No Deal or Which Deal

With No Deal effectively off the table, the choice lies between two special deals that remain on offer to the UK by the rest of the EU. One is the May Deal with all its uncertainty about our long term relationship with the EU,  the surrender of our right to shape the future of the EU, despite being bound into it, and the loss in due course of our freedoms to live, work, trade and set up business across Europe. The other is the special deal negotiated by successive UK governments, including those of Thatcher and Major, under which, subject to opt outs, we would, as now, get full economic and social rights across the whole of the EU, including the benefit trade deals with third countries and a major say in the governance and future shaping of the Union to meet our needs, and yet would be free from the Monetary Union represented by the Euro, the Schengen Agreement on open borders, the Security and Justice legislation (where we may pick and choose as we like), the commitment to “ever closer union” and the full effect of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

To characterise choosing between these two special deals as being simply a question of being ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the EU is not just simplistic and inaccurate, it is close to mendacious when the real question is which special deal is to be preferred. Perhaps it is the close to ‘No Brainer’ answer to that question that has led Brexitiers to misframe the issue as one of ‘in’ or ‘out’. But quite why those who want the other special deal have allowed the discussions to be framed so misleadingly is far from clear though perhaps they took their tone from Cameron and his simplistic offer of an “In-out EU referendum” to keep Ukip at bay.

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