German instability offers UK upper-hand


German instability offers UK upper-hand

Peter Divey argues that political instability in Europe means the UK should feel confident in riding the Brexit storm from its position of strength.  

The EU will not be mocking Theresa May anymore, at least not for her supposed weakness. Coalition talks have collapsed in Germany. The prospect of another election in Germany looms; a direct result of Merkel’s new found electoral weakness. You eventually reap what you sow.

Options are limited: a minority Government looks less tenable than ever and prospects for a different over-arching coalition seem implausible. Elections seem the only likely route. Another election will be perceived, rightly, as a judgement of her leadership. It is impossible to call, but I will venture two possible scenarios.

The German people may not like the instability of the situation and thus rally round Merkel to ensure a stable leadership. Or her popularity dips further, as she is blamed for the impasse. The Open-Door immigration policy has had a sting in the tail. The full ramifications have yet to manifest themselves.

German weakness has EU-wide ramifications. Will the December summit still go ahead? The EU was already in a stall, waiting for Merkel’s new Government. Brexit has repeatedly been placed on the back burner, under the guise of insufficient progress.

The UK has an opportunity to exploit this confusion. We must not pay more than the £20 billion pledged so far. Instead, we should withdraw completely as it has already been rejected. Stand back and watch the EU spin itself into a proper tizzy. Hammond should immediately stop pressuring May to hike up the Brexit bill payment. If this is a game of poker, May has just drawn a second King. Crank up the pressure.

Macron will secretly be pleased. Am I not the New Emperor? You can be sure that he will put himself forward as the only heavyweight left standing. It is politicking reality. EU wide there will be much jockeying to attempt a re-ordering, which is why any German decision needs to be swift and sure.

The EU response will probably be even more shrill, to prove unity is stronger than ever. We still speak with one voice. Ultimatums and threats about Brexit could ramp up. But the UK should feel confident in riding this storm from a position of strength. Bat the silly EU demands away. Politely but firmly. But will this Government do that? Will they at last recognise that the UK position has always been sturdy? Germany is to move next. Everyone is still waiting to see what the play will be.

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  • Peter Divey
    Peter Divey
    Peter Divey's dormant interest in British and American politics has been reawakened by last year's Brexit referendum result and Trump's ascendency to the White House. In his spare time he enjoys playing chess and has a growing collection of vintage wrist watches.
    • Big Les

      There’s a glaring ‘typo’ in there…… you mean ‘we should not pay more than £0.20’.

    • Bik Byro

      This article is spot on.

      • Peter Divey

        Thank you. But it did no good. We have offered more money…which has already been rejected.

        • Bik Byro

          The EU don’t do “negotiations”. They stick utterly rigidly to a fixed position and then blame the other side for not being more forthcoming when it fails.
          Actually, not a bad tactic. Maybe our lot could try it some time.

          • Peter Divey

            I would love “failure”…walk away now.

    • spinfight

      Glad someone else has cottoned on to the fact that the EU could never have negotiated on trade without knowing what the German position would be.

      And now it still won’t for some time. Hence they stalled, blustered and Theresa the appeaser walked straight into it.

      Course this raises serious questions about Hammond’s suitability. Nurses ( or maybe just one) using foodbanks don’t figure but £40 billion easy to find for the EU. Eeyore seems to have one rule for foreigners and another, much harsher one, for his own people. Or is it merely for his own reputation and skin?

      Talking of which Johnson is happy to give £400 million to Iran, who he has probably written an awfully witty poem about at some point. In return, it appears, for getting himself out of hot water over his latest gaffe. This of course is on top of the Foreign Office’s generous budget and it’s access to huge amounts of foreign aid in order to boost it’s influence.

      As a taxpayer one has to question whether this £40.4 billion is being used wisely, or merely to save the skins of gaffe prone politicians. Will another slip of either tongue cost us similar amounts? I think we should know.

      • Peter Divey

        Politicians forget it is not Monopoly money and are prone to give it away needlessly…or as a salve to ease regret or blunder. Sometimes they confuse generosity with policy, or perhaps they can no longer determine the difference?

        • Vengeful Fruitcake

          It’s not generosity when what you are giving away is other people’s money.

          • Peter Divey

            They have caved…£20 billion was not enough…have some more. The EU are laughing all the way to the bank.

    • John Smith

      Merkel has this coming, she needs to stand down
      The UK MSM has not been following the turmoil in europe
      Yesterday was the 5th day of rioting in Paris, not a peep from the Beeb
      They were late to the Merkel story

      • Peter Divey

        She could walk, or even be pushed off stage. We will see. You are correct about the dull reflexes of the MSM. Comment Central was discussing the Merkel induced Brexit stall as far back as early September. The BBC…credibility fading fast. Bet everything on the wrong horse, even now…

    • bobworth

      Simply more of the ludicrous evidence-free….. and increasingly desperate…. wishful thinking by the Brexshitters.

      As explained endlessly by a succession of commentators this evening, and as is blindingly obvious, Merkel will be far less likely to take any domestic political risks while she’s in a weakened position. That means sticking even more rigidly to a hard line.

      • Peter Divey

        Exactly the point of my final paragraph. Now there will be even more noise and bluster, an impressive show of political pyrotechnics to be sure. But more than ever, nothing of real substance.

    • fred finger

      What actions we can take are set by the courage of the gov we have. To tell the UK public the truth, the EU is not serious about a deal, would mean having some one almighty row. May have shown she is always going to say, things are progressing to wards a deal. She is not a risk taker. The main EU argument over Ireland has no legs. Why do you need to argue over the border arrangements if the trade deal will make it unnecessary.

      The situation has got to the point where it is nearly impossible to predict the possible outcome. Will the EU concede even if paid a lot of money, could we get into EFTA, will we get FoM. We might as well flip a coin, go for negotiations longterm or as an alternative tell the EU get serious or Fu** Off.

      • Peter Divey

        Hi FF, you are right, the voter needs to know that the EU is not acting in good faith. May will not lead into the next GE so i do not see why she is so cautious. In her nature i suppose. But i think Boris may be on to something. Agree to pay a huge Brexit bill, then see what the EU has to offer. Because nothing is agreed until everything is agreed we could always walk back if the offer is c**p. Will put the ball into the EU court. Merkel or no, decisions will have to be made.

        • fred finger

          I don’t go along with the offer a large amount and see what happens. In this sanctimonious age, the amount offered will be seen as a minimum we MUST pay no matter what the final deal, how crappy. I am still inclined to the risky, ‘start talking trade or we walk’.

          • Peter Divey

            That is of course better…but as you say, this Govt. does not have the courage.

    • here’s looking at you kid

      Hell will freeze over before May seizes this golden opportunity to turn the tables on the EU.
      In her mind the UK cannot succeed in getting a good deal without handing over an extortionate sum of our hard earned national wealth.
      She’s a three time loser and must be dispensed with PDQ.

      • Peter Divey

        I have this fantasy…that the PM suddenly realises that the EU have been taking the p**s, and becomes “bloody difficult”. If only…

    • lojolondon

      The Germans who are anti-Merkel are well and truly anti-Merkel. They will never, ever vote Merkel. Her share will only go down. Good riddance.

      • Peter Divey

        Interesting…Merkel is apparently pushing for a new election. Giving everybody…EU style…a chance to get it right second time round?

    • Tom S

      Should not offer a penny more – in fact reduce the offer. They need to sell their cars, wine and everything else. Let them stew. Walk away. We have the high ground – use it!

      • Peter Divey

        I fear our voice is lost amid all the noise…

    • fourmyle of ceres

      encouraging the muzzie invasion will be the downfall of the EUSSR


      just try getting rid of them

      • Big Les

        You won’t be able to because they will have a vote and ‘demography’ will have replaced ‘democracy’. If this isn’t addressed soon, then the west is fucked.

      • Peter Divey

        It has come back to bite her….but too late as you say.

    • Tim

      If ever there was the proverbial gift horse … The author is right about these ridiculous pre-conditions to talks and the timing – it was all predicated on a strong Merkel post October election coming in and laying down the law and us caving in, in time for the December summit. Well that’s not going to happen now, despite Barnier silly little threats – she’s holed below the water line. If ever there was a time for a bit of grit and determination. Barnier & Co. need a good couple of months sweating while we withdraw from discussions. His job application to replace Juncker will be almost shot if he can’t get us to talk and he will be beside himself wanting to get a deal done so he can look good and parade around in front of the new Napoleon. Aside from that, the rest of the 27 will be tearing lumps out of each other with the dawning realisation of just how much the EU farago costs to keep going. Whilst Germany can afford it, I can see France, Italy and the Benelux countries really enjoying paying out to cover the British contribution. This is glorious payback for all the years of snide derision against us. Let’s sit back and enjoy the spectacle. BTW Juncker seems to have been terribly quiet these last couple of weeks – has he been on bender?

      • Tom S

        Spot on, Tim. These self appointed, self serving bureaucrats are so divorced from reality they do not grasp that whatever they do to hurt the UK will hurt the industries of the other 27 as much if not more. Cars, wine, food, clothes and most other things we buy from EU members are in abundant supply from around the globe and generally of as good as, if not better, quality. Tough it out. I’m also strongly of the opinion that the UK should start serious trade agreement talks around the world. It’s said to be not permitted until we leave the EU but the idiots we are dealing with are not playing by any reasonable rules and what can we do anyway? Also about time UK media stood up for the country instead of rushing to trumpet every set back. Churchillian bulldog spirit required. ✌️✌️✌️

      • Peter Divey

        Well done Tim, brilliantly put. Sounds like we have already caved, the Cabinet meeting today will have increased the offer…unbelievable!

    • getahead

      Hammond is completely, 100%, pro-EU, anti-Britain. Whatever is happening in Germany will in no way affect his despicable behaviour.

      • Peter Divey

        He is an out and out Globalist. Rather hand a big wad to the EU than ease the burden of austerity on the British people.

        • Jolly Radical

          Well, this is the issue. How can we talk about our “government” acting in our interests, when we know that they will instinctively act in the EU’s interests?

          You can’t ask a donkey to play the trombone – especially if it’s a donkey with an instinctive aversion to brass instruments in general.

          • Peter Divey

            Hi JR, I have heard that the Cabinet today agreed to pay more…and the total fiscal cost of Brexit is to remain secret. Don’t want to upset the natives! The Budget will be a lot of fiddly, twiddly nonsense…with Billions more going to the EU on the quiet. I get annoyed.

            • Jolly Radical

              It’s almost as if the government are trying to do something they don’t really believe in . . . !

            • Peter Divey

              May has doubled her offer to £36 billion (according to leaked Continental sources)…which has already been rejected out of hand by the EU! Will this Govt. never learn. Offer more and the EU will expect more. Problem is they have thus far always been proved right. Brexit, none of them really want it….

    • Dr Strabismus of Utrecht

      Looks like Merkel’s failure to form a government may have come at just the right time for us. The British negotiators should relax, and not be too hasty to increase their offer. The EU’s position is a lot weaker now.

      • Peter Divey

        Exactly so, but will we utilise this opportunity?

    • Masakatsu Agatsu

      The reason why Hammond wants to press for more money to be offered to the EU eludes me completely. May has made an offer to break the impasse, not one I personally agree with but there you go. The EU has rejected it. Time to walk away and get on with preparations elsewhere.

      • Peter Divey

        never a truer word…

    • Hampsteadpinko

      I am not sure it is an upper hand, more like a better hand.

      • Peter Divey

        True…but i wish for politicians to read this who will feel sufficiently bolstered so as to rise up from their knees. The EU is not an immovable force, cracks aplenty do i spy.

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