Battle lines post-Brexit

I am sure they are out there but I am yet to meet anyone who supports Brexit who does not also think we should leave the single market.

And that was reflected in the response to Theresa May's big speech.

From Pontypool market to a steel coating company in Newport (where I was filming for Wales Today), there was a mix of jubilation, quiet unexpected satisfaction and even a sense that we have gone round a full circle from those who want to leave.

Seven months on, the divisions on Brexit are still there for all to see on days like this.

Economically, there is plenty of concern from remainers about the potential impact that leaving the single market will have on manufacturing and farming in particular.


Both are still prominent in Wales and reliant on EU exports.

Theresa May says people went into the referendum with their eyes wide open. In other words, they knew that leaving the single market was part of the deal.

Others disagree with First Minister Carwyn Jones saying people did not vote to be done over, and Plaid have argued that a so-called hard Brexit was not on the ballot paper.

Politically, the first minister has a problem in that his big picture argument of wanting full and unfettered access to the single market may have become a lot more difficult.


And, as has been the case ever since the result, political leverage is also his problem when Westminster ministers have the luxury of saying they are delivering what the people of Wales voted for.

I suspect that in future it will be a case of picking your battles which, from a Welsh perspective, will be farming and regional aid.

The primary responsibility for designing funding systems currently reside in Brussels. There is a live debate about who should take on that role once the UK leaves.

Theresa May said she is not going to take any powers away from the assembly after Brexit.

The first minister's interpretation of that is farming and regional aid will be in the gift of Cardiff Bay.

But she has wriggle room. By giving Westminster the primary role in developing new farming subsidies and grants for deprived communities, she would not necessarily be taking anything away from the assembly, but simply routing control from Brussels to London.

Expect strong resistance from the Welsh Government who will argue that these are devolved issues. The big problem is that the money is not devolved, and the purse strings will be all important here.