The story of plucky Britain standing up to bullying Brussels spares leavers the discomfort of admitting they voted for a con
Brexit has changed everything about Britain’s relationship with the European Union, and also nothing. For anyone trying to do business across borders newly gummed with bureaucracy, the comparison is stark and painful. But in politics, an old pattern is playing out – a cycle of suspicion and self-sabotage that began long before the 2016 referendum.
It starts with the belief that Britain does not depend on its neighbours for trade or anything else. That leads to neglect of the diplomacy required to make the partnership work. Going against the grain of economics and geography escalates every negotiation into a test of national self-esteem. Each adjustment for reality is resented as a surrender of sovereignty.