‘Brexit means Brexit’, says our new Prime Minister, but that does not tell us what she thinks Brexit would involve. Given the immense resourcefulness of the EU in perpetuating itself, one must guard against solutions which appear to satisfy Brexit conditions, but leave reality little changed.
They might resemble how France withdrew from the military command of Nato in 1966. This assertion of French sovereignty by De Gaulle involved, among other things, the withdrawal of non-French Nato troops from French soil. In reality, however, the secret Lemnitzer-Ailleret accords between the United States and France ensured that France remained bound into participation in Cold War hostilities. Over time, French self-exclusion became less and less significant. In 2009, President Sarkozy reintegrated France into the Nato command structure.
An EU equivalent of this process might tempt a Remain-led government, but would be disastrous for trust. If Mrs May does not grasp this, she will gradually be weakened as disgruntled Brexiteers try to hold her kitten-heeled feet to the fire.
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Notes. The full article can be found here.