It’s hard to credit. The UK, normally so adept, has somehow contrived to make a very poor situation worse. The nub of the Brexit problem is that Britons voted by a narrow majority against something rather than for something. They made a broad and principled decision about what they didn’t want, ignoring the practical consequences. Now, confronted with those concrete consequences, they feel cheated, angry, shortchanged and full of blame. The decision to leave the EU without deciding what would follow was bad enough, but circumstances have contrived to make things worse. Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election in 2017 unexpectedly weakened her hand so she now runs a minority government propped up by one of the parties from Northern Ireland, with her own party divided. To make matters worse, she has returned from Brussels with an agreement which includes, necessarily and predictably as it happens, an ugly compromise over the trickiest issue: the future of Northern...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now