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playing some chicken, some neck

Film fans may recall the famous James Dean scene where a game of chicken is played - two cars race, and the first who 'blinks' - in this case swerves to avoid death - loses. If neither side 'blinks first' disaster can ensue. This is also called 'brinkmanship politics' - when one appears to risk going to the brink - and when ultimatums get issued, and no one swerves, wars get started. In the case of Brexit, and the UK-EU negotiations, a trade, or even cold, war.

I voted against Brexit, but I wouldn't now. Not after seeing the rude, intransigent, arrogant and controlling ways in which the EU has treated the past few British PMs, but especially Boris Johnson. Johnson went to Brussels the other night to have dinner and talks, and was basically snubbed. Even though 95% of a deal has been hammered out, the 'red lines' remain.

The current odds seem 50% for No Deal. That would be a temporary tragedy and disaster - though not in the long run. But it is forecast to mean a 2% loss to the economy of the UK, which, on top of the current 8% from Covid-19, would mean Britain was one-tenth poorer now than a year ago. It would also mean the pound dropping, and potential food and medical shortages for a few weeks or months.

I can't see where the PM can compromise further. The EU is demanding the UK relinquish control and sovereignty in ways normal trade deals don't ask for. They seem to be still seeking to politically punish the breakaway nation, rather than to creatively envision a new, mutually-potent alliance economically. If Boris Johnson gives in to the EU bullying too much, he would be forced to resign, and the UK would probably not accept the deal anyway.

I believed the EU would blink first, since they have less to lose either way, so more reason to compromise and get this nightmare past us all. But I think they now intend to risk a temporary painful No Deal, to try and hurt the UK, albeit briefly. This is likely more to do with Macron than the Germans.

A deal would be good. But sometimes, no deal is better than a deal that demands more fealty and subservience than a proud and sovereign nation can stomach. I think Churchill would not have swerved, and Johnson may emulate his hero. The EU may drive us all off a cliff in a few weeks.


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