course correction I woudnt call it any longer; the destination has radically changed meanwhile, as evidenced by my previous post containing the summary of the constant backsliding in Mr. Gove's prefered landing zones over the past 3 years...
The destination remains the same: a successful outcome with a FTA, then we can all move on to more pressing matters
But is it still the destination, I wonder?
You can indeed argue that all of the previous incarnations of what Brexit would lead to were to pass through soms sort of a comprehensive agreement on freedom in trade, and that as such it is just the level of ambition that got tuned down over time (most noteworthy in the last version where the abundance of 'plusses' were taken off the Canada deal as you must have noticed yourself too), but the most recent decision by the British government to backtrack on the commitments made in the PD on the LPF means it simply is not possible to reach any sort of a deal any longer, unless somehow the EU would surprisingly give in on key issues like state aid.
There's an interesting comment on bloomberg.com today which highlights exactly this problem of inherent incompatibility of the opening positions, and why it is all but a given that somewhere mid year, the talks will break down over this.
So either the British government genuinely thinks that somehow the EU will change minds, which might indeed be the hopes of some in that government still as the idea seems to be quite widespread amongst Tories that the poor British performance during the previous negotiations was not because of the weak negotiating position the country itself is in, but rather by the weak negotiators themselves; or a breakdown -and its full consequences- are just accepted as part of the total cost of Brexit, which would be fully in line with the repeated claim as of recent that it a political imperative to be willing to go down this path to restore the bond between people and govenment, notwithstanding the fact it does not make economic sense to go over the cliffedge and I doubt many voted to get any poorer through the process of Brexit.
So my bet is that somewhere mid summer, neogtiations will break down and trade between the UK and the EU will be conducted on WTO terms as from next year.
Looking further out in time (and thus less sure about it) I see:
- a UK-US FTA signed (but not ratified) relatively quickly (important in the mind of Brexiteers, as that will put the US before the EU) under which the UK market will be flooded with US consumer goods and the famous clorinated chicken, although the NHS will be kept out of it (the landing zone is quite clear for months): FWIW this will make good about 1/5th of what is lost with the EU....
- a significant economic shock for the UK economy in 2021, which will be taken as collateral damage and mitigated by massive government spending, thus inflating the budget deficit further: problems for later, they will say....
- an EU decision to give equivalance to British based financial insitutions but for the time being, while concerted efforts to make it possible to end this state in the near future are stepped up by the EC and supported by the ECB....
- some surprise annoucements from key industrial players in the UK: Airbus setting up a second line for wing production in Spain, but Nissan Sunderland staying in the UK (due to a no longer secret guarantee in which the UK pays billions to keep this high profile industry in house), although many other lower profile industrial companies will move (part of their produciton) out of the UK.
- the refusal of the UK to live up to the WA, notably on the provisions on the need to establish customs checks down the Irish sea, which in itself is worthy of a speculative topic on the full consequences of this: RoI being effectively locked out of the SM as they refuse to close the border with NI, the nationalists in NI calling for a border poll (refused by BoJo), and the return of the troubles (albeit in a lighter form for now)....
- a fish war in the northsea with the EU not preventing its fishermen to continue fishing in British waters and the UK navy unable to effectively prevent them all from doing so (possibly even with some French navy ships intervening softly in defence of French fisherboats in the Channel itself).
- a British government which happily fulminates against the EU as if it was some hostile country for a couple of years to stir up emotions and distract the minds, thus conveniently masking the economic situation, blaming all that goes wrong on those damn Europeans (what a convenience they trained so well over the past decades...)
and then in a few years time, when the minds have calmed a fair bit in Westminster and the economic reality has finally sunk in, a FTA after all, which will then be sold as a victory, because the EU will allegedly have accepted any British rules which diverged meanwhile as equivalent, even though in return their will be a mutual guarantee not to further alter any of them, unless in concertation with the other party.
It's a real pitty if it has to go via a no deal first, because it means the British economy will have to adjust twice, once at a massive cost even, but it seems to be politically inevitable now to do it this way, as too far many people in government have built their personal career on what they call a politically successful outcome of Brexit, so they can not now be seen to give in: others will have to do that if and when they will have taken over their place, so they first have to have their chance at it... and be seen as clearly underelivering versus the massive expectations they have raised in the minds of the people. Only then rational solutions can come back on the table which will put the economy first again: at present this is not the case, hence you can not reach a FTA.