Peter Divey argues the EU's approach to the Brexit negotiations is like that of a used-car salesman. 

I have at last worked out the EU Brexit negotiating strategy. Michel Barnier thinks he is a car dealer. And for a special one-off model, in outstanding new condition, the price will of course be extraordinarily high. This special one-off was commissioned by the UK Government, and the EU may soon be the only possible supplier. A prototype of this daring and complexity has never before been built. Price on application only.

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The final specifications are not yet clear. Options are only limited by the imagination and budget of the buyer. Anything is possible if the price is right. Citizens' rights…pricey. "Frictionless" Irish border…pricey. Trade talks…very pricey. Transition…very pricey. Trade deal…astronomically costly. Of course, the more the better because it's only with all the bells and whistles that you achieve outstanding performance and value. And a man has to make a living, right? You would expect some profit taking. It's business.

Prime Minister May and Chancellor Hammond are buying Brexit from the EU. They are looking down the options list and ticking every feature. The price is very steep but no one else can supply what they need. It is not extortion. Supply and demand is an unrelenting master. But there are faint voices in the wind…what's that you are saying?

Why not build it ourselves? Surely not. We do not have the experience or the expertise. We do not have the confidence. The salesman keeps telling us that it is not possible. We are bound to fail. He is filling us with fear. You must make a decision quickly because time is running out. Barnier is the consummate high-pressure salesman. This way costs more but comes with guarantees and ongoing support. For even more money, of course. We think we are swayed. Can we pay in instalments? That will disguise the true cost. The wind drops, the whisper becomes a yell… he has no buyer if we walk away! It is only worth what he can get for it. He becomes a supplier with no demand. Drive a hard bargain. The wind rises again. Did the PM hear?

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