Merkel, Renzi and Hollande know they hold all the strongest cards [Image: Reuters].

Merkel, Renzi and Hollande know they hold all the strongest cards [Image: Reuters].


There’s one aspect of British politics in which all our representatives seem particularly bad at the moment: Putting aside our differences to see off aggression from abroad.

That’s aggression in the political sense – not terrorism or invasion.  Our problem is that our politicians can’t seem to rise above their own petty interests, even for a moment, to defend the UK against those would seek to gain a political advantage over them all.

It is a weakness; it can be exploited; and Paul Mason is right to raise it.

Whether his solution is correct, and whether it will be followed, are entirely different matters.

Britain voted for Brexit without a plan and the Europeans intend to shaft us.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi know they hold all the strongest cards.

And May’s administration goes into this critical negotiating process with an obvious weakness. It does not know whether it wants to remain in the single market.

May should seek cabinet agreement for a baseline request: to remain as part of the EEA, with a humane, time-limited restriction on free movement as Britain’s one demand, and then get on with it. She should make a statement to the commons that rules out leaving the single market.

May wants to serve a full term. But both logic and principle dictate that were she to give in to the “clean break” brigade within the cabinet, she would have to schedule an election and fight for a mandate to lead Britain into this particularly stupid form of economic suicide.

If so, whoever leads Labour should be salivating at the prospect.

Source: Europe is out to shaft Brexit Britain. Here’s how Theresa May can prevent it | Paul Mason | Opinion | The Guardian

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