Tom Spencer's Blog

‘Brentrance’ not Brexit

Some neologisms are helpful if they pin down meaning that needs tighter definition. Some are just sneaky. I have always disliked Brexit it gives a simple word to the previously unthinkable act of withdrawal from the EU. It sounds perfectly normal as in a fire exit or a motorway exit. However it has come to suggest that extracting Britain from the European Union would be both simple and painless. More subtly, when used in the phrase ‘deal on Brexit’ it assumes that negotiations would be only about the terms of departure. The Prime Minister however has made it clear that he seeks a successful outcome in which Britain would remain in a reformed EU. To achieve this we need to embrace the concept of ‘Brentrance’. A reformed Europe must contain new ideas as well as abandonment of old ideas. For instance it is time to review the idea of a Second Chamber of the European Parliament, made up of Members of National Parliaments, which would overcome much of the rivalry based on ignorance that bedevils parliamentary relationships in Europe at the moment.


A successful deal implies that Britain will do more of what it likes in Europe, potentially on climate change, environment and strengthening defence with the European Pillar of NATO, while doing less of detailed regulation of the minutiae.


The Government often gives the impression that it is negotiating in a world made up entirely of other Governments. Given the reluctance to embody any changes immediately in a new Treaty, the negotiation needs to include both the European Commission and the European Parliament. It is notable that while the Parliament does not get everything that it demands, it always gets something.


‘Brentrance’ lets a thousand flowers bloom, could mark a change in Britain’s long and crabby approach to matters European. If you believe in reform you will need to be open to new ideas. The Eurosceptics will hate it, but they are never going to vote for any reform that the Prime Minister can negotiate.

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  1. Tom, I would call it ‘BritIn’, rather than ‘Brentrance’, which implies that it’s a new entrance.
    But I agree with the spirit of your comment: Brexit is the wrong concept. It should be used mainly if and when the referendum turns out negative.

    Best wishes,


  2. Face it, the EU is *not* going to abandon core concepts just to keep the UK in, because too many in Brussels do not *really* believe the UK & all the money it represents will truly leave.

    And that is why the UK will indeed leave the EU, even though the prospect horrifies Cameron. My guess is that the UK will be back in EFTA once again by this time next year.

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