Last week I made a prediction about Brexit.
I created a Casting about what Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, would announce about the process and strategy for Brexit today.
Not everything I said came up, but I am fairly happy with the interpretation I gave… I’ll let you be the judge:
“This is about us coming together, she says. We are leaving the EU…” May ends saying she wants Britain to come together. “So the country is coming together… Now we need to put an end to the division and the language associated with it.”
Result: Not a direct hit. The idea of unity and of ‘being central together’ is a possible interpretation. If we can agree that setting aside our divisions takes us to our shared values then I would mark this as a so-so result.
May says the agreement she is proposing is “the economically rational thing” for both sides to aim for.
Result: Predicting particular phrases is always going to be tricky. This seems quite close and I would mark this as a hit.
There were unsurprisingly many references to Britain’s interest. But not ‘exclusively’ or ‘primarily’ so. There were a number of references to the will of the people and how that was driving what the government will be doing, but no mention of ‘primarily’.
Result: I’d call that a so-so or a miss.
“The announcement is likely to include all the details and physical hard work that has been put in.
She mentioned this only in passing. It wasn’t a huge point.
Result: I consider this a miss.
“…way forward will be announced to consist of thinking of more detailed plans (Level 2) combined with imagination, insight and creativity from external thoughts (Level 1, the other parties to the negotiation).
The new Taps at Levels 1 and 2 show that the period of negotiation will be intense and therefore protracted.”
She says she wants a bold, ambitious agreement.
“For each issue, the time we need to phase-in the new arrangements may differ. Some might be introduced very quickly, some might take longer. And the interim arrangements we rely upon are likely to be a matter of negotiation.”
Result: While not specifically calling for creativity here, I consider this clearly on the mark.
“…need for hard work and the attempt to try to make things as good as possible.”
There was no specific reference to this.
Result: I consider it a miss.
“The Active Transform is in the eighth house indicating that the announcement will describe the need for radical transformation, a casting out of the old with only what absolutely works being able to be carried through into the future. This also suggests that ‘new thinking’ and ‘new approaches’ will need to be thought of and actioned.”
May says these proposals will be the basis for a new relationship with the EU.
May says that “no deal for Britain would be better than a bad deal…”
She says, “if this were to happen, the UK could consider adopting a revised economic model.” (Pundit comment: That means slashing taxes, to poach investment from the EU.)
Result: I’ve already made reference to the bold, ambitious agreement she wants and we might include it in this section, too. The intention behind all these statements feels pretty clear and I consider that quite a good hit.
“I would add that the Pars Sol in the eleventh house (Libra) suggests to me that the root of the announcement will be to try to please (sextile aspect) as many people as far and wide as possible (11th house — old friends, vested interests, many and various groups) with a ‘demonstrably balanced and even-handed approach’, weighing up all the options at each stage (Libra).”
Many references to ‘positive’ and to ‘friends’: May says she is confident that most of the UK’s partners want a positive relationship with the UK after Brexit…
“…Now, I want Britain to be able to negotiate its own trade agreements. But I also want tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade there to be as frictionless as possible.”
“…But I respect the position taken by European leaders who have been clear about their position, just as I am clear about mine. So an important part of the new strategic partnership we seek with the EU will be the pursuit of the greatest possible access to the single market, on a fully reciprocal basis, through a comprehensive free trade agreement.”
Result: Another hit, I’d say. Clear indications of the Libran scales comparing both sides, trying to please everyone with its Venusian ruler looking for positive relationships.
“That it will not be possible to leave the EU in the way generally envisaged. That there is no clear-cut exit strategy at the moment — and neither can there be!
The way forward will be simply that whatever the UK can do straight away (as regards severing ties) it will do.
Everything else will be negotiated on a piece-by-piece, case-by-case basis as it arises, with the intent that every single subsequent negotiation of the remaining ties will be aimed at getting the best deal for Britain and with a view to removing the UK from contact, no matter how long it takes.
The way forward will be simply that whatever the UK can do straight away (as regards severing ties) it will do. Everything else will be negotiated on a piece-by-piece, case-by-case basis as it arises.
Use what we’ve got now:
[The proposed free trade agreement] “…may take in elements of current single market arrangements in certain areas – on the export of cars and lorries for example, or the freedom to provide financial services across national borders – as it makes no sense to start again from scratch when Britain and the remaining member states have adhered to the same rules for so many years.”
Negotiate everything else:
May proposes flexible Brexit transitional deal, with different aspects lasting different amounts of time.
She says she wants a customs agreement with the EU. That could mean partial membership of the customs union. “How this happens in practice can be decided”, she says.
She is opposed to an indefinite transition, but a “phased process of implementation” would be in the UK and the EU’s mutual self-interest to allow for “implementation” of different aspects of Brexit.
She says “this transitional period could vary in length in relation to different aspects of Brexit.”
“…This might be about our immigration controls, customs systems or the way in which we cooperate on criminal justice matters. Or it might be about the future legal and regulatory framework for financial services. For each issue, the time we need to phase-in the new arrangements may differ. Some might be introduced very quickly, some might take longer. And the interim arrangements we rely upon are likely to be a matter of negotiation.”
“…Instead, I want us to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two-year article fifty process has concluded. From that point onwards, we believe a phased process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us will be in our mutual self-interest. This will give businesses enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements.” [NB: The ‘agreement’ about a future partnership may be completed in the two years, but the legalities and therefore having fully left the EU could take ‘a little longer’. “Agreement on future partnership”, “planning” and “preparation” are not completion.]
Result: I was wrong on ‘doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes’ as a quote. On the other hand it seems clear that there is no particular specific or detailed strategy at the moment. The idea that we’ll do and get what we can straight off, followed by a period, probably longer than the proposed two years, seems clear. I consider this a good hit.
Any new deals to replace the old ones may end up being seen as merely a change of name, but at least they can be claimed to have been renegotiated.
May says, out of the single market, the UK will not have to contribute huge sums to the EU. It might continue to make some payments, in return for access to certain programmes. But these won’t be huge payments, she says.
“…Because we would still be able to trade with Europe. We would be free to strike trade deals across the world. And we would have the freedom to set the competitive tax rates and embrace the policies that would attract the world’s best companies and biggest investors to Britain. And – if we were excluded from accessing the single market – we would be free to change the basis of Britain’s economic model… So we do not seek membership of the single market. Instead we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement.”
Result: Everything changes but everything stays the same, it seems. What is the practical difference between ‘being a member’ and ‘having the greatest possible access to it’? (If you think in terms of, say, a club you’ll see what I mean.) I consider this a hit, too.
So, what do you think?
I think quotes are fine but I worry that it might be possible to simply shoe-horn many predictions and statements together. The closer, the less ambiguous and the more specific the better of course. But if I tried to force them to fit I would not be being fair.
So maybe another question to ask would be whether the prediction captured the spirit and overall sense of the announcement.
On that basis I think it broadly did so, but not perfectly. Mind you, if it had been perfect A). It wouldn’t be an art but a science and B). I would be busy buying lottery tickets right now! *smile*
The prediction did seem to pick out the themes of:
- ‘Friends’ and ‘Partners’
- Work with what we’ve already got and negotiate from that point on
- Be prepared for it to take a long time
I would have expected to see more about all the hard work and also a ‘reversal’ of some kind though.
As I indicated above, I don’t want to re-interpret the prediction in the light of the actual announcement (‘Oh, but Via could also be seen as…’ kind of thing). Nor do I think it fair to see how matters pan out in practice. The prediction was only for government’s announcements.
Bearing that point in mind, it may be that the government will make other official announcements as to the intention of the strategy between the one yesterday and the triggering of Article 50 at the end of March. As you may recall, I had that date in mind when I did the casting originally and only found out about yesterday’s announcement a few days ago. So there’s still time for the rest of the prediction to materialise (and consequently get myself some lottery tickets). *smile*
Let me know what you think in the comments section.