A very clear and well thought out analysis of how events have taken shape since the 2016 referendum.
The Brexit dream is dying because that is the stark choice. You can’t have full freedom and close trade ties, but one or the other. It is dying because the EU currently looks more likely to hold together than the UK, because the Prime Minister’s promise of frictionless trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland can’t be squared with the treaty he signed, and because you cannot reach a trade deal with the US if you threaten a bipartisan consensus on the NI peace process.
This has been where the Brexit politicians have fallen down. The phrase "Cake and eat it" has never been far away from their charade of a promised land where Britain can simply wave the union flag and the world will drop to its knees and bow its head. The world just doesn't work like that any more. The only way to be a part of the world is to play by the rules of the world. There is no place for a maverick country such as the one that Brexit wants Britain to be, and is chasing a dream (or nightmare according to point of view) that is just unattainable.
Yet point out, as I did on social media, that the dream is dying, and you can expect to hear otherwise from the high priests of Brexit. They’ll say the UK regains freedom at the end of the year, and indeed we will no longer be directly subject to EU regulations and European Court of Justice rulings. But if we want agreements with others, that freedom can only ever be partial, because cooperation comes at a regulatory price. The UK faces a series of never-ending trade-offs, despite the 2016 promise that we would “take back control.”
Again, it's "cake and eat it". To hear Brexiters talking about "All we're asking for is a deal like Canada has" is the talk of a forked-tongue because that is not what Britain wants. Canada has responsibilities and doesn't get all that Brexit demands. Britain wants to give nothing at all but take everything it can get and more besides (hence Canada+). Do they really think the EU is so stupid as to be unable to see the duplicity in British negotiations..? Or that they can trust Boris Johnson with his track record for lying, breaking promises and dirty double dealing...? And again, I can't re-iterate the point enough: Britain wants to have everything without giving anything in return. That is just not realistic.
Doubtless the online response would be even more vitriolic if one was to suggest the Brexit dream was dying because of Leavers’ own hubris. But if we think back to the naïve pre-referendum days, many Brexit advocates appeared perfectly happy to accept gradual changes and continued UK membership of the single market. They will state now that it was the EU’s intransigence that forced their increasingly hardline position, but that’s to cover up the failure to anticipate that Brussels would have its own terms and conditions—that we couldn’t just have what we wanted.
And then the article moves on to compare Britain's (non) diplomatic efforts with that of Ireland's. The Irish have played a blinder. In USA they have got both Republicans and Democrats on their side. Britain has the support of neither. The Irish have managed to juggle trying to keep on good terms with Britain while at the same time reassuring EU member states that they remain committed to the European ideal. This is how diplomacy is meant to work. Britain's performance by comparison has been a multi train rail disaster.
The whole article, taken in its entirety is a cogent, well thought out, accurate piece of writing which, if only the Brexiters could look past their own hubris, would begin to open their eyes to the mess they have made of the whole thing, and why the Brexit dream as they envisaged it, is as good as dead in the water. It cannot be attained.
Where Britain goes after 1 January 2021 is anybody's guess. Downwards is certain. The only question is "How far...?"
The dream is dying even if the dreamers haven't realised it yet.