I think that if we get an election, and the Conservatives (or a Conservative-Brexit Party coalition) win a clear majority, then we should rip up Johnson’s deal and start again. Tell the EU that’s everything’s changed, their deal – because it’s mostly been written by them – wasn’t acceptable to the British people, and if they want to avoid No Deal then they need to come back to the renegotiating table. Then present them with a simple FTA. If they don’t like it, walk away, announce that we’ll be having a WTO exit, and start preparing for that.
No more ‘technical discussions ‘ with the EU about what future negotiations might look like. No more putting ‘feelers’ out. Engage only with the EU for the purpose of sorting out specific matters like flights, and WTO issues. If the EU then says it’s prepared to discuss the FTA seriously, then discuss it, but don’t let it be watered down. Otherwise walk away again. Exit with no deal, or the minimal FTA.
That’s my fantasy anyway. Would Johnson do that? Probably not. He’d just use a majority to get his awful deal through again, because he’s as scared of No Deal as the rest of his party. Don’t believe people when they say that this deal may be bad but Boris has only gone for it because it’s all we can get at this stage. He’s still rather have it than No Deal, because he knows the media will blow up every little thing that happens under No Deal and his government will get the blame.
The other problem is that he isn’t likely to get an election soon unless he can guarantee that nothing like this will happen. But how can he guarantee that? Especially seeing as he’s dealing with an opposition that is still pretending it’s just about preventing No Deal, when clearly it’s about stopping Brexit altogether (they’ve blocked two soft Brexit deals already). How do you horse-trade with such people? This problem isn’t going away anytime soon. (Commentators keep saying ‘It’s crunch week’, but it never is. It still isn’t.)