Enjoyable piece from Gerald Warner
It is time to stop using the misleading term “Brexit negotiations”. Britain’s exit from the European Union is not subject to negotiation: it has been determined by the British people, the sole legitimate authority on this issue. One negotiates to enter an institution, not to leave it. We are simply checking out of the EU hotel; we paid our bill long ago and we are free to leave. We are merely saying a courteous farewell.
The weasel term “negotiations” – too uncritically accepted by Leavers – suggests we can only leave the EU by gracious permission of the Brussels apparatchiks, that they will decide whether a partial break with the EU is permitted and how many laws, regulations and even payments into the EU budget will still be imposed on Britain. Unhappily, many British civil servants who will be involved in the “negotiations” share this absurd mindset.
The mentality of these people, marinated in the habit of deference to the EU, is that Britain is an offender petitioning the parole board for early release. The Government’s pretence that Article 50 cannot be triggered until next year typifies this delusion. Why should hundreds of British officials toil unnecessarily to prepare for complex and protracted “negotiations” with an entity we are abandoning to its increasingly ominous fate?
When EU apparatchiks place voluminous documents for “negotiation” on the table, they should simply be swept onto the floor as irrelevant. Since voting for Brexit, the United Kingdom is no longer subject to one sentence or comma of the monumental acquis communautaire. British “negotiators” are only creating imaginary obstacles to our departure. Trade agreements – the only area in which the term “negotiation” is relevant – can be conducted separately from the brief formalities of departure and concluded after finalisation of Brexit, on Britain’s terms as much as the EU’s.