of your motorway laws that I find difficult to comply with or just hard to understand so I reserve the right to follow a programme of “ambitious managed divergence” – we can discuss the details as we go along (just call me on my mobile – it’s not hands-free but I can usually reach it in the passenger footwell – I can always stop if I think it’s unsafe to continue driving – people hoot as they swerve to avoid me parked in the fast lane but reaching the hard shoulder is such a pain and I find driving without the music of the horns is distracting).
I look forward to forging a deep and special partnership of motorway users. But let us be creative as well as practical in designing an ambitious partnership which respects the freedoms and principles of the UK, and the wishes of the foreign drivers like me. A partnership of interests, a partnership of values; a partnership of ambition for a shared future: UK drivers and me side by side delivering prosperity and opportunity for all.
This is the future within our grasp – so, together, let us seize it.
UK: We don't want to be in our local gym any more
UK: But we do want to use the machines to keep fit before joining a new gym 100 miles away
EU: What ? 
UK: But we're not going to follow the rules
EU: No way !
UK: Why are you punishing us ?     Er, new gym anywhere ?    hello ???


Not for the first time, Law and policy commentor at @FT David Allen Green sums it up:
“The government confirms it will not join the customs union proposed by Corbyn and instead UK will be in another form of customs union which will not be the Customs Union or any existing customs union but a new customs union, with the very same effect as the Customs Union”

(David Allen Green (@davidallengreen) February 26, 2018)