The bitter truth is that Britain has only two viable options. It can accept a neo-colonial arrangement as a rule-taker in the customs union and the single market, under the sway of the European Court. This is where the Chequers plan will end up.
Or it can rearm (politically) and prepare to fight its way out of the EU with no illusions.
One false straw is that the EU will politely cooperate with Britain if it opts for a World Trade Organisation regime in seven months time. Another is that the Norway option can supposedly be weaponised to outflank the EU and undercut its negotiating leverage – or to “sod off Michel Barnier” in the words of one Spectator warrior.
Both notions rest on the charming assumption that the EU abides by international law. It is naive British faith that Brussels will respect our restored rights as a WTO member, or our legacy rights as a Contracting Party to the European Economic Area.
The EU has stated openly in its Article 50 notices on Brexit that it will not in fact respect international law. It has flagged a punishment strategy to be activated if the UK attempts to break free – partially or fully – from the EU’s political and regulatory orbit. You can read the documents on the Commission website.