Having just banged my head on the underside of the kitchen cabinet I was also struck by a brilliant idea: “omni-Brexit”. This is a Brexit which both happens and does not happen at the same time, so keeping everyone happy.
The current model for Brexit, used by both sides of the debate, is based on the premise that leaving the EU is incompatible with staying. This sudden blow to the back of the head made me realise the debate is centred on a false dichotomy: The UK can both leave the EU and remain at the same time.
The key to this realisation is to recognise we are a nation, or rather nations, of individuals who can and should be able do whatever we want. Some of us wish to leave the EU and some remain. All of this is fine. The government should not be there to interfere or prescribe but, instead, provide mechanisms to enable all of our individual choices, all at the same time.
My suggestion for doing so is this: Those of us wanting blue travel documents would simply need to provide evidence of a commitment to minimise their social and economic interaction with continental Europe. More important, perhaps, since we live in the real world, would be to show we genuinely begrudge whatever European dealings we do have.
Once over this hurdle we would have the right to claim a modern new blue Brexit travel document entitling us to be ineligible for a whole range of work, residence, benefits, healthcare, trade in all the remaining 27 EU countries, not including the UK.
Both the private and public sector would be encouraged to provide a range of blue-passport-only-products, like special prices for overseas goods, trade impediments, a new 50p coin and a full country of travel options. Technology, particularly apps, could be relied on to provide new levels of Brexit personalisation further down the line.
Meanwhile, those content to plod on with their one-size-fits-all burgundy travel document could continue to do so. But, before continuing, they would be sent an information pack outlining the consequences of not being ineligible for EU offerings in quite the same way as blue passport holders.
Omni-Brexit, as set out here, offers an open, flexible system with an opt-in, opt-out approach, able to respond to Brexit demand over time. Only those who campaigned for Brexit need be taken as lifelong blue passport holders to ensure a dependable core user-base.
Some details need to be fleshed out, of course, but it is largely a matter of implementation. Far from being an impending national disaster omni-Brexit offers everyone—whether they want to be in, out, or to have a bit of both—a real win-win-win solution. ■