Tony Blair believes that EU leaders would be willing to tighten up the free movement of the bloc’s citizens to accommodate the UK, thereby allowing it to remain in the union.
Fantasy or folly? Probably a bit of both but, considering that everyone is a loser in Brexit, perhaps it could become a face-saver for both Brussels and Britain.
Blair’s intervention is timely, if a little clumsy, but he is a shrewd man with great political skill and his assessment of the result of the British general election is worth noting.
He believes that the Conservatives lost their majority because many people voted to deny Prime Minister Theresa May a mandate for a hard Brexit. He also suggests that the ‘will of the people’ may be changing as the cost of leaving the EU becomes more apparent.
A new poll in Britain taken over the weekend proves his point, showing that the percentage of voters still wishing to leave the EU has dropped to 48%.
If that is accurate, it would indicate that negotiations on Brexit should include discussion of the UK remaining within a very much reformed EU, something that the former prime minister David Cameron failed to achieve, mostly because of the arrogance and shortsightedness of negotiators in Brussels.
A reformed EU would benefit all member states, not just Britain.
It could still happen. All it would take is the political will in Brussels, as well as London, to ensure it does.
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