On 24th June 2016 the Government in several stages of chaos began the process albeit chaotically of preparing for Brexit. Over the 14 months on many occasions the Government has consistently denied a willingness to explain where it intends to take the nation which did little more than fire a starting pistol on a journey that was presented to it as a series of lies, deceits and exaggerations. The standard line adopted by the Government was that disclosing the planned objective to the nation to whom they are accountable would lead to showing their poker cards to the other players. That it was better to keep all 65M of us in ignorance, than allow the other 27 nations to understand what ‘we’ wanted from the relationship with the EU after our departure. Finally today in the Times Newspaper David Davis has written conceding defeat and performed a partial U turn. Writing with a particular focus on the need to find a settlement that would ensure that the Irish peace process is kept safe he writes “There is real value in discussing a few issues upfront. Doing so should allow us to give businesses and citizens the certainty they need.”
I believe David should be applauded for this common sense response, albeit over a year after he began the process of planning for our departure and after he has refused to be open on many occasions. The real question is how will these discussions take place and will they be real discussions that allow ordinary people to express their opinions, or will they be announcements made by a few politicians who then scurry back into secure rooms with blacked out windows and sound proofed walls?
Mr Davis has also admitted that we won’t leave without making a payment or two “We also need to look past our separation when examining the question of a financial settlement. There are financial obligations on both sides that will not be made void by our exit from the EU. We are working to determine what these are — and interrogating the basis for the EU’s position, line by line, as taxpayers would expect us to do.”
So all those people who have been promising us an exit that will not cost us anything need to have a word with David and either apologise or ask him to re-write his article.
And on the matter of which agency determines the outcome of any disputes that arise after our departure “Our position has always been clear: in leaving the EU, we will bring about an end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union. However, it is vital that there are clear mechanisms to manage any disputes between the UK and the EU over the interpretation of the agreements we strike, including on trade and citizens’ rights. While we believe this will likely require a new and unique solution, our paper will examine a number of precedents. There is a common theme with all these examples — none of them involves the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice outside the EU. So, we’re not being dogmatic in our approach but building on existing precedents to find a solution. Ultimately, the key question here is how we fairly consider and solve disputes for both sides.”
Its hard to imagine how much it will cost to establish a mediator that will be rarely needed one hopes, but which do more or less what the ECJ does. The truth is that the EU will not be willing to pay for the creation of such a body and may even charge us for their involvement in it. If this is not be dogmatic and naive, it is hard to imagine what dogma really looks like.