LibLink: Nick Clegg: Summer posturing has done little to advance Brexit

Writing in the Financial Times, Nick Clegg gives his assessment of where we are with Brexit at the moment. He is unimpressed with the Government’s Brexit papers, describing them as technocratic, insubstantial and lacking in leadership. He also sees Labour’s so called great shift on the single market as nothing more than a statement of the obvious.

The EU doesn’t escape criticism either, as he points out that they are being way too rigid on the timetable – but that, as he adds, is something that could easily have been foreseen.

There is a profound misreading among British negotiators of the psychology of their EU counterparts. This is not just the familiar difference in the political styles — the improvised repartee of Westminster versus a more formal and legalistic political culture — it relates to a deeper question: who bears responsibility? Across European capitals, there is a strongly held view that the UK has taken a decision that they wish had not happened, which they do not fully understand, and which they believe will make life harder for everyone. Some are aghast that, at a time when Europe faces US isolationism, Russian belligerence, a refugee crisis and threats from terrorism to climate change, the UK should choose to pitch everyone into an interminable navel-gazing negotiation. Not unreasonably, they believe that the overwhelming onus should be on the UK to explain what it wants from Brexit. Surely, they ask, if Brexiters have spent a lifetime campaigning to quit the EU, they should have developed answers as to how that should be achieved?

He’s not worried about the argument over money. We all knew this would happen and it’ll sort itself out. There are much bigger problems emanating from the Government’s incompetence, though.

What is more serious, because it is much more unexpected, is the petulant way in which Mrs May and David Davis, Brexit secretary, appear to believe that, having published such insubstantial papers, it is now up to Brussels to fill in all the gaps. It is difficult to exaggerate how unreasonable the UK will appear if it carries on passing the buck like this. We created the problem, yet our government seems to want to wash its hands of any serious responsibility to solve it. That is not how a great country should behave.

You can read the whole article here.

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  • nigel hunter 3rd Sep '17 - 3:45pm

    The Brexiters hate the EU. Hate over time consumes all reason, rational thought, ideas of what their actions mean until it explodes, then the consequences have to be dealt with.

  • David Franks 4th Sep '17 - 11:18am

    Heard Toxic Clegg on Today Programme Monday morning. why is the party still putting him up to represent us? He does not represent me and it would be good if he and his crew could now leave us to put back together the party they busted.

  • David, I agree with Nick, and he is just stating the obvious. He might not represent you, but many people in our party respect Nick and his views. Stop trying to pick a scapegoat for lack of electoral success from inside the party. That sort of behavior is what you get in the Labour Party, and that is where it should stay. Actually, if we look back with the benefit of hindsight, the time of the coalition were halcyon days, both compared with what came before and after it. Yes there were mistakes, but it also delivered a great many good things. Since 2015, Tim did us a great service in rebuilding our membership base, now it is up to Vince and ourselves to take the party forward and increase our influence at all levels in our society.

  • Bob (Somerset) 4th Sep '17 - 3:56pm

    I agree with Paul. I retain a great deal of respect and liking for Nick Clegg. If he’s willing to hang on in there I still see a significant future role for him in our party.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Sep '17 - 8:49am

    Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez have spoken about their son’s treatment for cancer. Antonio, now 15, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last September. He has been treated with chemotherapy and is now in remission. Telling their eldest son he had blood cancer was “one of the toughest things” the family had faced.
    Those of us who have not had to face that cannot really understand how tough that is.

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