In a tad over 365 days we will technically leave the EU and enter the transition period that will take us up to 31st December, 2020. Beyond that point we will be out, gone, departed and finished with the EU. We will not, however, be finished with Europe - geography and common interest will rightly still demand a measure of continued collaborative and shared effort - much as that might peeve the masters of the EU.
In many ways it is a shame that the Brexit process has raised such entrenched positions and emotions. The departure from the EU is not particularly a snub to the EU rather it is a desire by the British electoral majority to take a different path, away from a conglomeration of European federalists, away from a regulatory system that has ill suited our business, away from a swamping migratory entitlement and away from the de-nationalisation of the nation state that has hallmarked the very political nature of the EU. This does not mean we can't be friends, allies or even contributors on specific enterprises - we remain Europeans whilst being foremostly British. The EU should be mindful of that. Yet we know that Britain's departure will change the character as well as the constituent membership of the EU. Britain is a net contributor to the EU - it pays in more than it gets back - Britain is arguably one of the leading economies currently in the EU and has a technological development position that many member states of the EU choose to follow - elements that the remaining 27 may perceive as a significant loss. And since Brexit, of course, there have been rumblings amongst the remaining 27 about the constriction of national policies - Poland, Croatia and Hungary notably - the in-balance of economic distribution and the stability of the Eurozone. Quieter yet equally concerned states like Greece, Portugal, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Spain and Austria are all expressing concern as to how the EU conducts its affairs no matter how much the media presents them as being fully committed members. You can be committed but still demand reform - and massive reform is what the EU is being faced with in its post-Brexit phase.
Germany and France vie to be the pre-eminent force within the EU, the notional emperors of this fabricated state. Germany was the de-facto leader until its elections last September when, all of a sudden, the Empress Angela fell off her perch and had to concede that the immigration policy she had pursued had lost her her majority in the Bundestag; now, relying on a dubious coalition, her strength has been much reduced and the rival, France, has seen the opportunity to pick up the baton and run for pre-eminence. These are two devout federalists. Macron wishes to be a new political Napoleon, Merkel desires the approbation of a Bismarck and therein lies much of the rationale for Britain's desire to leave the EU. One way or another, Europe is heading towards having a political and economic pivot based upon one or the other of these two states. One was strong and is now somewhat weaker, the other is in its ascendance - we need to observe that space from without as soon as possible.
Elsewhere there is a bowlful of the usual stories - corruption in sport, foreign aid, French politics, data security and, of course, the British Labour Party. None of it is edifying, most of it depressing and most of it is defiantly defended by the very people who have perpetrated the crises in the first place. Human frailty at its best. Perhaps we should expect no better - after all, we haven't changed an awful lot since God was a lad....