After 43 years of membership, exiting the EU was never going to be easy. But the government’s current tone and approach is making a hard job even more difficult. There have been 165 days since the referendum result and there are only 118 left until the prime minister’s 31 March deadline to trigger article 50. The clock is ticking, but still we do not know the government’s basic plan for Brexit.
We do not have answers to fundamental questions such as the government’s position on the customs union, our likely relationship with the single market or future contributions to the EU budget. The government has also failed to provide much-needed certainty for the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK.
This matters, because uncertainty over the government’s plans – and the continuing likelihood that it favours a hard Brexit – is weakening our negotiating position and making it less likely that Britain will get the best possible Brexit deal, one that protects jobs, the economy and living standards.
You do not publish your goals as you start a negotiation. Only an idiot would believe that you do.
Imagine negotiating a widget contract by stating, at the beginning, what your end goals on price and volume were….
There’s also a reason it’s called a negotiation – because you end up, having taken int account their desires, in a different place from where you started.