Slope of Hope Blog Posts

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Brexit Follow-Through

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I’ve had some very surreal conversations about Brexit over the days since the unexpected vote to leave. One of the sane questions that I was asked was why the UK would delay invoking Article 50 to start the exit process, and the answer is obvious of course. France particularly is terrified that if there was to be a referendum in France then the result would be a ‘Frexit’, as the EU is even less popular in France than it is in the UK. France are therefore threatening to economically punish the UK harshly for leaving the EU, to discourage others, including themselves, from following the UK out. For the UK to invoke Article 50 before negotiating the broad strokes of an exit with that threat on the table, would be to allow France free rein to try to carry out that threat, while the UK had sacrificed the option of not leaving if the terms were too harsh.

There is increased uncertainty until Article 50 is invoked but this is a very uncertain process. It is not yet certain whether there will be another Brexit referendum, who would win that referendum if a vote is held, and what terms the UK would be leaving, in the event that the UK does actually leave. Only the hostility of the French seems assured at this stage, and with them this hostile, it’s hard to see the UK being stupid enough to surrender any bargaining chips that they might very much need later to protect themselves.