What is up with the new Brexit deal?

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.

Here is a good piece on the Irish border issues.


"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" - with that sentence, Tyler winz the interwebs for today

But then again, maybe not.

The Swamp in Brussels won. The British citizens lost. The socialist politicians won and the punishment of the citizens will continue until morale improves.

Or, one could say that the British Establishment is discovering that the privileges and benefits of being a non-member of the EU just aren't all that enticing.

The British Establishment was always solidly, almost unanimously, anti-Brexit. So. like the Bourbons, they have discovered nothing; unlike them, however, they have forgotten many things.

I am not so sure. Yes, the British Government has paid more and conceded more than it needed to but the EU is like one of those shark which must always keep moving forward to stay alive. "Ever closer" is not just a slogan, it is a necessary condition for the EU's survival.

I think Tyler makes two mistakes here. First, although an open Irish border does imply, and may even require, some degree of "regulatory standardization" it will be difficult for the EU to continue to use "regulatory standardization" as a rationale when attempting to exercise their traditional authority over the curvature of bananas. It is the absurd, arbitrary and unappealable nature of EU regulations (typically over relatively unimportant things) which gives the EU bureaucracy its near feudal power. The EU grinds liberty to dust with small things. Absurd regulations concerning large things would be noticed and provoke objections.

Second, Tyler fails to give any consideration to the psychological effects of brexit. Identity is the most powerful force in politics. Once the British get used to the idea that they may, once again, be allowed to purchase toasters which are actually able to toast bread, they may begin to consider themselves "a nation once again." There is a border between the Irish Republic and the United Kingdom because something happened one Easter and a "terrible beauty [was] born" says the Poet (or, at least, a poet). That's how these things happen (so I understand).

More precisely, a vocal minority of British Citizens' spasm seems to have not caused a catastrophe, and instead, a muddling, worse than status-quo but not terrible outcome is being built out of a really weird situation.

But hey, I get it. I think the secret plan was that England becomes a new tax haven about the time the US economy is crashed, so that a fresh mixer is available to move assets out. It is important to restrict the proles' freedom of movement and work so they stay properly dependent and docile. Keep working on inciting race strife - you'll get there.

This is a very short-term perspective, and makes a large error comparing EU payments against zero instead of against remaining. If the root of the pro-Brexit stance is long term control of immigration, this deal is a near-complete validation of Brexiting, especially by accomplishing that without spoiling free trade.

'this deal is a near-complete validation of Brexiting'

Not when the reality that the only way to access the common market involves free movement of EU citizens. As seen in the case of Switzerland. - 'The EU approved a new Swiss law on Thursday (22 December) that will allow EU citizens to work in Switzerland, opening the way to solve a two-year crisis.

An EU-Swiss joint committee, where all 28 EU states are represented, said that the law passed last Friday in the Swiss parliament would limit the effect of a 2014 referendum to introduce immigration quotas into the Swiss constitution.

One of the consequences of the referendum would have been to limit the free movement of EU workers to Switzerland, a member of the passport-free Schengen area.

In retaliation, the European Commission suspended Switzerland's participation in the EU research and student programmes, Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.

Since the referendum, Brussels and Bern have been discussing to find how legislation to implement the constitutional amendment could respect both the outcome of the popular vote and EU free movement rules.

Last Friday, the Swiss parliament adopted a bill that gives priority to Swiss-based job seekers - Swiss nationals and foreigners registered in Swiss job agencies - but which avoids quotas on EU citizens.' https://euobserver.com/justice/136398

So what you are saying is that the swiss got their wish anyway...

At limiting EU immigrants? Nope, they did not get that. The only concession the EU made was that the Swiss are allowed to have laws on their books saying that a Swiss employer must favor Swiss citizens. The proposal to implement quotas has been swept away, and EU citizens are as free to reside and work in Switzerland in 2017 as they were in 2013. That it might be slightly harder for an EU citizen to find a Swiss employer today is a fairly minor point, compared to Switzerland controlling the free movement of EU citizens by implementing quotas.

As for the Swiss voters that demanded quotas in terms of EU residents? They most certainly did not get their way.

4. "possible future of full federal union". Every sign points towards federalisation. Not if, but when.

6. not sure I agree with this.

The EU conveniently forgets the four freedoms when it is politic to do so. Witness the moratorium on free movement when 10 new countries joined in 2004. Only 3 members maintained free movement (Ireland, Sweden, UK), while all the rest put in place 'temporary' restrictions.


I'd also like to see anyone try and sell services into Germany and tell me how easy it is.

'while all the rest put in place ‘temporary’ restrictions'

Why put temporary in quotes - those restrictions were temporary, and no longer exist. As noted here - 'Since 2011, there is complete freedom of movement for the 10 member states that joined in 2004.' You forgot to mention Bulgaria and Romania, who citizens have had full freedom of movement within the EU since 2014, and Croatia, whose citizens will have free movement by 2020. http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/moving_abroad/freedom_of_movement_within_the_eu/freedom_of_movement_in_the_eu.html

Basically, it seems as if a new EU member will be subject to a reasonable waiting period (7 years, more or less) before EU free movement is fully implemented. Seems temporary, based on the experience of 13 new EU members, and not 'temporary.'

sorry for the quotes around temporary, should not have used them. Seven years is still a long time period of time and arbitrary in that it was decided in 2004 to institute the moratorium, and then rescind it in 2011. Where was this written in the EU / EEC code? Where did the seven year time period come from?

Romania and Bulgaria in 2014 merely strengthen my wider argument, that the EU will change the rules as it sees fit. The Four Freedoms are supposedly sacrosanct but when reality hits they are found to be maleable.

No problem with the quotes, as that style would generally mean that temporary is not true.

I have no idea why an adjustment period would seem to contradict the idea of freedom of movement, particularly as those restrictions only applied to working. Studying and residency (which without work might seem more than a bit empty) were available upon admittance to the EU. But if for some reason a Polish person wanted to move to Frankfurt (Oder) in 2004, while still working in Poland, that would have been completely legal - if extremely unlikely, of course.

Three comments:

1) The hard-brexiters imagine that the trade deal is a Norwary-followed-by-Canada. A Canada style FTA is not the best outcome, or the outcome that they envisioned during the referendum campaign, but the only realistic outcome that does not cross the "red lines". It will be a catastrophe for the British economy, particularly in services. But also in terms of just-in-time supply chains, regulations of pharmaceuticals, food and chemicals.

2) Even if the Norway-type of agreement gets extended indefinitely, there has been a fundamental change in British society since the beginning of the referendum campaign, and strengthened by the referendum outcome, and the ensuing debate. One of the factors driving the referendum was the perception that British society is being "overrun" ("invaded") by foreigners that are fundamentally altering the nation state. That had to be stopped. The EU freedom-of-movement means that not only you have workers from the EU (high wage and low wage) but also whoever the EU decides to allow in and eventually become EU citizens (think Germany 2015 and the refugee crisis). I don't think that the refugee crisis and the referendum happening in the same year being a coincidence (I don't have a proof, or a cite). By voting to leave the EU, the country has awaken a common sense of nationality that has in turn encouraged latent xenophobic attitudes. Since the referendum, migration from the EU to the UK has decreased, in part because of the long-term uncertainty regarding the residence rights, in part because the country has become less welcoming to foreigners. Even if the country remains with a Norway-type of agreement with freedom of movement of people, many potential migrants would decide against moving to a country that has become more hostile. The marginal migrant, if you want to call it like that. So perhaps a Norway-type of deal mixed with garden variety xenophobia is the solution to have the cake and eat it too.

3) It will remain a question for future scholars why part of the UK population thinks that there is substantial loss of sovereignty by allowing the ECJ have jurisdiction over English (Welsh, Scottish, N.Irish) courts, while other countries (e.g. France, Italy, Germany) don't. How often do we read in a French or Spanish newspaper that their sovereignty is under attack because of the ECJ.

'The marginal migrant, if you want to call it like that.'

Like nurses and other medical professionals? 'The number of nurses from the EU registering to work in the UK has dropped by 96% less than a year after the Brexit vote, official figures show.

Last July, 1,304 EU nurses came to work in the UK; this fell to just 46 in April, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) statistics show.

The Health Foundation, which obtained the figures via a freedom of information request, said there was a shortage of 30,000 nurses in England alone, adding that the NHS could not afford such a drop.' https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/12/96-drop-in-eu-nurses-registering-to-work-in-britain-since-brexit-vote

You do know they represent like 5% of the staff?

Yes, I do, as the article notes - 'According to the Royal College of Nurses (RCN), there were 656,219 nurses on the NMC register at the end of March, of whom 5.5% (36,615) were from the EU or European Economic Area (EEA).'

Followed immediately by this paragraph - 'In recent years, NHS trusts have repeatedly turned to international recruitment to plug staffing gaps. But the RCN says the government’s refusal to guarantee the status of EU nationals living in the UK is exacerbating shortages.'

I guess me suggesting my sister doesn't consider nursing is also, in its own little way, "exacerbating shortages". what an odd way to observe the world..

The shortage is of 30,000 nurses in England, according to the article.

But maybe your sister could do this instead of relying on EU nationals, as also noted in the article - 'In March, NHS England announced it was launching a nursing training programme to help plug the gap created by the record number of Europeans leaving the health service since the EU referendum. The programme will increase the number of newly qualified nurses by up to 2,200 a year in 2019, when the UK is due to leave the EU.'

The fall in EU nurses coming to the UK is far more likely to be because of the new & difficult language test : "Employers have expressed growing concerns that the International English Language Testing System exam – the only test currently used by the Nursing and Midwifery Council – is too difficult to pass, which is causing recruitment problems."


Proof of whether the difficulty of the test was the reason for the drop in numbers will be if the number of EU nurses increases after the revised test has been introduced.

If the UK electorate wanted Canada’s trade relations with the EU (or for that matter Canada’s trade relations with the US) they would be negotiating federalization into Canada.

"Since the referendum, migration from the EU to the UK has decreased, in part because of the long-term uncertainty regarding the residence rights, in part because the country has become less welcoming to foreigners."

There is still net migration into the UK from the EU. Sure, there has been a drop, perhaps caused by Brexit or perhaps caused by economies doing better in the rest of the EU. But even though net migration is now only at the level of 2013 or so, there has been an 8% increase in the number of EU citizens living in the UK.

"Around 3.7 million people living in the UK are citizens of another EU country, a record number. That’s about 6% of the UK population, and is according to the latest figures covering the 12 months up to June 2017—the year following the EU referendum.

That compares to 3.4 million in the year before the referendum. So overall, the other EU citizen population in the UK has gone up by an estimated 275,000 since the Brexit vote, an increase of 8%."


It's too early to know, given the negotiations that remain, but this episode and the one in the U.S. might offer chances to study the economic effects of a sudden reduction in migration, and whether or not the conventional economic wisdom that migration is a net positive holds.

'and over the longer term end up with a customs union and free trade agreement of Norway-like nature' - Which will undoubtedly come with the sort of free movement that the EU demands in exchange for access to the common market. Just like Norway - 'However, in fact, Norway and Switzerland have far higher levels of EU immigration than the UK as a proportion of their populations. These countries do operate under slightly different legal arrangements to the UK when it comes to EU migration. In practice, though, they are fully integrated into the EU’s free movement rules, and the EU has repeatedly made it clear that free movement of people is the price that must be paid for access to the single market.' https://openeurope.org.uk/intelligence/immigration-and-justice/norway-and-switzerland/

'The transition period could be extended, and then extended again.' - Only if the EU agrees, and at this point, the EU has no interest in doing that - as repeatedly stated by the EU. The Little Englanders, on the other hand, think that they are still holding all the cards on this, because obviously the EU is just bluffing, like always.

'With the current deal, assuming it sticks, the chance of the UK itself unraveling is small.' - The DUP will be happy to hear that reassurance. Sinn Fein, not so much. And if Northern Ireland gets a special deal, the current Scottish government has indicated it expects the same consideration. Whether a nation having several different sets of regulations for its internal economy can be considered unravelling is an interesting question. Unless, of course, Little England remains subject to all the EU common market conditions they seemed to have voted to reject.

'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.' - Even though anyone with the tiniest actual knowledge of the EU that was not derived from English language press would have known that before Brexit.

'but for sure it does one of those two things' - Amazingly spot on satire of fatuous commentary. That was meant satirically, right?

Tyler makes a good point that the Brexiteers probably see themselves as having won an important symbolic victory, but I really don't see how that works out in practice. The slogan that won the referendum was "Take back control" and this does exactly the opposite: the UK will still have to pay towards the EU budget, obey EU rules and regulations and accept being part of the common market etc., including not having control over migration. Essentially, the UK is just managing to negotiate away its part of the EU decision-making process in return for being able to say that it is "No longer in the EU". At a certain point the Leaver's are going to have to realize that this deal amounts to giving away one's right to representation in return for the privilege of being able to continue contributing to taxation.

I mean, what would your thoughts be if, say, New York state managed to negotiate an "independence" deal from the rest of the Union which required them to continue paying for the federal government, obeying federal regulations and trading according to terms set in Washington, in return for no longer choosing representatives at the federal level?

The British media in general have treated this total capitulation to EU demands as a "victory" for May. At some point the vast gulf between what the British have said they've achieved and what they've actually achieved is going to enter the public discourse, and I worry that it's not going to be pretty.

As if remainers are any more honest...

Who cares? The faster the UK leaves, the better for the EU.

Might be time to add the disclaimer that was required in the past - I am completely pro-Brexit, feel that the UK has voted to enjoy all the privileges and benefits of being a non-EU member, and that the UK should continue remain outside of the EU, as the majority of voters in the UK desired. The fact that this will likely cause major problems for the City, while diminishing its ability to influence EU politics, is just an added bonus.

(What is funny is how the British think Brexit is a big deal in Europe - a British citizen I know who has been living in Germany for a decade was in the UK a couple of weeks ago, and she was not really able to get across to anyone there, leave or remain, at how Brexit is really not much of a topic in Germany, and how basically no one in Germany cares that much about what is already considered a done deal here - the UK has left the EU in German eyes, basically. There is a sort of bewildered bemusement at how utterly incompetently the British are handling Brexit, though that is the UK's problem, and not Germany's/the EU's. She found the British attitude 'arrogant,' though I would likely use the word delusional, myself.)

Germany is acting exactly like a blindsided divorcée. Gathering together with her friends, crying into her schnapps that Brittain never deserved her, he's going to find life so very hard without her, she's better off without him anyway. And look! She never even thinks about him at all the days.

Besides, she's heard he secretly wants her back.


Basically, ever since the Brexit vote, the German government has been (im)patiently waiting for the British to get their act together and leave. The Brexiters fantasies that the German car industry would be on their side, for example, has now been shown to be just that - fantasy.

And I talk about a British citizen's observations of what life is like in Germany in terms of Brexit compared to how people she talked to in the UK thought about it, and we get comments about Germany?

We should offer Britain a deal.

How can anyone look at the way the EU is demanding Hungary and Poland share in the horror of Muslim terrorism and think, yes, that's an organization I want to belong to.

Even worse, the EU seemingly demands an independent judiciary. Which, let us be honest, is a lot more threatening to Poland's ruling party than any number of terrorists - 'Poland’s ruling party resumed work on an overhaul of the nation’s judiciary that’s triggered an unprecedented threat of sanctions by the European Union and protests from groups who say the government is sliding toward authoritarianism.

Parliament started the debate Wednesday on a package of laws aimed at forcing Supreme Court judges from their benches and giving politicians more sway over judiciary appointments. The push follows a four-month break by the ruling Law & Justice party in which it regrouped after the president vetoed an earlier version amid outcry from EU officials and nationwide demonstrations. The Polish zloty advanced for a fourth day, gaining 0.2 percent to 4.2117 against the euro at 7 p.m. in Warsaw.

“The situation is absolutely critical -- this government will be able to govern forever if these drafts become laws,” Warsaw University law professor Marcin Matczak said Tuesday. "With other nominees of the executive already in control of the Constitutional Court, they will be able to do whatever they want."' https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-21/poland-resumes-work-on-judicial-overhaul-at-center-of-eu-dispute

The Kaczynski program seems to be to want to return to PRL style single party control and corruption, but this time devout Catholics will run things instead of cynical Communists. The right wing in the US likes to believe that support from Orban and Kaczynski stems from their anti-Muslim stance, but that doesn't make a lot of sense. There is not much appetite for immigration even among opposition parties, for one thing. The plain truth is that neither country is particularly attractive to Muslim immigrants - they want the benefits of the German or Swedish welfare state, not working for EUR 450 a month doing a menial job in a gray industrial city in Poland. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have so far done just fine keeping immigrants out without needing to embrace authoritarian centralization, attacking independent media and abolishing an independent judiciary.

Tyler: pay a lot of money, lose a seat at the table, and don’t significantly increase the policy autonomy of the country

As discussed, talking of paying a lot of money is assuming continued membership at zero cost and rejecting the EU line that this is money owed regardless.

That said, the meat here (both your points 1 and 2) depend on what regulatory standardization means here. If it means just following decisions then, yes, seat lost.

But if it means that the UK can set up a special consulting relationship with the EU that's substantially stronger than the Norwegian equivalent, because the UK is a 10x bigger population country with a 7x bigger economy, and has a bigger voice in international standards organizations which it will be permitted to enter a third country outside the EU.

Note Norway must be consulted on forming regulations (http://www.efta.int/media/documents/legal-texts/eea/the-eea-agreement/Main%20Text%20of%20the%20Agreement/EEAagreement.pdf#page=32) and are involved in drafting legislation (http://www.efta.int/media/documents/legal-texts/eea/the-eea-agreement/Main%20Text%20of%20the%20Agreement/EEAagreement.pdf#page=32). Despite the idea that they have "no voice", they simply lack a final vote in the Parliament!

One reason being outside the EU is somewhat bad for Norway, in a way, because the organisation is structured such that small countries have outsize power in the Parliament and bodies (quite a larger effect than the Electoral College). The influence ratio of Malta is about 10x the UK and for Sweden about 1.6x. Norway doesn't have access to the amplification effect when trying to affect processes from outside. This is not so true at all for the UK (a medium sized open economy).

Assuming the consultative relationship is worth something, and something not too much worse than its current voice (yes, a big assumption), then we're left with some pretty major wins:

1) control of EU migration - remember, the EU has just allowed the UK to avoid customs check simply by regulatory standardization; this effectively means no customs checks despite opting out of the Four Freedoms!
2) no EU budget contribution or much reduced
3) no marginalisation in a two-speed Eurozone with Euro countries and everyone else
4) emancipation from the direct authority of the legal framework of the EU
5) as regulation moves from European standards to true international standards, the UK will have a stronger voice than it does within the EU

> they pay a lot of money

It should be noted that the divorce bill is to cover existing obligations, so this is money that the U.K. would have paid anyway if staying in. Things like pensions earned by EU officials. It was never going to zero, unless they wanted really nasty consequences like British people who have worked for the EU not getting their pensions.

Why are commenters using the term, free trade? The EU is not about "free" trade. If you have to pay to stay in, if you have to pay to leave, and if you have to employ a million bureaucrats and a parliament and have plenipotentiaries haggle over complex documents, then it isn't "free."

"Free" trade and "free" movement, like "cheap" labor, are purely academic terms.

Free trade as in trade without barriers between the countries. Not free as in no taxes. What so hard to understand about that?

Because the costs of the transaction would otherwise be paid by the participants and weighed against profit in the decision of whether to engage in the deal at all. Taxes on the transaction inevitably mean that costs are being shifted and rents extracted.

Do you understand the concept of a customs union? Its entire purpose is literally to prevent free trade in a coordinated manner. This is what the EU is.

I'm curious if you consider trade between Virginia and Maryland to be 'free trade' or not. The way things currently work, trade between France and Germany (same currency, same regulatory framework, and no concerns about border controls/import duties, for example) is the same as between Virginia and Maryland.

Admittedly, the EU does not have any taxing authority, compared to the U.S. government, so there is that difference.

Working definitions of free trade include

"A policy followed by some international markets in which countries' governments do not restrict imports from, or exports to, other countries"
"A policy of not discriminating against imports from and exports to foreign jurisdictions"
"International trade left to its natural course without tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions."

Trade between Virgina and Maryland, then is not free trade - it's within a single government jurisdiction, within a single nation. (Is trade between businesses based in Berlin and Hamburg free trade? That would be ridiculous use of the term.)

The European Union isn't a free trade project. It's a "Who will even care about Free Trade?" project; a market size and integration project, where the goal is to Borg as many nations into a single jurisdiction, rather than actually decrease barriers to entry from external jurisdictions. Hence why external trade deals are hard, and why easier entry to the market by foreign jurisdictions made conditional to commitment to be integrated into the EU jurisdiction.

Alternate interpretation:

UK just wrote EU a modest sized check (about 1/50th of their GDP for 2017), in order to allow the EU to declare a fake negotiating victory.

In exchange, the UK gets everything they wanted out of the new relationship (a free trade area like Norway, plus regulatory harmonization), forever.

You do realize that this agreement is only to continue to talking to the EU about the future relationship between the two, right? The UK, as of today according to the EU, has no hope of a status like Norway's. Things might change in the future, of course, but as of right now, if the British are lucky and can get their act together, they might just have a trade arrangement like Canada's - among other things, meaning that the City will lose its financial passporting access to the EU.

i find it hilarious that it took more than 500 days for the UK to agree to all EU conditions. why not just do it on day 1 and save time and energy ?

wow. let me know if you ever want to buy a house from me.

This whole piece is a complete mess and a demerit to Tyler. I'm disappointed that such an exceptional and balanced mind should have such huge emotional blind spots in relation to this area of politics and economics. Tyler either doesn't read the small print or doesn't get it from his sources. The Guardian is totally useless for Brexit as their mood affiliation ruins every attempt at analysis. Let's take Tyler's words apart:

>In other words, they pay a lot of money,

No, the UK doesn't. The deal covers forecasted membership and current spending commitments. More would have been spent for the same period staying in. You think an economist would understand opportunity cost, right?

>lose a seat at the table,


> and don’t significantly increase the policy autonomy of the country. 

Unless you count our complete emancipation from the EU legal and political framework. And the small matter of the European army. Yeah, there is that. Perhaps Tyler didn't read the text which makes it clear further regulatory alignment is only for the cross-Irish border sector and only then in the event of a no-deal. He quotes "for “regulatory standardization with the EU” for the whole UK" which is just plain wrong and would bring down the government in any event. The UK is leaving the regulatory control of the EU. Why the heck should 100% of our economy be burdened by rules for the 10% which actually exports to the EU?

> In the subsequent bargaining over the details, the EU still holds most of the cards. 

Remind me again who has more exports to whom, how collective action problems work and what the endowment effect of £40Bn is in bargaining?

Unless you count our complete emancipation from the EU legal and political framework. And the small matter of the European army.

I suspect this matter is actually pretty small. Where exactly is this 'European army' and how much does the currently in-EU UK contribute to it?

"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, "

We pay what we have already committed to pay anyway

lose a seat at the table,

We lose a seat at the little table but gain one at the big table-the regulatory alignment is essentially over agriculture and the EUs agriculture regulations are adopted from the OIE (for animals) http://www.oie.int/ and the IPPC (for plants) https://www.ippc.int/en/. currently the UKs vote at both of these institutions is exercised by the EU on the UKs behalf and the EU decision taken by QMV. Once the UK resumes its seat it will have full veto power on both bodies. So a more powerful position not a less powerful position.

The UK/EU regulatory alignment is only on the 6 cross border issues that underpin the Anglo-Irish Good Friday Agreement, these being tourism, transport, , healthcare, power/electricity, education and agriculture. Of these nobody is thinking of separate tourism bodies, transport will remain fully integrated as it is with, say, Switzerland and France (who even share Geneva airport), electricity will remain as integrated as England will with France, healthcare ditto across the border so if you need care you go to the closest facility regardless of which country it is in, education will be cross border to so children can go to the nearest school if they so choose which leaves just agriculture and I have pointed out that outside the EU the UK will have more control over this than it currently does.

"and don’t significantly increase the policy autonomy of the country. "

It really does-outside of the Common Commercial Policy we can strike our own trade deals without relying on 27 other competing interests that are often mercantile in outlook and simply don't believe in the benefits of free trade.

Not worth bothering with the rest if you have yet to grasp the facts.

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