“EU on the Ropes!”

The Sunday Express carried this ‘headline’ …

‘We’ve got them on the ropes!’ Why EU will NEVER get its £90bn Brexit divorce bill’

BRITAIN is winning the Brexit negotiations and personal attacks by Brussels simply prove the EU “doesn’t like it up them”, say Government insiders.

Sunday Express 10/09/17


Like so many stories, headlines and preferred tag-lines hint at a more complex reality. If we think back to news stories over the last few months …

Britain concedes it will have to pay EU exit bill – Financial Times – 14/07/17

Britain Will Have to Pay an EU Exit Bill, But It’s Up to the EU – 27/08/17

Now whilst the lacking-in-information referendum of 2016 did not make this ‘divorce bill’, and the anticipated costs, overly clear it nevertheless, was something that the triggering of Article 50 would produce.

Whilst not seeking to support one side over the other, it seems to me that some of the arguments for not dealing with the UK’s liabilities to its former partners, could be thought of in the same way as someone attempting to avoid paying their dues.

As the Institute for Government states…

The EU is an organisation with assets and liabilities.The EU has been clear that when the UK leaves, it is expected to pay off its share of the liabilities: this is referred to as the Brexit ‘divorce bill’ or exit bill.

So, on one level, it seems that the opening headline, is supporting a particular mentality viz even if you have made promises, fight and argue hard enough and you can back-out of any deal you have agreed to.

At another level we see a country (its political leaders and specific vocal political pundits) bringing into question ‘honour’, the value of keeping promises and not meeting agreed liabilities.

We chose to leave the ‘club’, what right do we now have to dictate its rules and its behaviour?

What right do we have to demand that the agreements and processes we signed to in the beginning are now to be dropped because we are more important than the club we have just left?

I am not for one minute suggesting that negotiation is not a good thing; nor am I saying that one side is right and the other wrong. My point is one of ethics, promises and honourable behaviour. If we cannot expect of such of ourselves how can we protest the right to receive it from others.

My understanding, albeit a possibly short-sighted one, is that the EU want to resolve how the exit bill is calculated before entering into further promises and agreements with us. In other words, deal with your past liabilities before exploring future possibilities.

However, re my tax bill for this financial year – I’ll pay it once I have received an undertaking that my work diary for 2018/2019 will be filled.




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