Learning from 1973: The way into the EU could be the way out

Author: Giles Coghlan | Category: News

UK Cross party talks urged by the EU

UK Cross party talks urged by the EU

Well, it was cross party consensus that got Britain into the EU. Now, it seems, the EU want a cross party agreement for Britain to leave the EU. Theresa May has spent the second half of last week going around key EU decision makers saying, 'We are nearly there and I think I can make the deal work, if we can just sort out the backstop border issue'. The EU has repeatedly and consistently rejected any changes to the withdrawal agreement and now they have well and truly turned the tables on Theresa May. The EU closed the week out with this report via Reuters that May should embrace Labour's offer to break the deadlock. Tusk rather likes Jeremy Corbyn's approach. Well, we know how keen Donald is about Brexit, but who can blame  him. The Reuters report had an unnamed EU diplomat cited as saying:

"We are still very much in the party politics perspective. The only hope is that, at some point, the threat of 'no-deal' disruptions would mobilise minds in the UK," an EU diplomat briefed on May's talks in Brussels said on Friday.

May , Corbyn, EEC, EU, 1973, Brexit

So, the message is clear to May. Go back home and sort out your Brexit problems there. The EU has thrown the cat among the pigeons by telling May to listen to Labour. However, there is a sense of full circle here. It was 1 January 1973, under Ted Heath's Gov't,  that Britain joined the EEC and it was via a cross party vote of 272 to 155. Then, as now, the Labour Party seemed to have 'no official party position', staying safely on the sidelines. In an ironic turning of the tide Theresa May will now be left with an immediate dilemma: to seek cross party talks in earnest or play for more time to run down the clock with her game of chicken. At the moment she has chosen to play for time, but how much patience will folks have when there seems to be zero way forward with the EU?


Jeremy Corbyn has a 5 fold criteria of demands: 

1. A 'permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union' which would also grant the UK a say in future trade deals.

2. Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution.

3. Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum, allowing the UK to lead the way.

4. Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation.

5. Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant and vital shared databases.


Theresa May is committed to an independent trade policy, which shows considerable distance between herself and Corbyn. So, whichever way you look we see difficulty for May. The GBP has been falling and at the moment selling the rallies looks the sensible thing to do in the short term/. (Obviously cross party talks that looked viable would open the prpseoct of a soft-Brexit and the GBP would quickly appreciate)

Oh, and by the way, I saw this Heinz advert in the archives on the weekend for when Britain entered the EU. Check it out here. If we kept eating Heinz on the way into the EU, it seems we may have to get used to eating a whole lot more of them on the way out of the EU. At least, if the naysayers are right ;-). For all those non-UK readers Heinz is a popular and well known brand in the UK; particularly for their Baked Beans. (A popular British sort of side dish). 

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