Theresa May began her speech in Florence regarding the latest rounds of EU-UK negotiations with a homage to the region’s past, specifically the Renaissance period. The age marked a new era for creativity and critical thought and its ‘example shaped the modern world,’ May argued. Indeed, the Republic of Florence heralded a unique opportunity for localised participation in government and a belief in liberty. Forgive me for not knowing the Latin for ‘take back control,’ but I am sure you can spot the similarities.
Many have already been searching for a precedent for Brexit. May discussed that while the Norwegian model may bare closer resemblance to our goal than Canada’s, it is unhelpful to use these as markers due to our unique withdrawal. She is right. A post-Brexit United Kingdom will continue to share intelligence and security data with EU, and assurance was again given to the EU natives living on our shores that their rights will remain intact, but the UK will not have single-market membership nor succumb to ECJ jurisprudence.
The first audible murmurs could be heard when May backed a ‘transitional period’, beginning after the expiration of the triggering of Article 50, in which businesses are given time to adjust to the new political structure. While arguments of logistics and convenience can be made, this struck many as hugely disappointing. A two-year transition period in which we continue to be subject to EU’s laws and restrictions, a card which the Prime Minister confirmed she will be laying on the negotiating table, will amount to nothing more than a delay of Brexit.
This concession must be taken with a (not yet provided) sweetener. Indeed, while only in the primitive stage of our withdrawal, May and her team must score a big win in the next round of negotiations to shift public opinion back in the right direction.
Photograph: ijclark via Flickr