Comments from @GerardAraud earlier questioning whether the U.K. can have a “Special Relationship” with the US or the EU has for me thinking we need to get better as defining what we meant by that. The EU might call it is a “privileged partnership.”
What the UK currently has with the US is privileged access to the US system: Five Eyes for intelligence, Trident for nuclear and State Department for diplomats. This is not “special favours” but a real and important strategic assset nevertheless.
What post-Brexit Britain needs to do is build a similar system of privileged access to the EU. It can’t happen as part of a trade deal but the Commission is in fact offering this for security and diplomatic cooperation. After the deal it should be picked up.
The ideal for the UK in 2030 would be the external partner of choice with privileged access to both. Five Eyes, Trident, State Department in the US. Foreign Affairs Council, EEAS, consultative roles inside the EU. The second is very much achievable.
However to do so it requires Brexiteers realising that long-term key to Brexit succeeeding is getting really good at influencing the EU, getting special deals and access from the EU. That requires dropping the loony fringe that talks about “breaking up the beast.”
Churchill’s ideal for Britain and Europe had many iterations but the one that Brexiteers should look at now is his pro-EU federation with Britain outside it position.