“Sir, The mulish refusal of the EU negotiators to offer any kind of reciprocal compromises threatens to take us into Brexit extra time. But it occurs to me that it may simply be beyond them to do otherwise. Perhaps, conditioned by their legal systems, all more or less variants of the Napoleonic Code, Michel Barnier and his colleagues are simply unable to do more than recite rules; they may be quite incapable of searching for the right answer in the way of those brought up under the English Common Law. After all, the EU has consistently struggled to strike trade deals with other countries, most notably with those from the Anglosphere, who are blessed with a more supple Common Law heritage.
“An English lawyer put it to me this way. “In all my dealings with Europeans, I never once heard them ask if something was fair. Only whether it was correct.”
“I fear that, in persisting with this whole process, we British may be wasting our time — and money.”
- Gordon Bonnyman, Frant, E. Sussex, UK, in a letter to the Financial Times, 23 November 2017.
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(The following article was first published in The Spectator in March 2015.)
A couple of years ago, a bookseller sent me ‘a little gem of a book’, namely The Making of the Euro by Claudio Hils. This is a somewhat humourless coffee-table hardback which is only partially redeemed by one or two beautiful photographs of printing presses. It recounts the literal making of the euro, and it is all pure hubris. Take, for example, this introduction by Dr Jürgen Linden, lord mayor of the city of Aachen in Germany..
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