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ß @s13GES
, 22 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Threat on media reception of Salzburg "slap down" and it's implications for the future process: So far the reception by media as well as reactions by politics might rather be helpful to EU than to UK. TM finest hour might help especially the EU. /1
Looking at the reactions of continental media outlets on Salzburg you get not much. Brexit is quite often just a sidenote. If there was an intention to humiliate it was certainly nor for the European audience. They just don't care. /2
Britain talks mostly to itself but if they talk to EU27 it almost always ends up in a mediums sized disaster (if not worse). For example May's article in WELT (German newspaper) wasn't well received by anyone. /3…
Generally speaking there is not much interest on Brexit or British demands on the continent. Brexit is seen as self-harm and big concessions are extremely unpopular. The hardline has support but as long as this prevails people don't bother to engage with the topic. /4
Hence the suggestion that this was an ambush or a planned humiliation is nonsense. UK isn't relevant enough to score with national audiences and it was not suitable to boost UK support either. Besides, a hard stance of EU has wide public support. /5
In short, the humiliation was rather a product of misreading signals and lack of acknowledging how the public picture of UK evolved, that May read her (from European perspective ridiculous & laughable) article in front of EU27 begged for a humiliation. /6
This leads us to the British perception of the event. It seems that it came to a shock that EU didn't think that Chequers is remotely usable to EU. They want their red lines and they will get it. /7
Or in other words: the gorilla accepted the challenge of the testosterone driven semi strong teenager and has shown the first time who is the stronger and better positioned one. This has been understood. /8
In other words, probably the first time it's clear for lots of observers that this negotiation is more than just a hot asymmetrical and that Chequers need to be altered in a way that it is not Chequers anymore to avoid no deal. /9
The reaction was rather furious, not just politicians but also the broadsheets were outraged. /10
This outraged is helping May in the short term, regardless how vile it might be since those are probably reflecting the right sentiment among key voters and Tory grassroots - perfect prep for the Party conference. /11
This is great to EU. A leadership challenge now would mean that they would need to face the prospect of another government and this would mean more tantrums and more problems. They would still get what they want but need to put again more sources. /12
A leadership challenge later this year would become unlikely given the time constraints and possibly bad looks that again Tory party skirmishes are at centre stage and not the "most important negotiation in a lifetime". It's either now or never and May just got saver. /13
But vile headlines're even more useful than just keeping May in charge. For one, they put the first time power imbalance at centre stage. This might help to lower the bar of acceptable outcomes to UK by killing off the "we hold all the cards" and "they need us more" myths. /14
The humiliation part might be forgotten soon but the narrative of UK as an equal partner to EU is changing to "UK is actually quite weak and can't ask for much". /15
Another reading might be, that it increases nationalism and xenophobia and prepares a walk out through boosting a "we are proud and strong, there is nothing to fear" narrative. /16
But even this might help EU. Let's face it, EU can't do much if UK walks out and it also can't and won't move on it's red lines (four freedoms or at least CH deal with FoM + no border either via EEA+ or CETA with wet border). The hope is, that no deal brings a collapse to UK. /17
The collapse might come, but nobody knows how it actually look like. One thing for sure the lower the expectations of people in UK in the moment of no deal the better, it avoids panic or amplification of the crisis. /18
Self-satisfying hubris and nationalism might lead to a comparatively high bar: "They can't treat us like this, we will manage - no chance for scaremongering." This might help EU. If the predictions of collapsing infrastructure and cardiac rest of economy is correct obviously. /19
It would help since the population is fully unprepared of what comes and might even be reinforced in their believe that everything will be fine. If it is fine but horrible however, the tolerance level towards hardship might be very low. /20
In that moment HMG might face a major backlash. Of people expect their life to continue or even improve after no deal, a huge crisis would create shock and panic, and forces UK even faster back to make concessions. /21
The more pain is perceived the higher the chance that EU gets faster what they want. In any case, the headlines won't be helpful to most a Dunkirk spirit but rather highlight British weaknesses and reinforce unpreparedness. 22/22
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