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I would add to those excellent extracts ....

from the Guardian's Jonathan Lis

Don't buy the Brexit hype: it's a border in the Irish Sea or the customs union

which begins

Donald Tusk's clear rejection of Theresa May's Chequers plan at the Salzburg summit yesterday should not come as a surprise. The most important lesson of the Brexit negotiation is that it is not a negotiation, and never has been. Blessed with superior size, wealth and power, the EU has been able to dictate the framework and substance of the talks, and has refused any deviation from its red lines.

and finishes:

The [UK] government has never understood the Brexit process and therefore has always botched it. It expects the EU to treat the UK both as an equally powerful third country, and as a member state still deserving the EU's protection. It is neither. And so in a battle of red lines, the UK will lose. That is the most brutal lesson of all.

and again The Guardian - Rafael Behr

The EU couldn't help May at Salzburg because she's seeking the impossible

Ultimately the EU cannot give May what she really needs, which is a Brexit model that will simultaneously satisfy the whole Tory party and win support from a majority in the Commons, without inflicting harm on the country. They cannot give her that because it doesn't exist, never did, never will.

At politics.co.uk, Ian Dunt applies his usual critical analysis:

Brexit: Brussels just got serious

But today's events suggest something has changed. You could see by May's expressions, which were even more strained than normal, that she had been taken by surprise. Things had fallen apart.

In reality, nothing has changed - Chequers was never going to happen this morning and tonight it remains something that is never going to happen - but it is extremely significant that Brussels has changed its attitude.

Perhaps they grew tired of Britain presenting Chequers as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. After all, May's shock suggests she might have really believed it would fly. We must pray that is not the case because it would suggest that she is so detached from reality that she cannot functionally perform the role of prime minister. [Emphasis added by me]

From the pieces I quote, you will realise I believe that for 27 months there is an inevitablity about the position we have reached.

by oldremainmer48 on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 08:28:04 AM EST
There is something else the Tory government has not understood. The EU may be "Blessed with superior size, wealth and power" which means it has less need to compromise, but it is also quite a different beast from your average economic super power. The EU couldn't act like a Trump even if it wanted to, because no individual has that level of power, and the whole structure is an intricate web of Treaties and laws which cannot simply be cast aside by fiat.

The Commission cannot do anything to undermine the Single Market and Customs Union because they were set up by Treaties signed by 28 sovereign governments. Even a relatively minor change would require unanimous agreement by those 28 governments, and in some countries, like Ireland, that would in turn require a referendum to approve the Treaty change.

There simply isn't time to organise that level of change, and even if there were, would the UK really wish to be held hostage to a referendum in Ireland and some other countries?

So what the UK calls the Commission's "inflexibility" is really the Commission sticking to the actual mandate it has been given by 27 governments within the framework of existing laws and Treaties. These cannot be simply wished away.

So not only is this a contest between unequal economic powers, it is conflict between two different kinds of powers: one without a written constitution and a great deal of power vested in its Prime Minister, cabinet, and civil service, and the other which needs to conform to previously enacted laws and maintain a consensus between 27 member governments and various other institutions and interests if it is to be able to operate at all.

EU leaders were willing to give Theresa May as much PR cover as they could, recognising her difficult domestic political situation, all on the basis that she would ultimately conceded a deal they could live with in due course.

But then she had a breakfast meeting with a young, brash, leader of a small state and former colony who saw no reason to allow her to renege on previous commitments and put his country's peace, stability and prosperity at risk just because she had done a dirty deal with a small, corrupt, sectarian party in N. Ireland.

That is not going to change.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 10:25:37 AM EST
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