Saturday, December 26, 2020


An unpleasant divorce is probably better than an acrimonious agony. The Brexit agreement has zero sex appeal, the way separations go. Besides, the 500 pages will be read by none and only used, in part, when needed or convenient.

It is hard to see what the United  Kingdom has achieved. The prime minister claims that Britain got its sovereignity back. Nobody ever thought it had been lost.  Ascot, the parades and the hats survive. The Crown is the ultimate depositary of the country's DNA.

The agreeement sent Mrs. Thatcher's Single Market to the gallows, together with her handbag. Her dishevelled current successor decided to run the illusion rather than the waves.

This Brexit is a nightmare:  cross sector retaliation, arbitration (versus litigation), requirement for passports, deportation, etc. create a minefield that will be hard to navigate. Too many clauses have a temporary time-limit and others are shaky. From fisheries to Ireland, the road is a slippery: one which might trap goodwill and reliability.

The EU and the UK are together in too many fora to become structurally divided, but the Churchillian amorous quarels are gone for ever. They are a thing of the past.  Mrs. Thatcher was a partner who worked on European nerves, still she was part of the fanily: a Mary Poppins on steroids.  Boris Johnson is a Trumpian politician whom Europeans love to hate.  Nevertheless, nothing lasts forever. Remember de Gaulle's veto against the UK joining the Common Market (La chaise vide)?  Some are of the opinion that, after all, the General was right, that Britain and the continent did not belong together.  Others differ.

It can stll be argued that Britain deserves its place in Brussels, more so than Hungary for instance.  One does not have to return to the Magna Carta or the centuries of mutual hate/love to be convinced of the desirability of London's participation in European affairs. 

Brexit is the result of an arrogant miscalculation of David Cameron, who fits more in a Wodehouse novel than in Westminster. It is hard to imagine that the undoing could be revisited in the short-term. The Europeans, who disagree about most, are united in their contempt for the Brexiteers who ended up being even more unsufferable than the Visegrad hooligans.

The clock is turned back for now. Both the EU and the UK are exhausted, relieved that the nightmare is over but worried because of the booby-trap that may be hidden in these 500 unholy pages. Divorce can be harder to navigate in the absence of a pre-nuptial or a clean-cut. This curtain call could have been avoided if it were not for the arrogance of the fools who set it unnecesarely into motion.

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