Meeting the Article 50 deadline will require almost super-human effort—and we've frittered away months alreadyby Jonathan Lis / June 20, 2017 / Leave a comment
Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot features two characters continually discussing an event that may never happen. At the end, they resolve to go, but do not move. The comparisons with Brexit are obvious. But now the waiting is over, negotiations have begun and the protagonists are set to move, it remains unclear where they will go, how they will get there, or who will lead them.
The first day of negotiations was instructive. In the first dispute, over sequencing of negotiations, Brexit Secretary David Davis promised the “row of the summer,” but had capitulated by the evening press conference. He could not win, not only because the EU carefully and unanimously agreed its negotiating mandate months ago, but because Brussels holds the cards. They can afford to say no, and we cannot. Despite the certainty of his loss, still Davis publicised the fight. Such antics will have convinced the EU of a long-held suspicion: he is not bluffing when he talks of Britain’s superior position. He believes his own hype.