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Brexit weekly briefing: UK rift widens as May names article 50 day

Written by The Guardian

While the UK is ever more split over Brexit, the EU27 display almost unprecedented unity on what they want from talks

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It’s an argument for independence, really, in a nutshell, that Westminster thinks it has got the right to block the democratically elected mandate of the Scottish government and the majority in the Scottish parliament.

If they are not careful, people’s sense of disengagement with Brussels will simply attach itself to London. We need to see there is a dividend in being a devolutionist government that supports the union and we don’t see that dividend.

What a paradoxical story we shall tell our grandchildren about Brexit. The little ones will climb on our knee and we will recall how we bravely seized our independence from hated Brussels – only to destroy our country … Our leaders thought escaping the EU was so vital it was worth shattering the deeper, closer union that had defined our country for more than three centuries.

Where European policies are causing damage, we must say so and change them, but national politicians should stop blaming all the bad things on Brussels and taking all the credit for themselves. They should listen carefully to the legions of unhappy voters, then develop policies to address those concerns and convey their solutions in direct, appealing language that reaches those caught in the internet-enabled echo chambers of populism. Like every political community, the EU will only survive if enough of its people (and peoples) want it to survive. At 60, Europa is in bad shape, but there’s life in the old girl yet.

May has eschewed the friendship of habitually loyal Tory moderates and basked in the cheers of career rebels. She has courted the faction that has been ratcheting her party ever deeper into Europhobic paranoia for a generation. She has made their rhetoric her own. Perhaps it is an act. Maybe a more nuanced approach to the negotiations is imminent. But the safer assumption is that May isn’t just dealing in narcotic Brexit fantasy spin. She’s hooked on the stuff.

Britain’s #Brexit position… pic.twitter.com/vg4A9MIyq1

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