For anyone following the trainwreck of Brexit, Richard North’s eureferendum.com is an indispensable source. North was (and, at least in principle, still is) a Leave supporter, proposing a model called Flexcit (roughly, the Norway/EFTA/EEA option), but has long since broken with May, Johnson and the rest of the Brexiteers.
North is scathing about the low level of analysis of just about everyone involved in the debate, the only consistent exceptions being Pete North (not sure if or how they are related) and his former employer Christopher Booker who, despite being on the denialist fringe of the climate debate, seems to make sense on Brexit.
I’ll ask a question about Brexit over the fold, but I mainly wanted to cite this important observation. Attacking a recent report, he writes that the author
proudly announces that his piece “is based on conversations” with certain prestigious persons, rather than to reference to primary sources. This so typifies the “oral culture” approach of what passes for journalism, with not even a passing reference to the Commission’s Notices to Stakeholders.
It is probably this superficial, prestige-driven approach which defines the popular Efta/EEA narrative. The average journalist would have a nose-bleed if they ever had to look at a copy of the EEA Agreement. In-depth “research” means looking up back copies of the Financial Times. As for the politicians, they seem to make it up as they go along.
The point about the oral culture is spot-on, I think. I remember observing long ago that journalists, unlike bloggers, assume that they can ring anyone up about anything and expect an answer. That has a huge influence on the way the media work.
Now a question. A “No Deal” outcome looks increasingly likely, and at least some Brexiteers welcome the idea. But a literal “No Deal” would mean that planes would stop flying, trade between Britain and the EU would slow to a crawl, food shortages and so on. So, just about everyone assumes that “No Deal” actually means an emergency deal of some kind. Until today, though, I hadn’t seen any discussion of what such an emergency deal might be like.
Today, the Guardian reports the prospect, quickly denounced and denied, of a “blind Brexit” described as “a face-saving deal in which many of the major issues were deferred for negotiation during the transition after the UK has legally left the bloc”.
It seems implausible to me that, at a time of maximum leverage, the EU would be primarily concerned with saving face for Theresa May. But I’d be interested to know what others think about it, and if anyone else is discussing the shape of a “No Deal” deal.