The deadline for the UK to request an extension to the Brexit transition period comes at the end of this month; should no request be made, and if no trade agreement is in place with the EU, then the UK will leave at the end of December 2020 with No Deal. It is, as Cloughie might have put it, as simple as that, young man.were unprecedented; they are given here in full.
“In all areas of negotiation, the UK continues to backtrack on the commitments it has undertaken in the Political Declaration, including on fisheries, where we committed to use our best endeavours to conclude and ratify a new agreement by the first of July 2020. It seems clear that we will not reach the target, considering how the negotiations in this area are going for the moment”. Doesn’t sound good. And it got worse.
“Even … in the rare areas where we saw some movement this week, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, we still fall short of what we had agreed in the Political Declaration. And, finally, as a reminder, the UK since the beginning does not want to talk about our cooperation on foreign policy, development and defence at all”.
There was more. “Even though we agreed this, with Boris Johnson, in the Political Declaration. And to tell the truth on this point - defence and foreign policy - also as a former foreign affairs minister in my own country, I still don’t understand why. We cannot, and we will not, accept this backtracking on the Political Declaration, and at the same time, we will request the full respect of the Withdrawal Agreement”.
But that misses the point by some distance, so let me spell it out for those still having difficulty understanding why this is a problem. Our alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson signed on to a series of promises in the Political Declaration. Now, it seems, the UK side is saying, more or less, “yeah, we promised that last year, but now we want something else, cos we’re allowed, innit?” In other words, we’ve reneged on the deal.
And if the UK can’t be trusted to stick to the commitments it already gave the EU and its negotiators, who is going to trust the UK to stick to any other agreement? Will the Japanese want to spend any time on a trade negotiation if they can’t trust us to keep our promises? The USA? China? Australia and New Zealand? Anywhere in the Middle or Far East? Russia? Canada? Mexico? Anywhere in South America?
While the rest of the world looks on, the UK behaves like a petulant child as it plays fast and loose with the livelihoods of millions of its citizens. The right-wing press and its hangers-on will lap it up, celebrating the event with more jingoistic front pages.
Meanwhile, job losses continue to mount. One day, the penny will drop. But not just yet.