UK, to EU: Go to h*ll, under our terms

Warrington vs Leeds, 13March2015, Photo: Anthony Moretti

All signs point to British prime minister Theresa May alerting top EU officials in a few days that her country is ready to begin talks to leave the union.

But reports out of the UK suggest that the British government wants it both ways — out of the European Union and with divorce terms it prefers. That combination might be unattainable, especially if EU officials — operating from a position of strength — don’t compromise to a degree sufficient to the Brits.

Just how adamant is Ms. May to getting a UK-friendly agreement? Reuters notes that British lawmakers have been told that the prime minister

has said she would be prepared to walk away from negotiations without an agreement because “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

Yes, chaos would follow, with the UK still leaving but having to operate under World Trade Organization rules. That would be a clumsy arrangement, and one that could be risky. As the Independent reports, a government report

warns that reverting to World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs would cause “a major economic shock to the UK, with serious consequences for companies, consumers, jobs and prices” – including a 2.9 per cent rise in food prices.

Smart lady, one of her supporters says, Ms. May is for taking a no-nonsense approach to the UK-EU split.

Not so fast, according to the Guardian, which suggests leaders of both the Brexit and the Remain campaigns have been disingenuous in recent months. The Remain camp continues to stick its head in the sand and refuse to notice that

the reality of daily life for many people and communities in modern Britain. They fail to grasp that the current economic model is not working for many people.

But the Brexit leaders

continue to argue that the UK can enjoy all of the benefits of membership, such as frictionless, tariff-free access to the single market, while bearing none of the burdens.

The burden is soon to fall on the negotiating teams.

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