Following on from Evil_g’s excellent prediction. If only to laugh at myself in a year’s time for being so naive it’s time for my own prediction on this. What is actually going to happen? Let’s look at the options, regardless of how realistic they are.
- Withdrawal of A50 and stay in the EU. This, while technically possible, doesn’t seem like it is probable.
- It would mean repealing of the UK withdrawal act.
- Getting agreement from all 27 other EU states.
- All of this has to be done before March, I find it difficult to believe this is possible.
- A new referendum? Not happening. Unless there was a concerted effort to organize it in the next week or two, we are out of time. There is simply no time left to organize it.
- The referendum would need to be held early March at latest. Counting back.
- 10 weeks or so campaigning and we are at new year.
- This means passing a bill to authorize having a new referendum and giving this referendum the legal force to repeal the withdrawal Act before Christmas. This is one gift Santy is not bringing.
- Delay A50. Technically possible but highly improbable except to buy a few weeks.
- A50 can be delayed by the EU easy. The complication is the EU elections in May. Could anyone really stomach Farage being reelected an MEP in May?
- It would also mean editing the withdrawal act in the UK. Can this get through UK Parliament? Not at this time.
- I can’t see this getting through the UK & EU at this time. If it can’t be done soon, then there will be no time left to organize it.
- Transition deal.
- A minor complication here is that there is no transition deal on the table yet. It hasn’t been written yet. This in itself makes this the probability of a transition deal low.
- This needs to be agreed by UK and EU Parliaments and also possibly by each individual country. This takes time. Time which we don’t have.
- This will not be a Chequers deal. It will need to be one that is already written that keeps everything as close to what the current status as possible. There is no time for anything else.
- This is still possible, but the probability is dropping daily.
- After a transition deal all that is really agreed to is to come back to the same set of options a year later.
- Migrate to Norway style deal:
- A deal that transitions to Norway Plus customs union keeps almost everything the same as they are without strictly being in the EU is possible.
- This has already been ruled out by the UK, but that is just words and it remains a possibility. Is it possible to get this through the UK Parliament? In politics, who knows? I doubt it though at this time.
- Canada style trade deal:
- There is no time left to write it let alone getting it through all the necessary Parliaments.
- I can’t see how this can be done in the time left.
- It also means significant disruption to aviation and everything else in the EU.
- No deal Brexit.
- This is the default option. Unless there is an absolute extraordinary effort put in to change direction, this is what is happening.
- Everything done so far has made this more probable. A hard date has been written into UK law which is difficult to get around. UK politicians have spent the last couple of years sowing mistrust and have dug themselves into a hole.
What do I think is going to happen? Next March 29th UK is leaving the EU in a messy way: option ‘7’. This is going to cause a rapidly escalating amount of disruption. Will cops start enforcing checks of driving licenses on day 1? No, of course not. After a year they would to a certain degree. Will truck drivers be forced to buy different insurance and apply for new driving licenses after a few days/weeks? Probably.
Will Cabotage law be enforced for aviation? On day one, maybe not, on day 100 probably yes.
What about flight slots which are owned by the EU into JFK airport that UK airlines are currently using? Will the EU insist that, hey we paid for them, we own them, hand them over. Eventually, yes.
There will be growing disruption in so many different aspects of day to day life as to make this option unsustainable.
After the escalating disruption we are still left with options 5,6 and 7. Continuing with ‘7’ will become unsustainable, ‘6’ doesn’t solve the major sources of disruption and we are left with only one option: A Norway style deal.
The tone will not be pleasant. “UK, you do remember that payment to clean up obligations that you refused to pay a few months ago? Well, here is a pen and here is a revolver, take your pick!”
Some time next summer the UK will be forced to apply for a Norway style membership of the EU. This will probably happen after a hastily arranged and nasty general election. It will be seen as a humiliation and the long consequences are impossible to predict.