Many are no doubt missing the significance of David Davis's likely briefing against Prime Minister Theresa May via James Chapman, who worked with Davis until recently. He has claimed that the Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union had been "hamstrung" by the prime minister's stance on the European Court of Justice (ECJ), plus a few other matters.
The EU says its citizens in the UK should have access to the ECJ for protection, but May wants no role for any EU body after leaving. The ECJ is the European legal body for deciding disputes.
As well as apparently having a go at Philip Hammond the Chancellor for being inconsistent (as Hammond has a go at Johnson the Foreign Secretary), this briefing is an attempt to say that the negotiations would be going better without Theresa May's interference.
The essential problem is this: if you trade and have agreements, indeed if you have agreements on anything, there have to be bodies to make rulings. The obvious bodies already exist, but to want new bodies is quite an expense to add.
After all, the engagement with Europe will be on the basis of laws from treaties, and the ECJ follows the laws.
She even wants to come out of Euratom, the pan-European atomic energy regulator. This is daft, because Euratom is not part of the EU, but the madness is that the ECJ governs the free movement of Euratom scientists. This is like dogma gone mad.
But the significance of this is that Theresa May still thinks she is calling the shots, but the cabinet are deciding via the usual methods that she isn't.
The reality is that leaving the EU is so complicated and so likely to end up in a mess that the Prime Minister is being targetted early for the blame. Pin the tail on the donkey.
If withdrawing, it is so much simpler to stay in the European Economic Area for the free market and the Customs Union to keep down the paperwork (and keep Ireland's north and south border invisible). It also helps Gibraltar.
However, do this and the UK whilst formally out is basically a satellite of the European Union. We do as it does, but without any say. We lose sovereignty.
At some point the reality will be come clear: it's between the cliff edge due to confusion or the status quo ante. Perhaps Europe might offer an extension on Article 50 to get a 'Cameron plus' deal whilst staying in.
People need educating on how we contribute to EU decisions and how this makes us part of a wide based institution for our benefit: economic, social, political and idealism too. To be a satellite of the EU is pointless: social and economic benefits, but no hand on the driving wheel, accelerator or brake. Crash out and we have no option but a diminished Gross National Product and decades of trying to get trade deals with countries we don't trade with as much as we do with the EU. There is no option in crashing out, but some Tory fantasists think we can become a cheap labour economy of low taxes and hugely dropped public spending. The latter is no longer an option. If we crash out we end up with hyperinflation and a high rate of unemployment that can no longer be disguised as at present (public spending on schemes, so-called apprenticeships etc.).
Maybe Chuka Umunna's single market amendment that was bound to fail was an early effort of a foundations exploration for a centre party, or some similar realignment. It takes the crumbling Conservative Party on its assertive single market left and the Labour right that cannot fathom Corbyn's Europe policy to a new place, with Liberal Democrats and some others, to argue for economic sanity at the very least.
It is time to call the bluff regarding the 'sacredness' of the EU referendum. It was advisory, an inadequate majority then, and an ill-informed campaign on both sides. People change their minds too. The Houses of Parliament need to educate people why we must stay in, and prepare the ground to do it.
- Crashing out is disastrous.
- The EEA plus Customs Union turns us into a satellite of the EU
- Staying in preserves our shared sovereignty.