That Brexit: it’s falling apart faster than I thought, what with the fishing fuck up and the closure i.e. suspension of one of the Nissan production lines. I was ruing my new blue passport when a friend told me he had seven years on his burgundy one and I said, we’d be back in by then. He thought not, but those of us for whom it’s life time project need to consider what our response is to what’s happening. The fact is that leaving is a disaster, here are my notes.

I wrote a blog on Article 49, frankly it was a piece of trolling but you have to start somewhere.

  1. The rocky road to Rejoin by Nick Hopkins .Very factual, looks at the long history of Britain’s first application to join, and suggests that the member state govt’s memories of the UK’s ‘cakeist’ behaviour during the divorce negotiations will need to be expunged before the unanimity required can be achieved. Basically we’ll have to want to join as good citizens. The author notes that there is a queue to join but that should Northern Ireland or Scotland wish to join separately from the UK, then this might be easier to achieve although Scotland might be veto’d by Spain as they don’t want to encourage Catalonia. Nick notes the fastest accession was Finland which took three years, but that others have taken much longer and Turkey has stalled.
  2. The critical clauses of the declaration on joining from the Copenhagen Council in 1993.
  3. Membership 2.0 what-the UK rejoining the EU would involve  by Anthony Salamone, he says  “The EU would also expect any application to be on the understanding that the UK would be a more normal member state. The UK’s major concessions during its first EU membership – the budget rebate, opt-outs on the euro and Schengen, special justice and home affairs arrangements – would not be on offer. ” and comments on the centripetal tendencies that Brexit will encourage, he concludes, “Once the UK experiences the Brexit era, with diminished influence and voice in the world, perhaps opinion in England and Wales will shift and people will look to regain some of what has been lost. Seeking to rejoin the EU would have to be the result from genuine reflection, not expedient self-interest. After the Brexit saga, the UK will owe that much to the EU – and to itself.”
  4. How do countries join the EU? by UK in a changing Europe, concise and fact orientated as is this from the Institute of Government. The latter talks of the article 2 commitments, democracy, the rule of law and human rights. They suggest that an applicant needs robust checks and balances on the government; we may all find that the EU thinks we need to do better as they consider data adequacy agreement and an application to rejoin might raise questions of unrestrained executive privilege, the House of Lords and amusingly, but not so likely, the principles of subsidiarity.
  5. Over the first half of ’23, I did some fact finding, and found this thread from Niall O Conglaighe who argues that the EU will demand that the UK joins the Euro; I can see why they would. He also argues that the UK courts are not independent.

From, The rocky road to Rejoin, a quote outlining the tests that will be applied and questioning the UK’s suitability in terms of its commitment to democracy and the rule of law, the author also raises the issue of the monopolistic control of our press, as do the Economist and I.

The broad criteria [to join] was best outlined by the 1993 Copenhagen Council: “Membership requires that the candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with pressure and market forces within the EU. Membership pre-supposes the candidate’s ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union”.

Unfortunately, as we diverge from the EU acquis, we less and less meet the criteria. Some observers regard us as a less trustworthy, if not ‘rogue’, state. To start negotiations, we shall have to provide assurances about democratic checks and balances in our political system.

The recent illegal proroguing of parliament, undermining of our civil service and even our independent judiciary do not stand us in good stead. Some suggest we need an elected House of Lords. The malign influence of much of our print media may be a concern.

This from the FT, Inside the Brexit deal: the agreement and the aftermath, 22nd Jan 2021, very comprehensive particularly on the UK negotiating position and how concentrating on fish because they thought it would be easy to compromise on both sides was a mistake, we also have this quote from a financier,

One senior City executive says: “The Conservative party is controlled by ideologues who were allowed to define what Brexit meant. It came to mean a purist view of sovereignty at the expense of the economy.” “We rank lower than fish and we know it,” says another leading bank executive. “It’s a fact of life.”

I returned to this article in July 23, and found an unfinished note, “centripetal UK, fUK”, because some may need to plan for the dissolution of the UK, with both Northern Ireland, and less likely Scotland, with or without the Orkneys, leaving the UK. NI’s route to the EU is obvious, and increasingly likely given the Windsor framework, Scotland’s route is less clear.

The EU is changing

In the winter of 23/24, the institutions began to think of treaty reform, partly because of enlargement, partly because of CoFoE and partly driven by the federalists. I made another two pages,

UK in a changing Europe has also recently looked at the rejoin route and I have found the following three pages,


I found some things during the 2024 General Election; Labour’s offer is not what I want, but here are some commentaries

  1. The colour of my [next] passport and Reading Labour’s tea leaves by me, the first written during the election, and the second a couple of weeks previously.
  2. In the first, I argue that, “The only way the UK will rejoin the European Union he’s when it’s ready to be a good citizen. It is clear that Labour’s leadership despite the opinion polls, have a view that better terms short of membership can be obtained.” I suggest that this is unlikely. The second looks at a couple of articles suggesting that Labour may need to pivot on aspects of their EU policy.
  3. City dreams of Labour win to deliver new Brexit deal from Politico, contrasting the City’s needs and suggesting that Labour’s divide and rule might get some traction within the member states.
  4. I understand. We understand. We understand the importance that Europe had in your lives and the sense of biting loss for many of you. by @nialoconghaile, his usual and not wrong shtick, “to rejoin is simple, do what the EU wants” and a second thread, this time on threadreaderapp, which says the same but is briefer. Actually I should be kinder, he writes persistently asking rejoiners to abandon exceptionalism and warning them of the response if they don’t no matter how clever or well researched their proposals.

NB The picture is mine and was taken in Switzerland, also not a member.

Dave Politics , , ,

4 Replies

  1. I added a link to Niall O Conghaile’s comments about the Euro and finished the note about the centripetal UK.

  2. I added some links to my blog and other’s comments on Brexit and the 2024 General Election; I focus on Labour’s manifesto and officials.

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