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Given that the uncertainty created by Brexit has resulted in the transfer of quite a lot of economic activity and investment from the UK to the EU, there is an argument that allowing that uncertainty to continue is in the EU's interests.

There is also the argument that allowing the status quo to continue for another few months - with European elections in June, older voters dying off, younger voters joining the rolls, and generally getting everyone bored with the whole Brexit thing could allow the status quo to persist almost indefinitely.

"Kicking the can down the road" has a long and honoured tradition in politics of postponing difficult decisions, allowing general apathy to sink in, and allowing for some quiet deal making behind the scenes for taking some of the bitterness and sting out of the situation - much to the frustration of partisans on both sides.

So if the EC wants to let everyone off the hook, they could "graciously accede" to a UK government request for an A.50 extension, even if there is as yet no clear resolution of the issue. The unanimity requirement could become problematic, however, if some EU Members start asking the question "what are we getting for our forbearance in this matter?"

If unanimous agreement is not forthcoming, the UK government could threaten to revoke A.50, only to invoke it again once they have decided on a clear course of action - in line with the ECJ ruling. That would really piss everyone off, although not much could be done about it. I suspect the EU would then simply move onto the next order of business, and leave the UK to ruminate or smoulder on their options on their own.

Any attempts by the UK to re-open negotiations would be resisted, and it would become simply a case of "take it [May's deal] or leave it, we have other fish to fry". The UK's standing in the EU, and the world, would plummet, but most people in the UK would be oblivious to that. Eventually the political impasse in the UK would resolve itself, one way or another, and a decision would be made to a great yawn of indifference elsewhere. Sometimes it is best for politics to become boring for a whle.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 14th, 2019 at 10:31:37 AM EST
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