There’s more than a hint in the air that they are happy to let the negotiation get sticky – and wait for capital to flee the UK and for investment to plummet.
The key question is not whether we can diverge, but whether we can do so without asking the EU first and obtaining their prior agreement.
But could Germany, in the wake of its election result, now become the prime bulwark against Macron’s and Juncker’s ambitions?
From speaking to civil servants, it seems that – at least until recently – the Cabinet had not properly considered either a preferred end state or indeed transition policy.
Has anyone told Barry Gardiner about this latest change? Only last month, he wrote that staying in the Customs Union would be “a disaster”.
The policy paper provides welcome clarity, but it’s time the Treasury gave up on the fiendishly difficult model it prefers.
For all the talk of an “off the shelf” solution, those available would cross Brexiteer red lines.
The clock is ticking, and business and the public need to see that the Government is gripping the complexities of the process.
The Union has already signed up to an FTA) with Canada. Surely we should be able to agree a similar deal for the UK – if not one substantially deeper.
Many of Brussels’ demands, including for continued oversight by the European Court, are quite simply preposterous.
His Mansion House speech offered an opportunity to shift the tone of Brexit policy towards openness, liberalism, free trade and responsible capitalism.
We would remain bound by the EU’s protectionist tariff structure, and have our trade agreements determined by institutions on which we were not represented.
Will the UK get a deal? Much depends on whether other European governments or the EU Commission take charge on the other side of the table.