As the Brexit talks grind on I have taken two views. One that its all to be expected, the two sides will disagree,snipe and be rude to each other and in true EU fashion on deadline day the clocks will be stopped and the adults in the room will hammer out a compromise deal. Acceptable to both sides. So where we are is nothing to worry about, the seeming impasse, the mess ,this is what happens.
But then I’m a Brexit supporter which means in my heart of heart I don’t trust the EU. Naively, sticking to their rule book, they didn’t give Cameron the modest reforms he wanted so he lost the referendum. They haven’t a clue how to handle the anti liberal tendencies in Hungary and Poland. They have are even further off the pace when it comes to the Europe wide refugee crisis. The Euro is profiting one country at the expense of all the others. The countries play sweetheart tax deal poker against each other-the EU is about to Ireland to court for not taxing Apple.
In recent weeks our not so spring like PM, May has dual tracked and talked of new initiatives and money to get Brexit talks going and planning for a no deal,off the cliff scenario. As every time we seem to be making progress the EU smoothies come back and talk of divisions,more clarity, a sense of purpose, realism etc; May is therefore making the right noises. The EU cannot believe with its stronger hand it will not get everything it wants. So we must tell them,it takes two to tango and only one to go it alone.
Which takes me back to Yanis Varoufakis. The pin up economist ,Greek finance minister who last year wrote a book about the failure of his bankrupt government to strike an acceptable deal with the EU. The resulting deal has meant a contraction of the Greek economy by 26%, similar unemployment and a continuation of the debt crisis. Hardly a solution. But the EU got what it wanted.
And Varoufakis tells why, They stall negotiations, they get you on sequencing, they deliberately confuse you on who to negotiate with, they exploit any divisions on your side,the negotiators are just there to rubber stamp not negotiate, they wrap you in their net and then destroy you by a 1000 cuts, they will suspend negotiations with the excuse to check. If you play by their rules you fall into their trap. The solution Varoufakis says is to play hard ball,not to negotiate. Something insecure Greece was in less of a position to do than the UK.
The amazing thing is that all his predictions made before Brexit negotiations had started have come to pass. It would seem that for both sides its not a question of a hard or soft break but a hard or soft landing as we go off the cliff,no doubt shouting and blaming each other as we are now. For the EU it will be yet another failure, for the UK a very grey, new dawn.