by Frank Schnittger
Sat Dec 9th, 2017 at 07:04:18 PM EST
I'm beginning to wonder whether we have over-estimated the power of the Brexiteers and associated media. Here is a selection of front page headlines in UK media:
THE TIMES: "May bounces back" - May's position actually strengthened??!!?
FT: 'May's triumph blunted by Tusk warning on tough choices ahead' ... Triumph???
Daily Mail: "Rejoice! We're on our way" - little indication that a hard Brexit has been all but ruled out
DAILY MIRROR FRONT PAGE: 'Mrs Softee' - mildly critical
DAILY TELEGRAPH: "The price of freedom" - some indication of the compromises made
The Independent highlights just how much work there still is to be done on the post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the EU
Guardian:"Deal is done but EU warns of more delays"
EXPRESS: "Huge Brexit boost at last" 'nuff said
i:"Britain sets course for soft Brexit"
Saturday's Sun: leads on an attack on EastEnders star Jessie Wallace - "Glass attack on TV Kat" - with a minor headline "Champagne Brexfast" welcoming an historic agreement
STAR: "Jungle `bully' Dennis gets record complaints" - no mention of Brexit
It seems as if most Brits/Brit media are still no more interested in what Brexit actually means than they were when they voted for it. The details are of no interest. May can do more or less what she wants so long as she meets her campaign pledge to leave the EU. Brexit can be hard or soft, or purely cosmetic, it hardly seems to matter.
Can you imagine Corbyn getting a similarly easy ride if he were PM? Just as in the USA, IOKIYAR - It's OK if you're a Republican, it seems like any Brexit is ok if you are a Conservative ABOKIYAC. No wonder the EU sees no need to make any great concessions.
For an EU media perspective on the outcome see:
Suck it up, Britain: now you know how to negotiate with the EU
The announcement this morning that Britain and the EU are finally ready to start actual negotiations is welcome news for Europeans. Almost 18 months after the referendum, the Brits have done what every reality-based observer knew they would have to do eventually: they have buckled.
By giving in to each and every EU demand, the May government is showing that it is finally learning to behave like the junior partner it is. Brussels and EU member states are far too polite and constructive to say so out loud, but for the next decade or so the default position for Britain in its dealings with the EU is simple: you suck it up.
On Friday morning, major European news outlets such as Le Figaro in France and Die Zeit in Germany did not even lead their online editions with the breakthrough in Brussels. This reflects just how less important Brexit is for Europeans. But as Britain's preferences become clear this lack of interest may change and so might political tensions.
There is no wish to "punish" Britain; why would you punish somebody for cutting off their own arm? Feelings of denial, shock or anger in Europe seem largely gone, too, and, these days, sentiment in EU corridors is perhaps best described as genuine pity. You wish this degree of helplessness on your enemies only. And in spite of all the insults, blackmail, hostility and ineptitude over the past few years many in Europe still see the British as friends.
The big question is whether this will still be the case in five years, once the reality of Brexit sinks in on both sides of the Channel.
My expectation is still that the reality of Brexit will drive a huge wedge between the EU and UK, and that a comprehensive trade deal might still be a very long way off.