4th January 2018
The now famous graph of the EU’s Brexit negotiation team is an impressive exercise in subtle rhetoric.
The UK’s “red lines” are explicitly stated.
And as one goes downward (of course) from left to right one can only blame the UK for adopting such positions.
At the base of the stair is where the UK must end up, by reason of its “red lines”.
But this outcome is not only because of the UK’s positions.
The EU also has its own red lines – but you will not see them in the graph.
For example: all four freedoms, the single market is indivisible, no cherry-picking, etc.
Those red lines are taken as given.
And so it is the UK which looks unreasonable and indeed foolish.
Of course, there is something in this: the UK has adopted a number of positions and seems unwilling (or unable) to think through the implications of those positions.
The graph shows those implications well.
But what is not said explicitly is more important than what is said – and these unstated red lines exemplify how the EU has (so far) controlled the terms of the Brexit negotiations.
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