Steve Bullock+ Your Authors @GuitarMoog New Album, One Thousand Days, out now exclusively through @EUCitizensChamp (link below). 100% of proceeds fo to @the3million. Dec. 07, 2018 6 min read + Your Authors

Oh no, I've finally got round to reading this properly having seen others comment a bit on it.

Corbyn is largely right about May's deal, but his alternative plan is just total fantasy. A solid bar cast of purest Unobtainium.


First an aside on the backstop. Corbyn is entirely right that it can't be ended unilaterally, but I really don't know what people expected. There has to be a backstop for there to be a Withdrawal Agreement, as the future relationship will be negotiated after Brexit. 2/

Even if you are planning a future relationship that would mean an invisible border in Northern Ireand, there's no guarantee that there'll be an agreement. A backstop is for then, and if it can be unilaterally ended, it's not a Backstop. 3/

Fantasy 1: That anyone can negotiate a UK-EU Customs Union in which the UK has a say in EU trade deals.

What kind of say? Negotiating mandates for EU trade deals are agreed by Council. If the UK is a non-Member State, it will not be in Council discussing or voting. 4/

Completed trade deals are agreed by Council (no UK) and by the European Parliament (no UK), and, if mixed agreements, ratified by Member States' Parliaments (Not the UK's). 5/

So where, please, is this "British say"? In a Joint committee? They could discuss it, but autonomy of decision-making is the central Red-Line for the EU27, so they'd never agree to it having power over deals. 6/

There could be a "British Say" through consultation mechanisms, like for EEA countries on Single Market issues, but that is very weak. In fact, Corbyn (rightly in my view) dismisses this later in the article as being "without a say" 7/

So that's nonsense. UK can be in a Customs Union (probably a good idea), but it is not going get a "British say" in EU trade deals that means anything but a bit of light consultation. The EU will decide on its Trade Deals, not a non-Member State. 8/

Fantasy Number 2: A Customs Union deals with most of the problems a Backstop is designed to solve.


No it doesn't. It deals with some of them, as this slide shows. The things eliminated by a Customs Union are marked in red. To solve the problems a backstop needs to solve, you need, effectively, a Single Market for goods as well. 10/

A single market for goods is available for Northern Ireland, as a sui generis, special case, but it would need to be the full Single Market for all of the UK if Corbyn wanted to avoid "Different parts of the UK being subject to separate regulations. 11/

Fantasy Number 3: Frictionless trade is possible outside of the Single Market.
The plan is for "a new and strong relationship with the single market that gives us frictionless trade". This is not possible. 12/

The slide earlier shows why. Let's move on, as this fantasy is apparently shared with the PM, and we've all been explaining why this is nonsense for a year now.

Fantasy Number 5: The continuing impression that there's something on offer from EU27 that's identical to the Single Market, but outside it, and without State Aid or Freedom of Movement. 14/

I'm happy for anyone to tell me that this is not what he's saying in this paragraph, and that by "the freedom to rebuild our economy and expand our public service" he doesn't mean exception from EU State Aid Rules 15/

{as an aside, I seem to remember the 2017 Labour manifesto was checked thoroughly and would have been implementable with existing State Aid rules.)

Also happy to be told that Corbyn is not talking about ending Freedom of Movement when he says "while setting migration policies to meet the needs of the economy" 17/

If he's not though, what he is talking about is Single Market Membership. Frictionless Trade = Single Marke t= FoM and EU State Aid rules.

Except, he can;t be talking about the Single Market, because he dismisses Norway+ (which is Single Market + a Customs Union) as leaving the UK as "an afros-the-board rule-taker of EU Regulations. 19/

Fantasy Number 6: This can all be negotiated with the EU. EU27 will not accept a non-Member State having a say in it's trade deals. It will not give all the benefits of the Single Market but with carve outs for FoM or State Aid Rules. It has said repeatedly it won't do this. 20/

An agreement on the future relationship will not and was never going to be negotiated before the UK leaves the EU. That's not because of who the UK PM is, but because of Article 50 itself. It can only be done with a non-Member State.

So what Corbyn says he will get cannot be got, and, in parts, has been explicitly ruled out repeatedly by EU27. To negotiate it, a Withdrawal Agreement would still be needed, and it would still need a Backstop. 22/

The Withdrawal Agreement will not be reopened for renegotiation. EU27 have said that repeatedly. They are not lying, and this plan, impossible in some parts and already rejected in others, will not convince them to reopen it or the Political Declaration. 23/

What Labour is doing here is precisely what the Tory Govt has done throughout this process with the present disastrous results. They are ignoring the realities of what is possible, and what EU27's views and red lines are to sell Unicorns made of unobtainium. 24/

Labour should not support May's Deal. It's not very good. It's very obviously not in the interests of the UK and its people to trade what we have now as EU Members for it. 25/

But don't be like your political opponents in Govt and try to sell something to the people that cannot and is not going to happen. The Govt is reaping the deserved backlash for that now, and if you do the same, the same backlash will be at you eventually. 26/

There's no Jobs First, Single Market without FoM, Customs Union with control over the agreements of others, so good we don't need a Backstop Brexit.

There are only ones that cost jobs and prosperity, remove rights, dampen opportunities and harm the worst off most. 27/

The Future Relationship a Labour Government might negotiate in 2 or 4 or more years might be less bad than the one the Tories will negotiate. It will still be bad in comparison to what we have now.

Time for honesty. Choose to press on with what the Tories started to "respect the result", but be honest that it's going to cost everyone. Or choose to act to avert this harm, or at least give us a chance to, by seeing whether this is really what people still want. 28/

Respecting the Result has got us this far. To crisis, and an uncertain, scary future. Respect the people enough to ask them what they now want. The honestly won't forgive you if you don't. 29/29

P.S. Before it starts, and it will, please see the last 2 years of my timeline for endless criticism of the Tories on Brexit. This is not an anti-Labour or anti-Corbyn thread. It's an anti-impossible-to-achieve plans thread.

P.P.S. It's just so disappointing. Just be honest. The country is crying out for a leader to come clean. People can take it. They're not children who have to be protected from the truth in case it makes them cry. Many love JC for his integrity, and more would then understand why.

You can follow @GuitarMoog.


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