The only thing stopping us from joining the EU anew is political will. That said, stasis and entropy are massive obstacles to sending ‘the application form in’ !! Parliamentary paralysis has defined the Zombie Brexit Government since 2016. It also defines the Zombie opposition with the exception of Gina Miller’s True and Fair party, The SNP, Sinn Fein and the Green Party / Plaid Cymru, to some degree.
Markets are perfect as we saw in 2016 when the pound was almost instantly revalued (downwards) after the Brexit referendum. So, any application of intent to join the EU anew would be accompanied by a dead stop of the Brexit carnage in pure economic terms. For example, the car industry could say with certainty that they could remain in UK alongside other industries affected by rules of origin constraints. The slow brain drain of financial services staff from Britain would cease with impacts across the financial world. Smaller enterprises could plan to trade with Europe without friction and additional costs again. Future inward investment would begin to flow again as confidence in UK plc began to pick up and many other adjustments would take place, some instantaneous, others as the process unfolds.
So what matters most is starting the process of rejoining, not so much when it is finished. Doubtless there would be many hurdles to deal with but the main thing is to have the intent to join anew.
I am quite sure the EU would want to see the removal of the remaining Brexit culture carriers from power before they would be happy to accept our application, but that, of course, can happen along the way in the forthcoming elections. It has become clear that many safe seats are likely to fall in an election, especially if Labour and the Lib Dems stop fucking each other up. The EU would also be wise to wish to see a supermajority of opinion in the public for rejoining – we are close to 2/3 who believe that Brexit has failed.
Theatrics of joining anew
I would expect a guarded and bureaucratic and ‘flat’ receipt from the EU of an application rather than a joyous and instant response. This is all part of the theatre of resetting the relationship. The theatrics of an application may also mean that we might be pushed behind Ukraine to give that time and a sense of not jumping the queue. Again, this would give time to make the various resets, but the key thing is starting the process. Gina Miller explains something of the process to rejoin in her article for The Independent. We concur that joining anew won’t be easy, but then again Brexit wasn’t easy either.
Beware of the myths
Read our Bylines article Myths and Riffs of Brexit to deal with the Brexiteers who are now operating project fear by suggesting myths such as having to have the Euro, Schengen etc. Do not fall prey to such myths.