The fury from across the Channel this week at a reports that finds that the EU have no basis in law for their demand of a €60bn reverse golden handshake reveals rather more than the Berleymont apparatchiks would wish, I think.
It can't be because they didn't know that they have no basis in international law for their demands. They know as well as we do they have no lawful right to ask this of us. The weakness of their case is amply demonstrated by their demand that the matter of the exit bill is decided before any trade terms are discussed. They must also know that there is no way that Mrs May can agree a lump sum before knowing by how much the trade deal will benefit or disbenefit us.
On the other hand, Mrs May has clearly signalled her fall-back position; we leave without a deal on WTO terms, our contributions stop in March 2019, and we use our rights under international law to reclaim our assets; unlike the EU's spurious claims, our reclaiming our investments such as the €40bn we've put into the European Investment Bank will be enforced. And yes, WTO terms will hurt our GDP, but the lump sum we win back plus the €10bn a year buffer of no more Danegeld could compensate for the downturn. Whereas the EU has no such capital cushion, and faces charging its contributing nations far more, and will also suffer its own hit to EU GDP from a Brexit without any buffer at all.
Have I misunderstood this or are we negotiating from a pretty strong position? Are the comrades so cross because they've worked out how weak they are in all this?