So it begins. The idea that this is going to be all done and dusted in two years is completely unrealistic. This negotiation between the UK and the EU is going drag on for a very long time, unless Theresa May walks away with no deal, or a deal which the majority of her own party is unlikely to support.
It's a very depressing state of affairs that it has come to this, as it should never have happened at all (see the previous discussion on the UK referendum
for all the reasons why not), but the whole situation has already become very adversarial, with flames largely being fanned by the British Government.
It was no surprise to me that Donald Tusk's understandably downbeat response to Theresa May's letter today included talk of financial payments that the UK would still have to make as part of its deal to leave the EU. It's logical that a budget drawn up to include the UK's contribution would require the UK to provide some kind of financial compensation to the EU upon its departure, yet somehow this has managed to send the anti-EU politicians into a fit of pique.
It was also no surprise that other EU member states would start laying down some tough bargaining chips. The Spanish, for example, have raised the issue of Gibraltar again
, and this has led to fury in the Conservative Party, despite the fact it was obviously going to become an issue. Are these politicians really so angry or is synthetic rage? In addition, they are behaving very hypocritically, given that Theresa May adopted a thinly veiled attempt to blackmail other EU member states over cooperation regarding security in the letter she wrote on Wednesday.
I find it extremely disappointing that the UK is going down the road to isolationism and failing to think through the consequences of its approach to these negotiations. What do the rest of you think? Is there any constructive way out of this mess (apart from just annulling the referendum result, which, regrettably, will not happen)? Or has the way in which the British Government has decided to approach these negotiations already, as I believe, consigned the UK to a hard Brexit, which will have severe consequences for so many people, even if many of them have yet to realise it?