Amidst the total confusion that surrounds the government's approach to Brexit I believe that three things are becoming clearer, by default.
The first is that a transitional deal is essential.
The second is that like it or not this means leaving all EU participation in decision making behind but otherwise carrying on exactly as before, in single market and customs union membership, subject to the European Court of Justice, with free movement and with a full contribution payable.
Third, no one has a clue what might happen when this transition ends.
That's not as such a negotiating position. It is more akin to a plea for help to get the UK out of the mess it chose. But with Labour having seemingly adopted this as policy and the Tories having nothing else to offer that is viable, let alone vaguely responsible, the likelihood of it becoming the default option seems very high.
In that case I did think it worth checking that this is possible. The April 2017 EU guildelines on negotiating Brexit say:
The British government has indicated that it will not seek to remain in the Single Market, but would like to pursue an ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union. Based on the Union's interests, the European Council stands ready to initiate work towards an agreement on trade, to be finalised and concluded once the United Kingdom is no longer a Member State.
20. Any free trade agreement should be balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging. It cannot, however, amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof, as this would undermine its integrity and proper functioning. It must ensure a level playing field, notably in terms of competition and state aid, and in this regard encompass safeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, inter alia, tax, social, environmental and regulatory measures and practices.
Nothing in here precludes this transition, even if it was not anticipated before David Davis' inability to negotiate became clear. What it does say is that there is no cherry picking, at all. It is take it or leave it.
I now have little doubt we will take it for a long time to come.
And then ask to go back because we never will agree on the alternative.