The UK Withdrawal From The EU is the longest part even before ANY/ALL Brexit plans. FLEXCIT is the only realistic Brexit plan beyond this first stage. The representation of Brexit has been bogus in almost 100% of all publications by politicians and news-media I've seen. Likewise the representation of the EU as not defined by it's supranational nature has been bogus and misrepresented as well. This supranational border defines the shape of events to come.
In the past I've argued that that the quintessential definition of Brexit is the SAME definition to which any WORD in the English Oxford Dictionary is put under: That is the minimum representation under other definitions. If we apply this rule, then:
Brexit = "UK Leaving the (major) Political Institutions of the EU ONLY" as required to be members of, under the membership rules as written into the EU Treaty itself. In short order these are as per Wiki:
The institutions of the European Union are the seven principal decision making bodies of the European Union (EU). They are, as listed in Article 13 of the Treaty on European Union:
- the European Parliament,
- the European Council,
- the Council of the European Union,
- the European Commission,
- the Court of Justice of the European Union,
- the European Central Bank and
- the Court of Auditors.
I've always said that Brexit CAN include anything else under the sun outside of the EU, but DOES NOT HAVE TO, as a place to begin.
Although I think this is true. It is not acceptable for some reason, to many people, perhaps because of trust issues or any number of other reasons, notable amongst many the "forceful personality" root to so many peoples' method of making decisions.
As such the above is very much and EXCLUSIVE argument: It defines everything else as secondary to it's proposition. Instead I've come up with the opposite: An INCLUSIVE argument and this blog sets it out, using pictures, analogies, substitute measures not to PROVE but to CONCEPTUALIZE what our Final Brexit deal or even Withdrawal Agreement will look like:-
The Shape Of Water: Is defined by it's borders, by the shape of the CONTAINER it is in: It's still ALL water however
Fundamentally what Brexit comes down to is as per 2 stand-out quotes from Sir Ivan Rogers:
"The more he looked at the issues on how, from outside the EU, the UK would be able to secure its vital interests, the more obvious the conclusion that being even “just outside” was radically different from being “just inside” the fence."
"The problem is that, in dealing with the EU, the states of being just inside the perimeter fence and supposedly just outside it, are very radically different. On leaving, we become, in EU parlance, a “third country”. "
I've even given these 2 quotes the "colour of water" to drive the point home! This point cannot be A PRIORI enough now that the UK has indeed triggered Article 50.
There's no going back: The EU Referendum result determines WHICH SIDE OF THE FENCE the UK now operates under for the future. Even arguing for social reasons that the decision was a mistake is now a void argument: Those politics are now encapsulated BACK into Westminster as per Representative Democracy and UK political process as per how the UK operates it's national decision-making. I don't care that that process has many problems for now given the precise nature of the argument made in this blog. I don't care what the "Fantasy Horse-Trading Manager" scenarios that politicians and people and news-media are all indulging each other in.
We are on the "other side of the fence" now, already.
What becomes very interesting however, is that all the arguments about what Brexit should contain are actually not contained by what the SUBSTANCE or features that are captured immediately, but by this "fence or border". Brexit is very defined not by what is in it, but by it's borders and the most significant border that defines it's "shape" is the first one: Outside the EU Treaties and political institutions of membership. Every other arguments that fails to address this is bogus.
In the above diagram I've mocked up an analogy with respect to distance.
Leaving the EU is a larger distance than all the rest of the other "Brexit Plans" put together, ie the distance between each of them from one end to the other even though that total distance is still large - except the Non-Plan "No Deal aka WTO False Representation which is off the chart. Think of it this way, leaving the EU is Brexit Number 1. Trying to do any of the non-Single Market Brexits as well is Brexit Number 2. We only voted for 1 successful Brexit not x100 Brexits.
The social-emotional responses to Brexit, disproportionate actual lack of contribution: A drop in the ocean
Thus in fact, all Brexit plans will not and do not describe the "reality of leaving the EU". The simple Linear scale of move 1 place away from the EU for each type of Brexit model is total and utter nonsense. Again it may look nice for campaign and emotional-social support reasons and give our MPs the semblance of debating usefully or even encapsulating the nations' Leave emotions but it does not do anything USEFUL. Likewise the Remainers as per Ivan Rogers are actually "Reversers". Totally useless and ignoring this side of the fence change that has already happened.
There's only one plan I've seen that comes CLOSEST and is worth mentioning: FLEXCIT. It seems to me that FLEXCIT is about as EXTREME a Brexit Plan that is possible and will still require much additional work to make up the difference from being outside the EU as much as it contains solutions that also work. In fact Dr. RAE North of EUReferendum.com has argued precisely this, consistently for years, if anybody has been paying attention!
In the above picture I've tried to demonstrate this "non-linear degrees of separation" from leaving the EU.
And here's the conclusion, or the "shape of water": The Withdrawal Agreement IS Brexit in the beginning. The closer it is to the "fence" of the EU the more it's within the "habitable zone of departure". Bear in mind in the analogy above, given the EU Referendum result, the EU is "too hot" and the No Deal No Plan Disaster is "too cold". The rest of the Brexit Plans are not in the "habitable zone" by a long long way. Even FLEXCIT is just within the so-called "habitable zone" of Brexit immediately after leaving the EU.
I've represented this with symbolic numbers:
10,000 miles from the EU to outside the EU whatever relationship.
1,000 miles plus to the above, from copying the EU and building upon the flexible EEA framework which is the 1st stage of FLEXCIT.
100,000,000 plus all the above for the No Deal No Plan Brexit Disaster.
The fact of the matter is, the only reasonable Brexit plan, FLEXCIT has enormous extra work on top of it within the 1st "10,000 miles" as it were to make up, which should be the prime duty of the Withdrawal Agreement.
It's a very simple representation, not very sophisticated and bearing only tiny resemblance to reality of Brexit in all it's enormous complexity. But I think in essence the picture is more accurate than anything published officially about Brexit (which is a terrible indictment of our enormous and expensive national decision-making machinery that the tax-payer spends so much money every year paying into): Brexit first has to transfer successfully across the fence via the Withdrawal Agreement, which means it's defined by this container and thus all Brexit discussion should concentrate on this "ZONE" for a successful "Withdrawal Agreement". Some of which in the upcoming years should start to resemble a similarity to FLEXCIT.
Remainers and Leavers = Withdrawers.
I suggest reading FLEXCIT for insights into what this will shape up to be like.