So, we’ve heard Theresa May’s explanation of what exactly brexit means. It’s a total Brexit, hard Brexit, clean Brexit.
In the summer we were asked..
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
Remain 48% Leave 52% across the UK.
So, leaving the European Union means what?
An end to the ‘Single Market’ across Europe and the four freedoms of movement that go with it. Goods, Services, Capital and People.
The free movement of goods involves a Customs Union and a Free Trade Area across the EU states.
Services can be provided across EU states by establishing a company in one state.
In financial services, operating in one EU member state gives a ‘Passport’ to operating in other states.
Free movement of Capital means individuals and businesses can invest across the EU if they choose to.
For goods, services and capital common standards to harmonise each countries existing laws or technical standards are required.
Freedom of movement for people across the EU means an initial period of three months unconditional residency in another country and if they are then employed, self employed or are studying then they can stay in that country.
If the person lives there without incident for 5 years then they are eligible for citizenship of the country they now live and work in.
The freedom of movement isn’t unrestricted and is subject to details of the Free Movement Directive. You have to prove you’re self sufficient in the country that you move to.
Then to make it fair across the EU, there are Competition and Consumer laws to make the Single Market fair and to protect consumers.
So.. after all that explanation, is that what ‘the majority’ of people in the UK voted for?
Probably the biggest issue was freedom of movement of people.
Politicians have talked of access to the single market without reference to all the four freedoms or the freedom of movement.
Politicians have talked of access to the customs union alone or the free trade area alone.
That’s been repeatedly blocked by EU politicians and leaders of EU states.
It has led Theresa May to make her statement that the UK will be outside the EU.
The EU has relationships with non members such as Switzerland and the EFTA states including Norway and Iceland.
But, what relationship or agreement will the UK have with the EU? May made statements on funding and laws and a great repeal act.
Now not every EU piece of legislation needs repealing. Why remove laws on toys being safe or cars operating safely or for foods to be made safely?
It’s a lot of things that regulate quietly and day after day work for us.
Potentially a huge treaty is required to continue trading to the Customs Union and Single Market.
A great deal of negotiation lies after Article 50 is served.
Scotland voted to remain in the EU as did Northern Ireland.
The detailed options provided by the Scottish Government have largely been ignored by May and her Government.
Northern Ireland’s parliament has been brought down following a financial scandal, but the importance of the current Soft Border with the Irish Republic can’t be ignored.
A removal from a Customs and Trade union has more difficulties with a land border and whilst the UK and Ireland currently have a common travel area. Other arrangements will be necessary.
For me, it’s clear from Mays statement and her Prime Minister’s Questions afterward that there’s no further prospect that Scotland’s viewpoint will be listened to, or that any amount of questions in that parliament or speeches will make a difference.
If Article 50 is served in April and two years formal notice to quit runs from there with the SNP MP’s effectively sidelined at Westminster whilst the UK transitions toward the full brexit, then that takes us very close to the next Westminster election due under the fixed 5 year terms.
If an independence referendum isn’t called within that period, then much momentum is lost.
I wonder if the feeling and sentiment from losing the EU will be capitalised upon. It seems crazy not to.