A Canada plus free trade agreement with the EU has much to recommend it, provided certain crucially important red lines are not crossed in negotiating it.
These red lines are: firstly, that in its proposed operation the agreement does not entail any cession of jurisdiction over interpretation and arbitration to the European Court of Injustice, EFTA court or other supranational body, the WTO being the only possible exception; secondly, that services such as banking and insurance are included as an integral part of the deal, in addition to agricultural produce and manufactured goods; thirdly, that access to UK fishing grounds is reserved exclusively to UK fishermen and is expressly excluded from the deal; fourthly, the issue of the Northern Ireland land border is to be resolved through trade taking place digitally for large companies and exemptions for small ones, with all necessary customs and immigration checks taking place away from the border and positively no ‘backstop’ of any kind; and lastly, no restrictions whatsoever are to be placed upon either public services, such as the NHS, which are specifically to be excluded from the deal, or state aid to industry and agriculture.
If the EU is happy to satisfy the UK’s concerns about these red lines, to respect them and not to cross them, then a deal may be possible. If not, then the UK will have used the time spent on exploring the possibility of such a deal with the EU in order to conclude free trade agreements with other trading partners, such as the United States, which will be timed to come into effect at the conclusion of the mutually agreed extension to Article fifty. Needless to say, the UK’s red lines with respect to a free trade deal with the EU will apply equally to our negotiations with the US and other prospective trade partners.
Trading with the rest of the world in accordance with WTO rules, which a truly independent and sovereign United Kingdom will be well placed to help shape to our further economic advantage, is a desideratum rather than something to be feared. As a nation, we are in the enviable position, did the political pygmies in parliament but know it, of facing, not a binary choice between bilateral free trade arrangements and trading by WTO rules but a veritable smorgasbord of global trading opportunities.
Revocation of Article fifty is, of course, out of the question and would precipitate a constitutional crisis of parliament against the people, which parliament would be well advised to avoid.
For the same reason, a further referendum on the EU before the result of the 2016 one has been implemented would be the negation of democracy and is consequently ruled out.
Treason May’s abominable surrender treaty is not Brexit but Brino and would purport to make the UK a rule-taking vassal state of EU serfs in perpetuity. For example, through the operation of its Protocol (ie backstop) it would effectively lock the UK into a permanent customs union with the EU, preventing us from pursuing an independent trade policy with the rest of the world. It borders on the surreal. If it were ever to be approved by parliament it would be repudiated on day one of a future patriotic government, any advice by international lawyers to the contrary notwithstanding.
Other, half-in, half-out propositions, as well as continued membership of the single market and/or the (or a new) customs union, fail to respect the result of the 2016 referendum and are for that reason unacceptable.
No relationship with the EU that fails to restore and guarantee to the British people full and unfettered control of our parliament, laws, borders, fisheries, money and trade is acceptable. The EU’s four enslavements, which in their newspeak they style ‘freedoms’, are denounced and rejected as the unwarrantable infringements of national sovereignty they are.
In the absence of a long extension of Article fifty an exit on WTO terms as the legal default, indicative votes in parliament notwithstanding, is looking more likely by the day. All that is lacking for the moment is the national leadership to embrace the prospect and make it the resounding success it will without a doubt become.