Did Brexit meet your expectations? First, let’s consider what your expectations should have been. Just before the 2016 referendum, Vote Leave published a document called Leave Looks Like … which is the closest thing to a manifesto. Her bullets were as follows:
We are ending the supremacy of EU law and the European Court of Justice. We’ll be able to kick out those who make our laws.Europe yes, EU no. We have a new treaty between the UK and the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation. There is a European free trade area from Iceland to the Russian border and we will be part of it. We will take back the power to negotiate our own trade deals.We spend our money on our priorities. Instead of sending £ 350m a week to Brussels, we will be spending it on our priorities like the NHS and schools.We are taking back control of migration policy. including the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, so that we can pursue fairer and more humane policies and decide who comes to our country on what terms and who is removed.We will regain our seat on international bodies where Brussels represents us and uses our greater international influence to drive greater international cooperation.We will build a new European institutional architecture This enables all countries, whether inside or outside the EU or the euro, to act freely and to work together in a friendly way.We will negotiate a new treaty between the UK and the EU and end the legal supremacy of EU law and the European Court of Justice before the 2020 elections.We don’t necessarily need to use Article 50 – We can agree another way with the EU that is in our interest.
How did you do it?
We are ending the supremacy of EU law and the European Court of Justice
The British government made it the main objective of the negotiations to exclude the ECJ from any involvement in British legislation. Nobody noticed much yet, but they’ve probably been a lot less successful than they think. Much of the UK’s legislation is extensively derived from EU law, including most of the anti-discrimination law. It is unlikely that large parts of it will be retained or rewritten. The UK courts will almost certainly continue to follow the ECJ’s own interpretation of EU law in interpreting UK provisions. The first instance in which this happens will cause fireworks on the self-radicalized right.
In any case, few voters could name a CJEU case, even fewer one they disliked. The European decision-making body that voters really complain about is the European Court of Human Rights. This is still part of UK law as always.
Beneficially, I will achieve Vote Leave 8/10.
Europe yes, EU no
Britain now has the power to negotiate its own trade deals. However, it is not part of the European free trade area from Iceland to the Russian border. Access is not comparable to the access offered to the EEA or Switzerland, regardless of full EU membership.
Further in the document, Vote Leave claims, “At the heart of what we all want is the continuation of duty-free trade with minimal bureaucracy.” This promise of minimal bureaucracy has not been confirmed. The UK Chamber of Commerce Director-General summed it up as follows: “There is so much complexity – it’s like an onion, the more you peel the more you cry.” The trade deal has already allowed Dutch customs officials to impose Veganuary on British truckers.
The prospectus was not fulfilled to the promised degree on this front – 5/10.
We spend our money on our priorities
The UK has spent well over £ 350 million a week lately before taking into account alleged savings from EU contributions. It turns out that low public spending was an independent policy choice. Imagine that.
To be precise, the moment of truth to judge this has only just come, so no score has been given yet.
We are taking back control of migration policy
Done. The new policy may be arbitrary and counterproductive, but a full 10/10 is earned for that commitment.
We will regain our seat on international bodies
Britain has resumed its seat in the WTO and other bodies in which the EU has represented the United Kingdom. The idea of “greater international influence” seems heroically optimistic. Britain lost its place on the International Court of Justice for the first time since Brexit, symbolizing its loss of influence (although it has now regained one). A United Nations report found that:
“Although there are still areas where the UK continues to have influence, our research shows significant challenges for the UK in maintaining its current level of influence after leaving the EU.”
A recent report by Chatham House, which attempted constructively to find a way for Britain in international affairs, found that Britain has an image problem. Worse, it states:
“Brexit Britain faces the table on many of the most important transatlantic issues. The EU is now the US’s main counterpart in areas such as relations with China and digital taxation.”
This is a reduced, not an increased, influence. 2/10.
We will build a new European institutional architecture
Always a ridiculously optimistic ambition. A complete failure. 0/10.
We will negotiate a new treaty between the UK and the EU and end the legal supremacy of EU law and the European Court of Justice before the 2020 elections
The original schedule was not met. Worse still, the Vote Leave paper says airily: “There is no need to rush. We have to take our time and do it right. “The government ended up working on a self-imposed deadline that it refused to change amid a global pandemic. The end result of a sketchy deal was the result. The schedule has always been ambitious and with that in mind I am generously marking this 3/10.
We don’t necessarily need to use Article 50
Not a claim that has stood the test of time well.
If you voted to vacation to make a smooth transition to a world where the UK was more influential and where trading opportunities are improving, you have been sold a puppy.
If you voted for vacation to gain control of immigration, your prospectus has been fulfilled. If you were motivated by a visceral aversion to EU institutions, you should be lucky enough.
Since most vacation voters fell into one or the other of the latter categories, they are likely lucky enough.