A DEAL, a deal, my kingdom for a deal....said no Tory ever. As vital as Brexit is, the long term consequences are even more so.
The Tories are working out fast that there are two forms of trade deal. The first is geographic and the other sectoral.
A deal with, say, the EU will interfere with trade with other countries to some extent. Joining one regulatory agency means non compliance with another.
Since the stalling of the Doha round on globalisation regional harmonisation of laws and standards accelerated but this naturally creates barriers between trade blocs.
There is another way for a Global Britain and that is a global trade policy. This is not dropping tariffs and crossing fingers but achieving global regulations and standards.
At times we need laws by statute but often international trade bodies do the job well. The Warsaw Convention governs international aviation while Euratom covers nuclear matters in the EU.
If the UK called for UNECE to launch a sectoral initiative to harmonise nuclear regulations... bold but essential... the West could compete again against China and Russia for exports. Currently NATO members cannot build a nuclear reactor together – yet share nuclear weapons.
So when the Chancellor Philip Hammond rocks up at the WTO I find myself unexpectedly excited. The UK size and position in the global economy lends itself beautifully to a clearing house in global harmonisation of global scale businesses.
Yes, yes aircraft builders are private, ditto cars, even ditto train builders! But they run on rules. The question is who writes them?
When it comes to services the Chancellor may, just may have grasped it. English is the language of global services. We might find our niche in being the world's service superpower in a way the Swiss have been for private banking.
This approach offers more than any possible deal with a trade bloc. No deal Brexit is looking just that bit more sophisticated. More please!