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Brexit: Are We There Yet?

by John Brian Shannon

As the Brexit negotiating process drags on perhaps Theresa May has a grand negotiating strategy - leave everything 'til the end - and then, negotiate furiously.

As the Brexit negotiating process drags on, perhaps Theresa May’s grand negotiating strategy is to leave everything until the end — and then negotiate furiously. Let us hope!

As of today, we’re 286 days from the official Brexit date and much remains to be done, and for all the squallering about it, not much has happened. At least, not that the public can see.

Yes, a final Brexit date has been set, Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to pay a £20 exit fee (or perhaps as much as 40 billion according to some reports) to the European Union, there may (or may not be) an interim period when the UK is partly in and partly out of the UK (and without EU representation during that interim period — even though the UK will continue to pay billions to the EU) no trade deal has been agreed, nor have customs issues been resolved.

And all of it built upon the principle that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ which means that the UK has effectively nothing if negotiations go awry.

Further, the Good Friday Agreement could be endangered if the ‘no agreement’ scenario comes to pass.

Not very confidence inspiring.


Perhaps All is Not Lost

Negotiators have different ways of obtaining agreements and sometimes the most effective strategy is to wait until the end of the negotiating cycle and hit ’em hard with a deal they just can’t refuse just as the last few days tick off the calendar. Which is a legitimate negotiating plan, if, if, if, that’s what the plan is.

There’s something to be said for playing ‘defence’ (watching the other side to get familiar with their tactics and devices) as EU negotiators play ‘offense’ using all their ammunition to try to slow, obfuscate, or completely derail Brexit.

In short, it might be better for the UK to let the EU expend all of its effort — and withstand that barrage — then at the last-minute, the United Kingdom suddenly offers up a trade deal that the European Union can’t pass up.

If that’s Theresa May’s strategy to deliver Brexit to UK voters, it’s a good one. But only if she and the MP’s whose constituents voted for Brexit can withstand the ongoing negotiating and media blitz for 286 more days.

Otherwise, she will fail, and so will Brexit.

Risky (if you have a weak team) and brilliant (if your team is strong)

We shall see…


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