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A problem shared

Britain risks sundering itself from its neighbours, and Europe is in trouble too. We convened players from both sides of the Channel to swap notes on future relations
Discussion attendees: (l-r) Hilary Benn, Teresa Gouveia, Carl Bildt, Charles Grant, Emma Bonino, Emma Reynolds, Ed Miliband, Natalie Nougayrède, Anna Soubry, Andrzej Olechowski

T he incoherence—or absence—of Theresa May’s plan for leaving the European Union is becoming starker. At the start of December, the phrase “have cake and eat it” was snapped on a note in Downing Street. Meanwhile Brexit Secretary David Davis conceded that the UK may end up stumping up membership subs to a club it has quit, which is paying without eating in cake terms. Days before, May had welcomed the prime minister of Poland, Beata Szydło, to No 10 and announced that 150 British troops would reinforce its defences. That sounded like a recipe for more engagement in Europe, not less. A week earlier, her chancellor had set out grim spending plans, based on a premise that he could no longer duck— the reality that leaving Europe will retard the economy’s growth.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s January issue: Adam Tooze and Francis Fukuyama examine the “American Century.” Tooze says that the 1917 opened the door to the future because the US seized the chance to lead, rather than for the Russian Revolution. Fukuyama says that the US has fallen from its perch, a change embodied by the election of Donald Trump. Anna Blundy puts Samuel Pepys on the couch and uses his diaries to psychoanalyse the Restoration’s chronicler. Also in this issue: Chris Bickerton examines the rise of populist parties across Europe, Peter Tatchell and Malcolm Rifkind debate whether the Uk should stop pretending Trump’s US can be its best friend, Philip Collins reviews a collection of Brexit books and DJ Taylor examines Alan Bennett’s diaries.