The UK should be willing to consider some flexibility in return for a trade deal – with Australia, with India, with Brazil and, yes, with the EU.
The immediate effect of the election will be a period of fraught negotiation, but it might not be a bad change in the long-term.
In the first of a new mini-series evaluating the EEA, the author of ‘Norway then Canada’ argues the route has been wrongly neglected.
Failing to take back control would be to ignore the largest democratic vote in British history. The consequences would be dire.
It’s likely that there will be some form of agreement, perhaps at the last minute. Likely, but far from certain.
The current system offends our allies and deters valuable skilled migrants. There is a better way.
It is absurd that every year we send home thousands of young Australians who would prefer to stay here, and Australia does the same with thousands of young Brits.
The myth has it that there never was such a plan – in fact, DexEU had a proposal to fulfil its promise of no ‘hard border’ while still overseeing a proper customs regime.
We remain the only country in Europe to detain people indefinitely for the purposes of immigration enforcement, at large financial and human cost.
When I asked freight experts at a Treasury Select Committee hearing if we still had enough time, they said: “You would have to get a hell of a wiggle on.”
There are two options under consideration. One in particular, the partnership model, is unworkable and unacceptable. It should be put out of its misery.
“Are you seriously saying we should not have a system that checks whether people are legitimately in this country?” our Executive Editor asks the Guardian columnist.
Without a firm, stated base, we are vulnerable to being pushed around by the Commission. Ministers might find it uncomfortable to talk numbers, but they must.
One or the other would be easier to solve – and politically helpful to at least somebody. As it is, our immigration system exhibits the worst of both worlds.
One of the few positive things to come out of the appalling affair is the way it revealed the British people are far from the anti-immigrant caricature some paint of them.