It is probably just coincidence, but the final episode of Noel Edmond’s “Deal or No Deal” aired on 23rd December 2016. Ever since then, the country has been playing its own version with the EU and, just as with the programme, it is The Banker, the person who holds the better hand, who has come out on top.
Over the course of those four years, there have been unkind voices who have commented that the talks may have gone better if they had been conducted by another co-star of Noel Edmonds – Mr Blobby.
However, we have now become used to the talks going to the wire, the UK backing down (think Irish border), and then the Prime Minister of the day declaring a great victory for their hard-line negotiating stance.
There is no reason to think that the latest talks will be any different. There are now two more rounds to go (in mid and late September) before we reach the current deadline of the European Council meeting in the middle of October.
We don’t know what deal Johnson will achieve, but two things are for sure:
- He will claim that he has achieved a deal
- It won’t meet the promises he made. Indeed, the government has already set aside £355m to help businesses in Northern Ireland deal with additional red tape that Johnson refuses to admit even exists.
But should we sit back and let Johnson decide what constitutes a good deal? Of course, the answer is No.
We need to set our own agenda. Over the next few months we need to lay out what we want to see come from the deal and then, if those are not achieved come December, we continue to campaign for them right through to the next election in 2024.
Below we have have some suggestions.
- Keep our manufacturers, farmers and fishermen, free to sell into the EU without being at a disadvantage through tariffs or other trade barriers, and free to be part of EU supply webs.
- Automatic settled status for all EU citizens currently living in the UK, with reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens in the EU.
- Full mutual recognition of driving licences, pilots licences, and of qualifications in medicine, engineering, law, finance and other professions.
- Continued full participation in Erasmus and Euratom.
- Mutual agreement to retain ‘protected geographical status’.
- Continued adherence to consumer protection measures, including the mobile phone roaming protocols.
- Free access at borders for EU residents between EU countries, i.e. continued use of EU resident channels.
- Mutual continued participation in the EHIC.
- Maintaining the closest possible links for justice and security to maintain real-time access to a watchlist of suspected terrorists and ensure no loss of police powers.
- Continued adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Ensuring our existing levels of environmental standards are not downgraded in comparison to EU standards.
- Agreeing a protocol on food standards that will ensure our farmers are granted unfettered access to the EU market.
What we want to do is add to these and then whittle the list down to around six priorities. So please, take a couple of minutes by replying below to let us know you think.