Most of the Tories are happy they found a semi-workable version of the deal. They pay a big divorce bill to the EU, have a long transition period, opt for “regulatory standardization with the EU” for the whole UK, as enforced by the need to avoid a hard border in Ireland, and over the longer term end up with a customs union and free trade agreement of Norway-like nature.
In other words, they pay a lot of money, lose a seat at the table, and don’t significantly increase the policy autonomy of the country. In the subsequent bargaining over the details, the EU still holds most of the cards. Here are a few observations:
1. This represents an almost complete “fold” of the pro-Brexit stance, though like so many other political issues of the Anglo-American day it has become more about exerting one’s will over the opposition than achieving a very particular exit path or even outcome. One group in British society has won quite a major victory in symbolic terms, namely it has been shown that the country has agreed to leave.
2. At this point, the chance of Brexit being reversed in the short term is very slim. The anti-Brexit forces know that if this deal falls apart, they could end up with something much worse. That said, the chances of a medium-term reversal may be higher. Come the next election, it will still feel as if the UK is in the EU. The transition period could be extended, and then extended again. And then…
3. With the current deal, assuming it sticks, the chance of the UK itself unraveling is small.
4. The remaining pro-Brexit case is simply that the UK has limited its entanglement with the EU legal system and a possible future of full federal union. That’s worth something, but still I am pro-Remain.
5. Real estate in Northern Ireland remains significantly undervalued.
6. the EU really has shown it has a fairly strong and indivisible commitment to the “Four Freedoms,” on migration much more than I would have expected. You can debate whether this makes the rest of the union more or less stable over the longer term, but for sure it does one of those two things.