I have received a number of angry emails criticising ‘Brexit betrayal’.
Two issues in particular have got their goat: the decision to award the contract for the blue passport to a French company, and the EU transition agreement which will see the UK remain within the Common Fisheries Policy for a further 21 months.
First, the passports.
I regret that the best bid did not come from a UK company, but I disagree profoundly with my correspondents who say the contract should have been awarded to a poorer bid just because it came from a UK producer.
I would no more criticise a neighbour who bought a foreign car because it best suited his needs and his pocket, than I would the Home Office for selecting the best offer, even though it came from France.
One of the reasons I campaigned for Brexit is because I believe that we are an outward-looking nation that benefits from free trade.
I don’t want to live in an inward-looking island that favours its own producers even though better deals could be had by its consumers elsewhere.
It is international competition that will keep our producers striving to be the most innovative and competitive.
The moment we follow President Trump down his blind alley of ‘America First’ shielding our producers from competition, we will be on the road to ruin.
Now, for the fish.
I was angry at the news that we would not be leaving the Common Fisheries Policy on 29 March next year at the same time as we leave the EU, but I had to reflect on why I was so emotional about it.
After all, the fishing industry is a tiny proportion of our economy: to put it bluntly, we have bigger fish to fry.
What is more, having campaigned to leave the EU and its Common Fisheries Policy for 45 years, how much difference will a further 21 months make?
Well, here are the answers.
The fishing industry is tiny because it was sacrificed when we joined the Common Market in 1973. There was no Common Fisheries Policy before we joined; they saw us coming, and created a policy to plunder our waters. It was considered as a price worth paying by the government of Edward Heath.
Second, there is something deeply symbolic about regaining control of our territorial waters as a great maritime nation, and to put it off is to put in doubt our will to ‘take back control’.
Which brings us to the issue of only a further 21 months.
Given past experience, such is our mistrust of our partners that we suspect that 21 month window will offer them the opportunity to alter arrangements with other coastal states like Norway and Iceland, that will bind and constrain us well beyond the 21 months.
Also, because in the past access to our waters has been offered up as a bargaining chip to secure greater economic prizes, the concession of a further 21 months is seen as a worrying sign that the habit may persist.
Only time will tell.