PLEASE may we put the Brexit deal in context?

It is actually worth £600 billion to us.

In my view, having lived and worked in France and spent almost a quarter of a century doing my homework on the Common market/EU, Brussels is not really given to negotiating!

Continentals have a very different mind set.

After Germany (4th), the UK has the 6th largest economy in the world, some say the 5th if it has overtaken India.

Despite being worth less than financial services, UK manufacturing/engineering is the 8th largest in the world.

Less than half our trade is with the EU, largely with Germany. It has been exporting more to us than we to them.

As a percentage of world trade it is shrinking due to the expansion of trade round the Pacific rim.

The EU is also highly protectionist.

We are well ahead of Europe with IT and digital service delivery and actually top of the world league.

Many European countries do not even have a system that can be digitalised.

English is the main international language (Brussels’ formal language is now “Irish English”).

The point of Brexit is to free us up to respond flexibly and quickly to the new changes and opportunities ahead.

It will not be easy and it will not be comfortable but there is a future out there for us to pursue.

I suspect Macron’s lorry ban, hitting continental rather than UK drivers, tipped the balance and prevented a last-minute hissy fit from France.

We got a “Brexit deal” on Christmas Eve which I expect will keep us arguing for the next 10 to 20 years until totally overtaken by events outside our control, probably sooner rather than later!

Kingston St Mary