Ne­go­ti­a­tions must fail be­tween a prag­matic Bri­tain and a vin­dic­tive EU

The Daily Telegraph - - Letters to the editor -

sir – The real and im­mov­able is­sue pre­vent­ing agree­ment in the EU ne­go­ti­a­tions is that the two sides have very dif­fer­ent ob­jec­tives.

The Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment is seek­ing a fair, mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial ar­range­ment that re­turns le­gal and po­lit­i­cal con­trol to Bri­tain, while in ev­ery other as­pect maintaining a close relationship with the EU. The Gov­ern­ment side is pre­pared to com­pro­mise and ne­go­ti­ate prag­matic so­lu­tions to prob­lems such as EU cit­i­zens’ rights and the Ir­ish bor­der.

The EU ne­go­tia­tors, how­ever, clearly have three ob­jec­tives.

First, to ex­tract as much money as pos­si­ble from the United King­dom.

Se­condly, to make the process as dif­fi­cult and hu­mil­i­at­ing as pos­si­ble in or­der to cre­ate un­cer­tainty in Bri­tain and to dis­cour­age other coun­tries from leav­ing.

Thirdly, to re­tain as much le­gal and po­lit­i­cal con­trol as pos­si­ble in or­der to re­strict Bri­tain’s free­dom to op­er­ate as an in­de­pen­dent state, and thus hin­der us from com­pet­ing ef­fec­tively with the EU af­ter sep­a­ra­tion. They ac­tively seek prob­lems and not so­lu­tions.

This ap­proach is work­ing well for the EU and will con­tinue through ev­ery phase of the ne­go­ti­a­tions. There is no re­al­is­tic prospect of reach­ing an ac­cept­able agree­ment.

It is time for the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment to with­draw from the ne­go­ti­a­tions and take con­trol of our exit from the EU. Paul Maloney

Lon­don SE3

sir – Why doesn’t the Prime Min­is­ter sim­ply ask Boris John­son and Michael Gove the an­swer to the Ir­ish bor­der ques­tion? Surely the two of them must have solved such an ob­vi­ous prob­lem be­fore they rec­om­mended the elec­torate to vote for Brexit? Richard Bar­low

Sandy, Bed­ford­shire

sir – When I was at Sand­hurst we were taught that the master prin­ci­ple of war was “se­lec­tion and main­te­nance of the aim”. This was to be an un­am­bigu­ous aim as the key­stone of suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tions. Field Mar­shal Bill Slim sim­i­larly said: “Ex­pe­ri­ence had taught me that be­fore rush­ing into ac­tion it is ad­vis­able to get quite clearly fixed in mind what the ob­ject of it all is.”

It is as clear as day that a main prob­lem of the Gov­ern­ment’s ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tion is that it has not de­cided what it wants to achieve, in an even vaguely un­am­bigu­ous man­ner. Stu­art Lea­sor

Lon­don SE22

sir – The Prime Min­is­ter told the Com­mons on Wed­nes­day that the Gov­ern­ment had a plan for Brexit.

It would ap­pear her plan is to give the EU ev­ery­thing it asks for. Nick Martinek

Hud­der­s­field, West York­shire

sir – Ar­lene Fos­ter’s splen­did in­tran­si­gence rep­re­sents the last hope for those who want to leave the EU.

Some­one wrap her up warm and see that she doesn’t catch a chill. Alan Dun­calf

Bamp­ton, Devon

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