Brexit, aka, the UK Shoots Itself


What Rod says:

It’s also a lack of willingness to be the one that gets the blame.

Imagine if she did actually do this, just call the whole thing off in the interests of strengthening our hand and coming back when we have a cohesive idea and strategy instead of rushing into it (or better yet actually taking the role we are/were supposed to have and be a European centre of power and reform the damned thing from the INSIDE!!!:S)

She’d be crucified, accused of betrayal blah blah.

Imho she’s already going to be crucified no matter what.

I think there’s also an ego thing going on, because this is her deal.

Also, I get the impression she genuinely thinks this is the best that can be done, and maybe from one point of view it is.

I also think Chamberlain had that impression too, and from one point of view he was - arguably- right (had Hitler kept to the terms of the deal that was hammered out, arguably WW2 wouldn’t have happened.)

In both cases however, what we need is someone a little crazy, not so institutionalised, who has some sort of vision and is willing to put their neck on the line.

Churchill and Thatcher were like that. in many respects they were horrible people, but they were goddamned leaders.

I’m just imagining this current bunch of jokers in 1982, reacting to Argentinian aggression…:(


Let’s not forget we’ve already had one MP murdered. I don’t blame them for being a bit afraid of the backlash.


I can’t say May’s position is enviable. Whatever she does, half the country will hate her for it.


Right, but I dare say the half that would ‘love her’ for a no-deal Brexit (or whatever they think they want), will also hate her when the economy crashes, food and provisions cost double and they can’t buy anything.


I don’t think any more than a small vocal minority will ‘hate’. I think that’s good to keep in mind.


So the Gibraltar issue is becoming clearer. It seems the U.K. Went behind the UK-Spain negotiations to include a Gibraltar clause in the WA that Spain disagrees with.

It’s risky for the U.K. to do that, but I also do not see the rationale from our government demanding a separate Gibraltar negotiation. It makes little sense, since it’s obvious the issue is closely tied to Brexit and it’s EU policy that Brexit is negotiated in block. And I do not think it evens works as an internal political move (Socialist voters do not have Gibraltar as a main concern).

On a personal note, I always found Spanish sable rattling around Gibraltar ludicrous given the existence of Ceuta and Melilla (which -not surprisingly but incongruously- people upset about Gibraltar don’t see problematic at all).


What was the gist of the inserted clause? Why would the UK do that, seems like it is bound to cause trouble.


It basically says that whatever is negotiated in the WA and the final trade deal applies to Gibraltar.

Spain wants Gibraltar to be out of the regular negotiations and instead to engage on bilateral negotiations. I think the fear is that bilateral negotiations would not be allowed in that framework.

But it is a weird request by Spain, imho. The EU is dealing with the UK and Gibraltar is part of the UK. It defies logic that it would be separated into a parallel negotiation. Just focus on negotiating your position whithin the framework of the Brexit negotiations (Spain would have veto power on the final trade deal anyway).

Given what’s happened with Ireland, I think Spain’s position (as much as I find the whole Spanish position towards Gibraltar disingenious) would be stronger if the whole negotiation depended on a satisfactory outcome.

But I also don’t understand why the UK did introduce the clause behind the negotiator’s back, since it seems to serve little real purpose. All I can think of is that it plays to hard Brexiteers (the whole crisis re. Spain will help sell the deal as “stronger” regarding UK nationalism).

It’s probably all smoke and mirrors and everything will be settled over the weekend. It’s a little bit annoying to see the government chest punding like this over such an issue, though.


For withdrawal purposes, maybe, but it makes sense for the future negotiation. Gibraltar may be “part of” the UK, but so are the Cayman Islands. There’s no reason Gibraltar would automatically be part of any future trade agreement, any more than, say, the Isle of Man would be.


Yes, but you can include that language in the trade deal anyway, specially having veto power as Spain would have. Why attack it in a separate negotiation that could finish earlier or later than the overall trade deal? What would happen then regarding the backstop and implementation period with such territories?


Great recap of the many disingenuous statements on the ease of negotiating a Brexit trade deal.


Need a bit of a laugh so you don’t cry? Charlie Stross is on it.

My favorite is the North Korea-Scotland swap, but invading Gibraltar is pretty good too.


This is a good analogy.



So the above is being answered. May’s ‘my deal or not Brexit’ is not bringing Tory eurosceptics on board. This is quite bad for her.


The political debate seems remarkably dishonest to me. Politicians arguing against the WA are treating it like it is the final deal, rather than a definition of the relationship for a limited period. It’s a transition period, something which looks to me entirely unavoidable, except by cancelling Brexit instead. Are those opposed to the WA opposed to any transition period of any kind? If not, what sort of relationship did they envision during that transition period?


I think they envisioned a status quo style transition ( no change whatsoever, except for voting power in the EU) and no forced backstop regarding NI (that is, nothing that would give the EU any extra leverage during the final negotiations).


The part that is the backstop will be a final arrangement, unless Ireland/the EU agree that some new technology solves the border problem. That part severely constrains what any future relationship can look like.


But the backstop was agreed long before now, right? So the WA is basically no change on that score. And (still) no one has described the unicorn solution.


It was laid out in slightly more ambiguous terms, but yes. Many of us read the backstop agreed in December and said ‘well, we’re staying in the Customs Union then’. For some reason - and you’ll have to dig into the political reporting to try to understand why - this only became worth resigning over recently.