It's too late to save your career, but it's not too late to save your reputationby Ian Dunt / September 5, 2017 / Leave a comment
Welcome back, Theresa. You took an especially long holiday this summer. When you returned you had a very silly idea, which was to insist you’d continue as prime minister indefinitely. This is not going to happen, but you can do something meaningful with the time you have left. You can deliver a moderate Brexit—one which is fair by those who did not vote for it, as well as those who did.
Firstly, you need to sort out this divorce payment stuff. While you’ve been away, relations between Brexit secretary David Davis and EU negotiator Michel Barnier have become quite grim. The EU side wants evidence of progress on the divorce payment before we can discuss future trade arrangements. The British side is having a meltdown about it.
You should have done something about this months ago. We always knew we had a time problem and that two years was insufficient for what you were trying to do. Instead of neutralising the EU’s time advantage, you embraced it—like it was some weird kind of proof that you’d deliver Brexit. Then you triggered Article 50 without a plan and held a pointless general election during our negotiating window.
The EU was always going to get upset about money. We’re a net contributor, leaving during a period of acute financial sensitivity. This should have been one of the negotiating areas where we greased the wheels of progress, using our financial clout to get the Europeans onside on other matters. Instead, we strapped ourselves to the railway line in front of the oncoming train and told anyone who questioned our actions that they were being unpatriotic.
Now, you are in a conundrum. You need to use the divorce bill as leverage in ta…