Brexit, May's Way is Worst Way: Eight Hardball Cards

Daniel Lacalle takes Theresa May to the woodshed over her handling of Brexit. I agree with Lacalle on all but one point.

In a Mises wire, Daniel Lacalle explains May’s Way Is Not The Only Way.

In a nutshell, May’s Brexit is the worst solution for Leavers and Remainders. It tries to please Remainders, who are obviously not satisfied as they want a full reversal of the EU exit.

In essence, the plan is the worst of both worlds. Leaves the UK with all the perceived negatives that led to a “Yes” vote in the referendum and none of the alleged benefits of staying in the European Union.

May’s way is not the only way. The UK should deliver a strong Brexit proposal that creates certainty, that eliminates the excessive costs and regulations. There is a reason why the EU has a “Canadian” or “Norwegian” solution because they were created ad-hoc for those countries. May fails to recognize the strengths of the UK to achieve a specific “British solution” that is good for both parties. She seems to accept at face value that the EU rules, those that the EU itself bends at will, are untouchable.

This political crisis adds uncertainty to business, gross capital formation, and job creation, but also diminishes the UK government’s influence on crucial international matters. Instead of delivering a message of strength, May has delivered a message of uncertainty.

I would have preferred the UK to stay in the EU and be a driving force for change and renovation, for freedom. But Brexit happened. And now the government is putting the economy at risk by creating an unnecessary political crisis that may affect many important sectors, while ignoring the results of the vote.

Brexit should have been a serious warning to the increasingly interventionist European Union to change its ways and should have been negotiated swiftly from the position of strength that the UK had as the second largest net contributor to the EU. It should have been a fantastic opportunity for both the EU and the UK to thrive. Instead, May has done the job for Brussels showing the European Union is an unchangeable entity, like the Hotel California where “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave”.

May’s “my way or the highway” plan has strengthened the EU’s stubborn resistance to change.

May's Way, the Worst Way

May's way is not the only way is accurate but fails to sum of the problem. May's way is the worst way more accurately sums up the current situation.

Lacalle was a bit too polite with his title.

Point of Disagreement

On what point do I disagree with Lacalle?

It a point that is irrelevant at the moment. I was in favor of Brexit. The EU is a slow, colossal, bureaucratic mess that take near-unanimity to do most anything, and absolute unanimity on some things.

For example, France will never agree to end subsides that protect inefficient farmers. That one point alone is why it took the EU 10 years to negotiate a deal with Canada.

Water Over the Dam

That's water over the dam now.

May's tactic has been to bow down to the EU instead of playing hardball. Se has a huge number of cards to play, and in this regard, Trump helped.

Eight Hardball Cards

  1. Iran sanctions hurt the EU, especially Germany.
  2. Trump clearly has it in for German autos.
  3. The German auto industry is already on the ropes over diesel emissions.
  4. The EU is hugely impacted by Trump's trade war with China.
  5. If the UK walks, the EU will lose the $39 billion Brexit fee.
  6. The UK can close fishing rights and take control of its waters.
  7. Germany cannot afford to get into multiple simultaneous trade wars with the US, China, and UK.
  8. The UK can further lower business taxes.

Think about that last point until it sinks in.

The UK is one of Germany's biggest export recipients.

Prepared to Walk

This is no time for May to cave into to nonsensical EU demand.

Rather, this is the time from May to lay those eight cards on the tables and say "We are prepared to walk. What are you going to do about it?"

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (10)
No. 1-10

UK will most likely take an early hit being the first country to exit the EU, but better to be first than to be last. At least the UK will have a head start in making deals with other countries. The EU will try to punish the UK as much as they can to attempt to deter any other 'rogue' countries from trying to exit. If it was me, I would exit and not pay any penalties and start from scratch. Let the EU come after me.

In regards to German cars...I see so many BMWs, Audis, Porches, and Mercedes in my neighborhood, you'd think I was living in Stuttgart. I drive a 2008 Toyota.


As the old song says, "Breaking up is hard to do". And May was clearly the wrong person for the job. But the rest of the Conservative Party are a bunch of wets, to quote Mrs. Thatcher. This is what happens when people are so afraid of Political Correctness that they will refuse to remove an incompetent, simply because she is a woman and therefore untouchable.

We also have to remember that the Brexit vote for separation from the EU squeaked through on a very narrow margin. Separation may indeed be in the best long-term interests of the UK -- but there is inevitably going to be a period of pain upon separation, and a lot of Brits are not prepared for that pain.


What UK needs is a billion dollar businessman prime minister to play hard ball in negotiations with EU. LOL.


To get anywhere useful, the UK needs to just leave.

"Negotiation" is noting more than nonsensical aggrandizement of a bunch of useless, taxfeeding twits. "The UK" and "The EU" has nothing to negotiate. The interactions between, and goals of, millions of Brits and Continentals, are way to complicated to be captured by one central "negotiation."

Negotiation "may" work when goals are clear and simple, and the parties themselves are at the table. Watering rights allocation between two Western ranchers, employment contracts etc. Make things much mushier than that, and "negotiation" is little more than feelgood dog-and-pony, providing a grandstand for look-at-mees on the make. Even something as comparatively clear cut as negotiated surrenders at the end of wars, rarely works anymore, now that the parties are larger and more multifaceted than relatively unanimous warrior tribes.

Instead, as always, do the low cost, low effort, quick, thing: Walk. Route around. THEN smaller, individual parties, with a clearer view of, and greater stake in, their own situation, can start negotiation from what will be solid, settled ground.


"May's tactic has been to bow down to the EU instead of playing hardball ...."

If you mean that in the sense she is genuine in her negotiations then I think you are wrong there. Take a step back and look at exactly what May has done, not what she says. First she did absolutely nothing constructive for months. Then she ceded the initiative in negotiations to the EU and never once attempted to wrest it back. Then she declared our (the UK) willingness to pay danegeld to the EU while never mentioning the billions we have invested in EU assets to which we should still be able to benefit from. Then she went to Brussels and undermined her negotiating team in face to face talks. Then she took the arch Remainer and self-confessed 'never Brexit' Olly Robins as her principal Brexit advisor. Then she effectively put that same person in overall charge. Then she ambushes the Cabinet with an unworkable plan almost certainly authored by Robbins that satisfied no one on either side as a fait accompli while declaring 'my plan or no Brexit at all'.

No, it is quite clear to me as a Briton that Theresa May never intended to see Brexit happen at all in any meaningful way.