Theresa May’s ‘My Little Brexit’

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We now supposedly know where we are going with the EU.

No single market.

No customs union, even if no one has quite had the courage to say so explicitly.

Control on migration from the EU.

Rejection of the European Court of Justice.

But also, apparently, no tariffs on trade with Europe despite all that.

And the brightest and best will move freely.

Whilst the City may remain in the single market despite its rejection for all other purposes.

And woe betide them if they dare to differ.

Given the broad sweep of yesterday that may be a fair summary, although I know some will disagree.

But even now it's not the detail that matters. What matters is the naïveté of it all. This reads like the Christmas list of the seven year old living in a high rise flat in the centre of an urban area miles from a field with parents who are struggling to make ends meet who asks for a pony for Christmas. They get a hamster instead. Or a 'My Little Pony'.

Except in this case it will be a 'My Little Brexit'. That's the one where the EU have some say on the outcome. And we will have tariffs. There will be restrictions on the right of UK citizens to travel. There will be the end of powerful partnerships, such as the Erasmus student scheme, arrangements on crime and shared regulation of many industries, where the cost of the UK going alone will be considerable. And there will be a threat to real people who have thought they can live in their chosen home and will now find they can't.

Within weeks we'll find that yesterday's 'refreshingly optimistic tone', as the FT puts it, is no more than bravado that utterly ignores reality. The reality is that the EU is going to impose a price for the UK leaving. It has to. Otherwise there is no point in anyone staying. And in that case May is not going to get what she wants, however much she might scream or shout. .

And then the UK will realise just how small it is, whether the City is taken into account or not. That 'My Little Brexit' may be the pocket sized version, if we're lucky.