Monday, September 04, 2017

On the Brexit negotiations ...

I voted Remain myself and would prefer not to be in this situation, but I am getting a little tired with those people in certain parts of the UK media who treat everything that comes out of the European side in the Brexit negotiations as gospel truth and dismiss everything that comes out of the British side.

Look, the EU are tough negotiators. Sometimes too tough for their own good, which is one of the reasons the EU has found it so hard to negotiate trade deals. Look at the way they flattened Greece.

I  certainly never thought the negotiations for a new relationship with the remainder of the EU when Britain leaves would be easy, which is why Brexit is a process and not an event which will be magically finished in March 2019, and some sort of transitional deal may well be in Britain's best interest.

This should not be a way of trying to get out of the referendum result or sabotage Brexit, it should be as a means of trying to make it work.

But equally, anyone with a working brain should be able to recognise that some if not all of the noises coming out of Brussels disparaging the British negotiating team or position are themselves a negotiating tactic designed to put pressure on the UK government.

Take for instance the ridiculous fuss about the photograph of the negotiating teams in which the UK delegation did not have a thick pile of papers in front of them.

We have had a number of instances in British politics recently when photo-journalists got scoops because someone was carrying a pile of papers where a telephoto lens could produce a legible image of the top document. It's my understanding that many British ministers and civil servants who don't want to fall into the same trap have started carrying their papers in briefcases and leaving them in the case under the table when there are photographers around, taking them out when the meeting proper starts. It is my understanding that the UK team did indeed have plenty of papers with them, and they came out when the photographers had gone.

Those who credulously parrot everything that EU negotiators say and dismiss the accounts by the British side are not helping the UK's negotiating position. I have no problem with critical journalistic scrutiny, but it ought to be applied to both sides!

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