What exactly is a "Hard Brexit"? How is it different from "Soft Brexit"? Is there a "Hard Brexit" with "Soft" bits like a chocolate covered marshmallow?
It really depends on how Brexit is defined, and its relative scale of hardness to softness. However, everybody's Brexit definition is different, with a narrative is already being formed. The Welsh Assembly voted to reject the Single Market through Brexit. Boris Johnson has urged a quick, "hard" Brexit to by 2019. Jeremy Corbyn has indicated he would like to remove Britain from the Single Market but allow more free movement, whilst other Labour MPs, like Rachel Reeves, have called for more restriction in freedom of movement.
It would be unjust for Prime Minister Theresa May to take sole responsibility in delivering Brexit. Not all leavers wanted this. Jenny Jones and Frank Field, who campaigned for Brexit, did not do so to allow a Conservatives Brexit. Gisela Stuart, who was a prominent leave campaigner, has already clashed with the Government on the status of EU nationals currently residing in the UK. Similarly, the concept of 'Lexit' was not to hand Brexit negotiations to a right-wing government. Brexit was voted for for many reasons, not all of which included handing power to May and her three Brexiteers.
It will also implement a Brexit for everybody. Many want diametrically opposing Brexit scenarios. Johnson's "Hard Brexit" call juxtaposes Nicola Sturgeon's plea that Scotland remains part of the European Union. The EU's rules do not allow Britain to negotiate free trade deals whilst still part of the Union, something that Dr. Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, clearly disagrees with. Corbyn has even demonstrated more than one Brexit desire, calling for Article 50 to be triggered immediately and then retracting his statement. There are many hypotheticals, ideas, scenarios and desires.
These are just some of the positions we know of from post-referendum Britain. This is without consulting every single British and European Union national on their stance, their priorities or their fears.
But, Brexit means Brexit. So what is a success of it?
A successful Brexit will likely incorporate many people's opinions. Thus, it is right that the narrative for Brexit is beginning with immigration. Clearly immigration was a major issue among leave voters and campaigners. Nevertheless, immigration is not straightforward. Caroline Flint's preliminary research on 'leave' voters in her constituency, Don Valley, suggests it is unskilled immigration that was the immigration problem people wanted to leave the EU over. The Conservative plan to reduce immigration to the 10,000s is not targeting Brexit concerns. In this instance, the Conservatives are using political turmoil to pursue their agenda. This is not what the electorate voted for, and thus disingenuous.
Parliament is a composition of the electorate's representation. Theoretically (although there are debates to be had about how representative MPs are), MPs represent the electorate. If every MP could, either individually, or in groups, be heard on their views on Brexit, the public could be fairly heard on their concerns. It would be fair more representative of what Brexit should mean to the British public, rather than than May's Government's views. May might have the mandate to direct Britain out of the European Union, but she does not have the mandate to define it.
If all MPs spoke on Brexit then Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs could fight for national priorities. Similarly, London MPs could fight for London's interests similar to Birmingham MPs fighting for Birmingham, or Yorkshire MPs for Yorkshire, etc. A direction and priority list will be formed from every citizen, leading to a 'successful' Brexit, rather than a 'Hard' or 'Soft' one.
Similarly, the Conservatives would have their priorities brought forward, as would Labour, the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats and all other parties. Brexit could be defined as a conglomerate of concepts derived from the electorate, rather than Theresa May's ability to negotiate. This would be a fairer, more democratic, Brexit that gave back control to Parliament.
Nevertheless, each party must internally evaluate what Brexit means. Each must define it whilst preparing to leave the EU. However, parties must urge the Conservatives to ensure their priorities and desires are not eclipsed from Brexit proceedings with the EU.
A 'successful' Brexit is not necessarily economic, social nor political. It is not 'hard' or 'soft' or 'left' or 'right'. A 'successful' Brexit will be like a successful tax, one that a majority of people are willing to adhere to. Although Brexit as an idea is definitive, its success is subjective to the British population. Thus a successful one will be representative of the British public because it is what the British public voted for. Brexit does mean Brexit, and that would be a success of it.Suggest a correction