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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > May 2017 > The art of the impossible deal

The art of the impossible deal

Brits want very different things out of Brexit. May can’t please them all

It’s been nine difficult months, but the government has finally delivered. On 29th March, at 12.28pm, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, tweeted he had received a letter notifying him of Britain’s exit from the European Union. “What can I add to this?” he wrote, “we already miss you.” It will be two years before we see how Europe puts that sentiment into effect.

Addressing the Commons later that day, Theresa May—with trademark icemaiden delivery—talked of a future of sunlit uplands. “We all want to see a Britain that is stronger than it is today,” she told MPs. “We all want a country that is fairer so that everyone has the chance to succeed. We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren. We all want to live in a truly global Britain that gets out and builds relationships with old friends and new allies around the world.” Her aim, she said, is no less than a deal satisfying “every single person in this country”—“young and old, rich and poor, city, town, country, and all the villages and hamlets in between.”

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In Prospect’s May issue: Neal Ascherson, Simon Jenkins, John Curtice and Frances Cairncross examine the growing divide between England and Scotland. Ascherson argues that England has become Scotland’s “neurotic neighbour,” while Jenkins says we should learn from history and prepare for Scotland to leave the Union. Cairncross and Curtice debate whether Scotland could afford to break with England and whether a fresh referendum on independence is actually winnable. Also in this issue: Jason Burke questions whether the world will be a safer place after the downfall of Islamic State, Paul Hilder examines how politics got tangled in the web and Michael White reviews a new book charting the history of the Daily Mail
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