Despite Brexit, the UK is going to end up sending billions to the EU

If the UK wants access to the EU markets, it's going to have to pay billions of pounds, something that the Brexit Leave campaign conveniently neglected to mention (they also conveniently neglected to mention that even if this wasn't true, the money the UK used to pay to the EU wasn't going to be spent on the NHS).

It's deals with the devil all the way down. Rather than paying into the EU's general treasury, the UK is likely to pay into a special fund for poor post-Soviet EU members, which are the same countries whose migrants were the locus of so much racist shit-talk during the Brexit campaigns (think: Poland). These countries, in turn, are unhappy that the UK's political discourse has been dominated by a debate that went, "Eastern Europeans: threat or menace?" and they're eager to avenge themselves upon the Brexiteers by ensuring that the UK gets the worst-possible terms out of the divorce negotiation — or at least ensure that the UK has to let their citizens continue to travel to and work in the EU, with the threat of being punished in the EU divorce being used for leverage.

But if the UK could secure access to EU markets by paying billions to subsidise the economies of the Eastern European members, those members will face a dilemma: avenge their reputations and secure rights for their citizens, or get billions in cash?

The BBC's piece on this is a masterpiece of anonymous sourcing. Virtually everyone in the piece is unnamed, and some sentences include conflicting claims from anonymous sources who are so vaguely described that you can't even tell who's speaking. It's an indicator of just how insane Whitehall is at the moment, with the political classes grudge-hating each other and dripping poison into the ears of any journalist who'll listen.

One senior Whitehall official said the UK would be unlikely to pay into the main EU budget after Brexit.

But the official said the UK may instead pay into special EU funds – possibly including one to help the economic development of new member states in central and Eastern Europe – as a way of securing preferential trading terms.

Officials say this would leave Poland with a dilemma: whether to prioritise its demands for its citizens to be able to continue to work in the UK or whether to accept greater financial contributions.

Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, told Newsnight that Britain may have to continue to make financial contributions to the EU to secure access to the single market even after Brexit.

Mr Tyrie, who supported the Remain side in the referendum, said: "We want a high degree of access to the single market, in my view.

"To fall back immediately on WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules would risk an economic shock and certainly an economic downturn given the high degree of trade integration at the moment between Britain and the EU."

UK 'may still have to pay into EU even after Brexit'
[Nicholas Watt/BBC]

(Image: Polish food shop, Coventry, WTC Mum's taxi Polish food shop, CC-BY-SA)