One day after the UK and the EU reached an agreement to start phase two of the article 50 negotiations, British politicians, such as David Davis, were out on the briefing circus saying that the agreement was “more a statement of intent than a legally enforceable thing.” If that wasn’t an indication that the current UK government aren’t going to be true to their word, nothing is.
The statements by David Davis on the Andrew Marr show on the BBC led to the European Union affirming specifically in subsequent resolutions that the two parties could only move to phase 2 of the negotiations “as long as all commitments undertaken during the first phase are respected in full and translated faithfully in legal terms as quickly as possible.”
The problem of Northern Ireland has subsequently been brushed aside by the UK, even though it is still one of the three pillars that any future agreement rests on. If there is a hard border in Northern Ireland, then there will be no deal. Whatever grubby deal the UK Conservative party has with the DUP doesn’t matter. The decider in this is Dublin, not Belfast.
In fact, since the December deal was reached, the UK political class has continued the same way it behaved before the deal, viciously negotiating with themselves rather than with Brussel. Not a day goes by when someone is not angling to make an impact on the UK Government’s Brexit stance. Fighting like ferrets in a sack is an appropriate term.
Objectively, based on the evidence at hand, it is clear that the UK government has no capability to do the job it’s required to do here. If they haven’t decided by now what they want, after all that has happened, it would take a credulous sort to believe that this will be fixed from here on. It took mere hours after the Sunday Times published an article about Brexit plotting for the government to cave in to the Brexiters and declare that the UK will not be a part of the Customs Union. Or any customs union, as if there was an offer to duplicate the existing one.
It is impossible to align the December agreement, the EU summit declaration, and this concession to the hard-line brexiters. It is trying to mix water, air, and fire. One or more of these must give. And the trajectory so far is that the UK government will capitulate to the brexiters, nullifying the December agreement.
Either they will go back on their word to the EU and to the rest of the international community, or they will go back on their word to the voters after this “strong and stable” declaration. Or they will go back on their word to both. To a certain type of bore, getting what they want with lies is just “clever politics” and that it’s the fault of the international community to “be tricked”.
Many British commenters theorise that there’s a plan, a strategy, or a hidden agenda. Many cling to the hope that there will be a deal, and that it won’t be as bad as they fear. Objectively, according to the evidence we have so far, there is only one direction here, toward a hard brexit. This because Theresa May runs a government that is incapable, and her government is trapped in the headlights of a speeding clown car full of liars, cheats, and charlatans from the Brexiteer Circus.