Nine months to go before the end of the Transition Period and the end of the customs union, and so many politicians and clerks distracted elsewhere. The news cycle has moved on: even so, the transition year is shortening and a trade treaty must be signed, and can be.
We were told on 9 March that the British negotiators would place draft legal texts on the table for the negotiating round due to take place on 18-20 March in London. That meeting was cancelled, but the European Commission did publish its own draft text. It is not unexpected and full of “non-regression” (the word appears 25 times in the text) and on the environment their “precautionary principle” that has done so much damage to the cause of innovation (“precautionary” appears 30 times). It is as if the European Union has learned nothing in the whole process, and it is fair to assume that it has not.
So where is the British text? I observed before how important it is to get your text on the table, because if we are negotiating from the Brussels text we will get nowhere and we are running straight into a dealless 2021.
The coronavirus outbreak and the reaction to it were shocks that have made many things grind to a halt. However, both Boris Johnson and Michel Barnier have had the disease and got out the other side, and Dominic Cummings is almost there, so they can be getting on with it: they can meet in perfect safety as they can neither contract the disease nor pass it on. If their teams are still vulnerable, there is remote working, but remote working must mean actual working. There are no more excuses.
A gradual assumption has been allowed to grow, and been cultivated by those with an agenda, that all the world’s affairs are suspended and there must be extensions and delays. In reality though, there is no reason at all for delay, and every reason to push on harder: the economy is failing, and Europe is hit the worst as their measures have been more extreme – failing to fix a trade deal will hurt the economies of both sides badly, but Europe is in the most desperation.
No, the world is not “on hold”. For Boris and Barnier, the epidemic is over. Any delay more is mere procrastination.
So, where is that British text?
- Where is the text, Boris?
- Got Brexit Done
- The next eleven months
- Where the Remainers were right
- The work begins: Get Brexit Done
- Boris unleashed
- Believe in the bin
- Trump: The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump
- Think Like a Champion by Donald Trump
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell
- All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class by Tim Shipman
- Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union by Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley
- Brexit: How the Nobodies Beat the Somebodies by Sebastian J. Handley
- Brexit and Ireland: The Dangers, the Opportunities, and the Inside Story of the Irish Response by Tom Connelly
- Beyond Brexit by Vernon Bogdanor
- From Partition to Brexit: The Irish Government and Northern Ireland by Donnacha O Beachain
- Brexit: Its Necessity and Challenge by Tony Kosuge
- Rising Tides: Facing the Challenges of a New Era by Liam Fox
- Black Rednecks & White Liberals by Thomas Sowell
- The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great by Ben Shapiro
- By Boris Johnson:
- By Thomas Hobbes: