(31/07/2020) This thoughtful piece from Brexit Watch reminds us of the fact that we are still enmeshed in the EU via the Withdrawal Agreement . . . we are not out of the woods and there are still plenty of legal thickets to negotiate before we can reach the "sunlit uplands".
Mr Gove as co-chair of the all-powerful EU-UK Joint Committee (which has power to overule our Parliament and Courts) can by agreement with with his EU co-chair counterpart effectively interpret / adjust the withdrawal agreement, but I'm not sure how the EU's co-chair may be expected to agree to do so.
In similar vein this article from The Critic explores the scope for the EU to exploit the ECJ's interpretation of the agreement on Northern Ireland in order to ham-string the whole UK under many EU rules. As the author notes, it may be a bit ominous that the EU have not emitted any "squeals of outrage" concerning Mr Gove's implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, so they think it's all to their advantage.
(August 2020) It's true that Boris Johnson has renegotiated Mrs May's withdrawal agreement, primarily around the now-infamous Northern Ireland backstop, but the clauses that ensure that we remain liable for many years for all our financial liabilities to support the EU banking system whilst repudiating any right to any returns on these investments remain. In the aftermath of the great Covid pandemic the risks have multiplied.
When choosing the above picture I was torn between trying to illustrate three aspects:
(a) the hideous complexity of the many wheezes by which the EU has sought to paper over the financial cracks associated with the single currency
(b) the awful truth that to make it work, all the Euro nations need to be jointly liable for each others' "profligacy"
(c) the possibility that the whole edifice will (to mix metaphors) end up gurgling down the plughole sooner or later (depending largely upon German readiness to accept that joint liability)
In the end I plumped for the idea the EU nations are merely all in the same financial bed together - I'll leave it to you to assess whether that is going to have a good outcome.
Fortunately I don't have to attempt to explain why or how the Euro is still heading for the proverbial high-jump, as the good people at the Bruges Group have done this for me (hint: you need to set aside some time for this).
Now if you have actually followed the link and read the article then it's a fair bet that "this is complicated" is rather a mild version of the expression that really springs to your mind. However, we can be reasonably sure that before the end-game is reached it will inevitably become more complex still, as the EU applies more layers of paper over ever-widening cracks.
The good news is that anyone can grasp the simple risk imposed by that complexity: very few people will understand how the EU financial system is failing until that failure hits us between the eyes. It will inevitably be covered over by the EU powers until the last, as they try to prevent the triggering of a disorderly collapse.
I've no idea if/when the end-game will play out but I do suggest that the more clear blue water we can put between the UK's financial arrangements and the Eurozone/EU, the better the UK will be served - a Euro collapse none-the-less would be a traumatic experience both for the EU nations themselves and for their trading partners. The UK could not escape the effects but we might mitigate them, depending on the results of our exit negotiations.
Does this risk figure on Mrs May's radar?