August 16, 2017
Earlier this week, the European Commission declared that “frictionless trade is not possible outside the single market and customs union”, in reference to Brexit. That came only a few days after the UK’s former foreign secretary, David Miliband, warned that the “politics of grievance” was leading the UK to be “driven off a cliff”. The real question is, will Britain accept that it is, actually, quite possible not to speed forward to its own demise?
A little over a year ago, the UK voted to leave the European Union. The country’s entire discussion since then has centred around “respecting the result” – which is really quite a perplexing red herring of an argument. There is virtually no one in British politics who is calling for ignoring the result. No party nor politician of note has declared, “To heck with the referendum, let’s just pretend it didn’t happen”. On the contrary, every part of the political spectrum has expressly respected the result.
A difference of opinion is what happened next – because there is no, nor has there ever been, an agreed upon vision of what Brexit entails, neither within and among Brexit’s supporters nor among its detractors. In the run up to the referendum, for example, there was no clear consensus on whether or not Brexit would mean exiting the single market. Indeed, even after the referendum, it took the UK government, which is committed to the referendum result on Brexit, almost seven months to formally declare that it would have the UK leave the single market. Why? Because it could have had it any way it wanted. There was nothing binding the UK to leaving the single market.
Source: The National