The illness warping politics in the English speaking countries

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Politics in the USA are crazy, and they are also crazy in Britain. Something terrible has happened in the English speaking countries, that the political system has broken down to this extent. The fact that the British government seems so uncertain about how to proceed with Brexit suggests a broken political coalition.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has issued a fresh warning that Britain must “settle the accounts” and speed up the pace of negotiations if it wants a free trade deal when it leaves the bloc.

Speaking ahead of a keynote speech by Theresa May in Florence on Friday, Michel Barnier said there was still “major uncertainty” over the UK’s approach on key issues and asked why it had taken so long to set out its stall.

Warning that the UK had just one year left to make a deal, he said: “The question facing us over the coming months is serious, but simple: will the United Kingdom leave in an orderly fashion with an agreement, or not?

“From our side, I repeat once again that an agreement is the best outcome. It is in our common interest. But if we want a deal, time is of the essence.”

He said the three key issues that had still not been resolved were the financial settlement, the rights of EU citizens and the Irish border.

“We are a few days away from the fourth round of negotiations,” Barnier said.

“I am asking myself questions. I’m wondering why – beyond the progress we’ve made on certain points – there is still today major uncertainty on each of the key issues of the first phase.

“To make progress, we are waiting for clear commitments from the UK on these precise issues. We will listen attentively and constructively to Theresa May’s important speech tomorrow in Florence.”

Barnier warned that May would have to make a substantive offer on citizens’ rights and the financial settlement to break the deadlock.

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