Any deal that leaves the UK aligned with EU rules or which deprives us of control over our trading future would not be honouring the referendum result.
The EU is willing to deploy both clarity and menace in its dealings with us. This might once have been avoidable, but we must now do likewise in return.
Let’s remind ourselves of a few occasions where the letter of the law has been lacking the odd dot or crossed T.
Each one of us will have a vote on any deal – and 73 MEPs may well be crucial to passing it.
Because Britain and the EU both want to maintain high levels of access to each other’s markets, a bespoke deal is needed: there is no off-the-shelf solution.
Don’t fall for the Commission’s spin: it has been the guardian of no fewer than 42 different models of association.
We need a new negotiating team – who will come in hard, making it clear to the EU that we are not going to roll over.
As Michael Gove hints this morning, the Cabinet must finally debate and decide which route it prefers.
The run-up to the European Council meetings next week could decide the future of the negotiations.
Plus: Englishness in Norwich. Remainer complaints everywhere. And: Noel Gallagher, political philosopher, gives his view of Corbyn.
If the measures involved prove unnecessary, any money lost will be a fraction of the financial gains from having secured a mutually acceptable deal.
DExEU people are whispering “48” as the upper end of the UK’s potential liability. But that level of commitment or specificity is not necessarily required at this stage.
Our best chance of getting a deal remains developing a solid, credible alternative plan, and showing that we are prepared to implement it.
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.
I can say, with hand on humble heart, that I have never seen, or even heard of, a document so unconstructively negative as the Guidelines.