12 Rules for how NOT to Negotiate a Successful Brexit

What shapes the surreal mindset of Britain’s anti-EU brigade?

What shapes the surreal mindset of Britains anti-EU brigade? - Credit: Archant

A concise compilation of the delusions shaping the surreal mindset of Britain's anti-EU brigades as they head into the negotiating phase

1: Don't Be So Blatantly Obvious

The Brexiteers are amazingly delusional. They seem to compete with one another incessantly, usually to launch the latest, highly transparent scheme to dupe other nations. They don't understand how, with their ill-placed bravado, they make themselves a global laughing stock.

2: Don't Assume central and eastern European Nations Can Be Bought Off

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Seriously? Throwing Poland and Hungary some defence money out of the UK'S global aid budget, to buy votes for a sweet Brexit deal? Not even Jaros?aw Kaczynski is that cheap and without principle (one hopes).

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3: Stop Talking About 'Win-Win' Situations

Large nations – from the United States to India – lining up to do grand deals with the UK? Dream on. A hint: anytime a Brexiteer talks about 'win-win,' all they are signalling is their profound lack of strategy and realism.

4: Don't Threaten Other Nations with Self-Immolation

Cutting corporate taxes in the UK? Re-positioning the UK as another Singapore? Good luck with that, too. Exactly who will fall for that desperate ploy, carrying all the hallmarks of a Hail Mary pass in American football? It certainly won't help keep European companies in the UK, or offer non-EU companies a dependable bridge into the EU market.

5: Being Cocksure Signals Desperation

Another amazing feature about the promoters of Brexit is that they seem to seriously believe that they hold all the cards in their hand. Or that the world owes them to get away with their flight of fancy, yet again. In reality, they hold as many cards in their hand as Arsenal in international competition.

6: Don't Whine So Much

The promoters of Brexit are really schizophrenic: They boast that, now fully sovereign, they are atop the world. A moment later, as soon as their pipedreams are challenged, they whine endlessly about other nations being out to victimize or 'punish' the UK.

7: Understand the Difference Between Punishment and Self-Punishment

Nobody is forcing the UK to pursue the manoeuvre it attempting. But the consequences are foreseeable and will have to be borne mainly by s/he in the UK whodunnit.

8: Nobody Can Eat Sovereignty

The constant refrain about 'sovereignty' is a thin reed on which to hang the entire Brexit edifice. The people of England are going to be sorely disappointed. Sovereignty gains them nothing in the real world. To paraphrase Brecht, 'you can't eat sovereignty.'

9: Beware the Demons You've Called Up

Once blue-collar voters find out that the whole Brexit spectacle ends up being little more than a full employment act for London lawyers and accountants, they will be properly incensed. One can only guess where they will take their frustrated emotions. Look to late-stage Weimar, and move past the 1933 date to capture the nastiness that is already shining through.

10: Get Real

The most amazing spectacle about the promoters of Brexit is that, in their unwavering pursuit of a 'grand' deal, they are determined not to take in reality. It's a bit like the Russian Communists in 1917. They ended up, quite accidentally, with a revolution – and were desperate to make the country fit the ideological precepts. See Stalin's 'Socialism in one country'.

11: Don't Throw Away a Good Deal

The most amazing spectacle put on by the promoters of Brexit is that, in their pursuit of a grand deal, they completely ignore that they already have the very best deal, right in their hands, that any nation will ever get from the EU. Following through on Brexit will turn that into a write-off.

12: ....Like Imposing Reparations on Oneself

Human history is rife with victorious nations imposing nasty reparations deals on the defeated, bleeding the latter's economy dry for at least a couple of generations. History does not know of nations who impose such deals on themselves. Herein lies the novelty of the Brexit concept.

Stephan Richter is editor-in-chief of The Globalist. Follow him @stephan_richter

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