I can imagine myself being tempted to make this point repeatedly on Twitter in the coming months so instead of trying to make it in series of hurried tweets it makes more sense to write it out once and be able to point people to it.
Theresa May’s been very smart.
By making it clear Britain is walking away from the Single Market she’s prevented the next 2 years of Brexit talks being dominated by circular rows over how continued membership or member-like access only comes with freedom of movement.
External, non-EU nations who sell into the market don’t have to accept an uncontrolled flow of EU citizens and May’s move means the EU will be unable to insist that we do either.
By taking single market membership off of the table she’s ensured the talks will instead centre on her calls for reformed access to the customs union. That doesn’t mean she’ll get what she wants but it does mean more time is now available to try and achieve it.
And by dropping the single market, the EU can’t be sure she’s bluffing when she says she’ll reject a bad deal and walk away.
To channel Yes, Prime Minister – they probably know she probably won’t but they don’t definitely know she definitely won’t.
And while a new form of customs union membership may not be something the EU ideally wants to give, some of their most important businesses will ultimately create domestic pressure to do a deal.
Plus, the offer of continuing to pay into some EU schemes means countries which would otherwise have to dig deep to replace our budget contributions now know that doing a pragmatic deal on the customs union not just safeguards jobs and prosperity in both the UK and EU, but also saves their own taxpayers money.
All that means the PM has been very smart in how she positions the UK for the start of the talks.