David Davies has been set an unenviable task.
His role as BREXIT secretary is to secure a deal between the EU and the UK that meets both parties satisfaction. Sorry, was that ‘both’ parties ? The EU is 26 other member states. The UK is a divided country and a precarious parliament. It’s hard enough negotiating between two parties but 27 is impossible and Ireland sits between being an EU state and having the only physical boundary with what will soon be a non-member state.
Then there’s appeasing the ‘BREXIT-eers’ and the already disappointed ‘Remainers’. Even the BREXIT-eers are split into a number of factions, some with quite extreme views; others seeking a more reasonable – even amicable – parting of the ways.
Let’s just put that to one side for a moment.
If it was between two people, say, Prime Minister Theresa May and the President of the EU, Jean Claude Juncker, these people with little common ground both in their beliefs and their view of their duty to the people they represent.
JCJ has the added pressure of a wavering Italy and a struggling, sometimes chaotic Spain and a financially bereft Greece, all of whom will be looking at how the UK fares both with negotiations and the aftermath of BREXIT with interest. So it’s in his mind to make life as difficult as possible to keep them in line. Then there’s a Germany with lots of muscle within the EU who will want the trade between itself and the UK to keep flowing freely.
From the UK perspective the negotiation is simple. We want all of the good bits but none of what is perceived by the 52% as the bad bits.
With very little room for compromise on either side, there is only one way this can end.
To mix metaphors, the UK is playing poker without any cards, and is bluffing while they’re face up so that everyone around the table can see that they’ve got a high nine. Then in the end game – chess for the purposes of this anology – the UK will use the St. Georges defence and hole up to protect the King while making little or no attacking moves, until any argument it did have will be futile and/or too little too late.
A negotiation starts from a position of strength to engender compromise, it doesn’t start with ‘I’d quite like this but I don’t want to lose that.’ The UK will be a country divided, and it’s parliament will follow in the same vein. At that point the Prime Minister will become isolated, and both she and her BREXIT Minister of choice will be drinking from the same poison chalice.
HOW it wasn’t obvious that with this outcome only lay madness is unclear. WHAT the end result is likely to look like is even more so. The effect and uncertainty will have severe consequences on the property industry, initially in terms of activity, later in terms of prices. Watch this space.