Has Theresa May got it wrong over the Brexit negotiation plan?

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Theresa May

Theresa May, Prime Minister Pic Credit: conservatives.com


Theresa May is about to trigger Article 50 and go into negotiations with the other 27 European Union countries to sort out arrangements covering British trade with this huge market. It is a complete mystery how Britain is going to play its cards and Theresa May doesn’t want to give anything away.

However  a fascinating  post  from Stewart Wood, a former adviser to  Labour PM, Gordon Brown and  later to  Ed Miliband, suggests that she does have a strategy but it may be the wrong one.

Drawing from his experience in Whitehall  he suggests that Theresa May plans to draw from her experience as home secretary where she successfully negotiated an opt out on police and criminal justice matters – choosing to opt back in to measures she accepted.

She plans to use this to apply to the whole British negotiation.

He writes : “Her plan is for the UK to leave the single market en bloc, but renegotiate continued access to it on preferential terms for some key UK industrial sectors as part of a wider free trade agreement. According to this vision, these lucky sectors would continue to enjoy de facto membership of the single market, but without the requirement to be bound by decisions of the European Court of Justice. Problem solved, our Prime Minister thinks.”

So will this work? Not according to Stewart Wood because  the mechanism she is using does not apply here.

” So it can work again, right? Wrong. The strategy of “exit then cherry-picking” worked with the JHA decision in 2014 for a simple reason: it was set up as an “exit plus cherry-picking” deal in the Lisbon Treaty itself. It is a colossal error to think that the same approach can work in the case of Brexit – a negotiation of phenomenally greater complexity, played on multiple chessboards simultaneously, where interests between the EU and the UK are nowhere near as simply aligned, and where opt-outs have not been negotiated by existing treaty provisions.”

I gather Stewart Wood’s views are reflected in Whitehall thinking. But whether Theresa May is taking any notice is another matter.

What it does mean is that if he is right  the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and the Scots Nats are going to have a field day if they decide to hold the government to account. Also all the sectors – from the car industry, the financial sector and technology to name but a few – might vote with their feet to maintain unrestricted access to the EU. Interesting times.

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3 thoughts on “Has Theresa May got it wrong over the Brexit negotiation plan?

  1. Negotiations are the same as playing poker, both sides bluff and say they have the upper hand. Both sides say they will give nothing away. The side that can hold its nerve longest wins the game and gets the best deal. Remember the Cuban missile crisis, America had to say it would launch nuclear weapons if Russia did not back down and remove its weapons from Cuba. It went right down the the wire, but Russia backed down just before the deadline expired?


    • Even if your analogy were correct (which it is not), who do you you think would back down first over Brexit? The EU who have all the cards, and all the time ion the world, or the UK, who have nothing to offer the EU, and two years in which to do it?


  2. Reblogged this on Buried News and commented:
    The problem really lies in that integration reached a level with the EU that it be easier for California cede from the United States than the UK from the EU. The reality is that our politicians have not been truthful about the level of integration already in place. Secondly, Global Capitalism does not recognise borders and the movement of manufacturing from the UK to EU will be eagerly awaited by many member states of the EU.
    Do we have a model for economic disintegration after the collapse of a trading bloc. In fact we do have a model, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Contrary to popular belief the Empire was not as economically backward as some textbooks tell us. In fact The GNP per capita grew roughly 1.76% per year from 1870–1913. That level of growth compared very favorably to that of other European nations such as Britain (1%). The Empire built up the fourth-largest machine building industry of the world. Austria-Hungary was also the world’s third largest manufacturer and exporter of electric home appliances, electric industrial appliances and facilities for power plants, after the United States and the German Empire.
    After the collapse of this Empire/trading area it disintegrated, as the victorious powers drew lines on a map , these territorial lines split up the manufacturing process, and of course new currencies lead to further instabilities. So within a matter of a few years, economic disintegration had taking place. Maybe voter in the United Kingdom should have been told the history of the collapse of this central economic bloc and maybe learn this lesson from history.

    Liked by 1 person

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