Brexit is done – drop the term

Politicians and the press are still using the term ‘Brexit’. Brexit referred to the process of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union; that has now happened, and the UK is no longer a member. It’s done. The UK has left. Brexit per se is over; it is as the Norwegian Blue. There is no reason for anybody to use the term, as it is irrelevant.

The process now taking place is a transition under the framework of the Withdrawal Agreement and the non-binding Political Declaration. So why is the ‘Brexit’ term so widely used by not only the Westminster cohort, but the representatives of the EU, and in particular M. Barnier ?

Grumpy takes the view that there are two basic reasons for this persistence, The first is the obvious one of conflating the current process with the divisions and traumas of the Brexit tussle; it helps to make it easier for those that wish for the outcome to be a closer relationship than is now likely, to build opposition. Secondly, although more speculative as an assessment, there are those who still harbour that alternative outcome wish, and search for a mechanism to reverse what they perceive as the ‘no deal’ process being followed by BoJo. This is harder to do if it accepted that the process is over and the debate terminated. Casting it as a continuation of the Brexit battle might foster rebellion to whatever is brought back as an agreement.

This slightly delusional attitude is shown in a much more unadulterated form in M Barnier. In week 2 May, he complained that ” The UK did not wish to commit seriously on a number of fundamental points” and that “failed to engage substantially” in the negotiations. What he actually means is that the UK has refused to roll over and accede to their demands.

In the Brexit negotiations, the EU sought, and succeeded, because of the weakness and complicity of the then negotiators, to set the agenda – the enemy of a balanced negotiation. Now the UK is an independent state, the EU is still seeking to do the same, and it is hoped that this rather arrogant ploy is rejected comprehensively. The approach of the UK shouldn’t be a surprise to Barnier; he merely has to read May’s Mansion House speech, although they were under her leadership hollow words.

No more. The EU has no leverage to dictate to the UK, and the current process should be what it always should have been before – a negotiation, not a capitulation, and a recognition of the UK’s not negotiable principles, just as they demand a recognition of theirs.

C