What it takes not to leave

The big lesson that I’ve taken from the pre-referendum sales pitches to the Scottish people is that if you threaten to leave a union you get offered all kinds of exciting things.

One after another senior politicians have promised Devo-max, Devo-max-max, greater tax autonomy, greater political autonomy, greater legal autonomy, a free owl etc. And this is to a part of the union which is a net financial beneficiary from the relationship.

I wonder what this says about the UK’s ability to negotiate a better deal from the EU? We have never gone into EU negotiations with the credible threat of withdrawal.


Seeing what contortions have been performed by the EU to prevent Greece from falling out of the Eurozone, I can’t help but think that Britain, as a net contributor, might just get a decent deal. I’m still not convinced that anyone could negotiate a deal good enough to convince the British people to stay in the EU but if Scotland is anything to go by David Cameron might get close.

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