Mrs May travels to Brussels today to meet and greet the EU hierarchy and declare our position on the three tenets of principle that Europe has decided must be agreed upon before anything to do with future trade can be discussed. Back home, an increasingly agitated Eurosceptic clan in the Commons have correctly warned her that any agreements she enters into - particularly vis a viz money - must be conditional upon the satisfactory outcome of a trade deal rather than just a place on the starting blocks of the sprint.
I'm with the Eurosceptics. Agreeing to pay vast sums of money just for getting access to a negotiation is not on, and the British public will rightly destroy the Tory government and its future prospects if this becomes the weak and wishy-washy outcome. If that sum of money is the only way forward then it must, absolutely must be conditional on a trade deal result that is satisfactory to Britain. And if the EU prevaricate, or try and introduce new blockages then we should immediately walk away and go for the WTO trade option and not pay the EU a single penny. We should not bend our knee to a bureaucratic organisation that has clearly displayed bad faith, duplicitous conduct and a shifting agenda - for that tells you what this institution is really like. I repeat my much used phrase - we can do better than that, we are better than that !
And my suspicion is that the EU will prevaricate. They want the ECJ to have legal power over Britain beyond March, 2019 during any transitional period the government decrees necessary - and remember that the government have already indicated that a two year transition may well be extended - and throughout any such period Britain would have to contribute its full EU contribution. In essence, March, 2019 would be a meaningless date as we would effectively still be full, paying members of the EU and subject to their legal supremacy for whatever period of transition this government decides upon. Quelle horreur ! That's certainly not what I voted for....
Even to this advanced moment in the Brexit process our government has failed in every possible way to communicate anything of substance about what is going on. There are many things that need to be kept confidential, for sure, but equally there is a responsibility upon government to inform and advise the wider electorate as to the reasons and ways of their tactics with the the EU. They have, of course, not said anything meaningful at all - even to the EU by all accounts - and political sound bites and meaningless platitudes miss the mark by a country mile. If the Tory government actually believes that the Brexit process they are indulging in will be their glorious legacy then I fear they will be sorely disappointed if not destroyed. I don't see how the electorate could in any way forgive a capitulation to the EU - and even ardent Remainers would be unlikely to benefit from any outcome that resulted from a poor and half-hearted deal.
We are where we are and we should prosecute that position with vigour and faith (both of which appear sadly lacking in our negotiating stance thus far) to get the best outcome for Britain. It is nevertheless hard to see those traits of courage, faith and determination in the negotiating team - for they are out for a political survival solution rather than a national advantage. What they don't seem to see is that politics is a two-edged sword...it can swing both ways.