From its range of tailor-made trade deals to its habit of allowing Member States to break the rules, Brussels is more flexible than Barnier’s rhetoric might suggest.
Whatever you think of the latter idea, it can’t fairly be said that, in the minds of a significant tranche of Party members, the door to it is firmly closed.
To shut off consideration of realistic and achievable ways of supporting the Government’s Brexit objectives would be irresponsible.
We don’t need a European solution; we need a global solution. We must think independent Anglosphere, not dependent Eurosphere.
Johnson’s speech today and the Commission’s basic take are strangely similar – Brexit points to a Canada-type settlement on alignment and divergence.
It’s often suggested that the Remain wing of the Cabinet wouldn’t wear such a choice. I doubt it.
Even Whitehall’s fiercest advocates of the need to stay as close as possible to the EU recognise that there are risks in being a rule-taker not a rule-maker.
Although some pretend the UK must choose between binary options, the reality of what is possible is rather different.
Don’t fall for the Commission’s spin: it has been the guardian of no fewer than 42 different models of association.
Economically, it could be transformational, as it has been in Norway, which established its fund back in the early 1990s. It is now worth over a trillion dollars.
It is hard to avoid the impression that leaving is being undertaken in a spirit of damage limitation rather than a spirit of opportunity.
It follows that any Tory MP voting with Corbyn would thus be deprived of the whip, and ineligible to stand as a Party candidate in any election that followed.
It would be the easiest, least disruptive, and most productive way for this country to genuinely leave the EU until we have a bespoke UK-EU deal.
I believe that there will be a growing clamour for any deal to be put by referendum to the British people before the final decision is taken.
The Government needs to make a decision on our post-Brexit economic model, reinvigorate the Conservatives in office – and win the votes of the next generation.