Brexit Blame Game Coming Up: Who Gets the Blame (By Person and Country)?


No Deal Brexit is a near-certainty now. So, who will get the blame? The finger-pointing has already started.

Gove Says Gove says EU ‘refusing to negotiate’ on Brexit

The government says it does still want to negotiate a new Brexit deal with the EU. But the minister in charge of no deal preparations, Michael Gove, says Brussels isn't interested.

EU Open for a Deal Says Irish Prime Minister

Leo Varadkar, Ireland's Taoiseach (Prime Minister) says EU is Open to New Brexit Deal if Boris Johnson Drops Red Lines and Offers Concessions.

Mrs May’s key red lines were that the UK would leave the single market, would leave the customs union, would end free movement and would bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.

Mr Varadkar said: “We ended up with the withdrawal agreement and the backstop because of all the red lines that were drawn up by the British Government.

“Now if we’re going back to square one and those red lines are being changed, then we’ve something to talk about.”

Mr Varadkar made clear that Ireland was not prepared to renegotiate the backstop – the insurance policy which it insists is crucial to ensure an open border on the island of Ireland but which unionists have overwhelmingly opposed because it would erect barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

UK Open for a Deal

Let's modify the above link title by changing just a few characters: UK is Open to New Brexit Deal if the EU Drops Red Lines and Offers Concessions.

Is that not equally valid?

If the EU can have "red lines" why can't the UK?

Just as the EU is "open for a deal" the UK is "open for a deal" on the exact terms Varadkar wants, just in reverse.

Varadkar Points a Finger

If no deal happens on 31 October, it will be as a consequence of decision made in London,” says Varadkar.

Boris Johnson can of course make the identical claim.

The reality is No Deal if no one is willing to budge.

Stepping Back

It is crystal clear the EU tried to screw the UK. It is caught on film.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, admitted on film, that the EU intended to use the backstop as a means of applying permanent pressure on the UK.

Let's Discuss Brexit

Caught on Film

Please, Let's Discuss Brexit (and How the EU Bragged, on Film, About Screwing the UK).

  1. The EU bragged about crushing Theresa May: "We Got More Than We Hoped"
  2. The EU admitted Theresa May wanted a customs union all along.
  3. Michel Barnier spoke on film of "using Ireland for future negotiations. Isolating Ireland and not closing this point, leaving it open for the next two or three years."
  4. Barnier used the words "permanent pressure" in regards to the backstop.
  5. The EU bragged about "getting rid of the UK on EU terms" and turning the UK into a "colony"

Why Did the EU Authorize the Film?

  • To mock the UK
  • To openly show that no one could leave the EU without being severely punished.
  • Pure arrogance

The EU cannot hide its intent of trapping the the UK in a permanent customs union, with no say in policy.

Assigning Blame: How? When?

There is certainly much blame to spread around. But how? And when?

Theresa May

Theresa May was totally incompetent and let the EU run all over her.

May stated countless times, "No deal is better than a bad deal" yet she negotiated the worst treaty in history. The EU even bragged about it in the above video clips.

Not only were May's negotiation skills pathetic (some believe purposely so), she also blundered politically.

It was May, not parliament who asked for and received Brexit extensions. Had at any point May told Parliament "I will not back extensions so you either take my deal or No Deal", I believe her deal would have passed.

Instead, May alternated between attempts to persuade Tories they she would remain and the Remainers that she would go for No Deal.

Both the Remainers and the Hard Brexiteers called her bluff. Both sides were essentially correct, sort of, as neither happened, under May. What will happen under Boris Johnson is another matter.

Michel Barnier

Barnier is to be congratulated for negotiating the best, most one-sided deal in history. Trump would be proud.

But it was so one-sided that the UK parliament rejected the deal in three "meaningful votes" leading to the forced, tearful resignation of Theresa May.

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn blasted Theresa May for her deal. She blames him for No Deal because he would not back her pathetic deal.

Emmanuel Macron

Macron is a relatively minor player but he was opposed to further extensions that May asked for and received reluctantly. October 31, is a Macron-induced compromise. Had the date been later, there would have been more time to oust Johnson and ask for still more extensions or for Corbyn to win an election.

Leo Varadkar

Varadkar's role in this mess is of a more recent nature. If he is foolish enough to take a bullet for EU solidarity, there cannot be a deal.

Varadkar reiterated today that the deal on the table for the UK is "as good as it gets".

What is Johnson supposed to do other than say "shove it up your ass", albeit in more polite terms.

Boris Johnson

Johnson inherited this mess from Theresa May.

May said she would deliver Brexit and didn't, not even with three extensions.

The Tories will get clobbered if Johnson fails to delivers.

Remainers in General

Remainers second choice would be a customs union, not No Deal.

Like Corbyn, the Remainers including the Liberal Democrats and Scottish MPs could have backed Theresa May's deal which failed by only a few votes.

The Remainers foolishly believed that Parliament could stop No Deal and they would get a People's Vote Referendum that would succeed.

The Remainers got Theresa May correct, winning that battle, but losing the War.

Let's fill in the percentages taking all of the above into account.

By Country, Who Gets the Blame for No Deal

  • EU: 55%
  • UK: 40%
  • Ireland: 5% (perhaps higher from a more recent aspect). If Ireland would bend, so might the EU.

Call it 60-40 or so in favor of the EU.

By Person, Who Gets the Blame for No Deal

  • Michel Barnier: 40% His Brexit negotiation team attempted to screw the UK and nearly got away with it.
  • Theresa May: 25% She never really wanted to leave. Her negotiation tactics (lack thereof) would have put the UK into a permanent customs union at the mercy of the EU forever. The UK parliament rejected her pathetic deal three times.
  • Remainers in General: 15% - I am sure the Remainers would prefer May's poor deal to No Deal. And they had numerous chances to accept her deal. Instead, they held out for the impossible.
  • Leo Varadkar: 10% - all of it recently with his silly statements. There is no chance of a deal unless he bends. The 10% is on the assumption that Varadkar won't bend.
  • Jeremy Corbyn: 5% - The major irony is Corbyn wants a customs union, nearly identical to the one May negotiated. He could have at any time backed May's deal. I assign Corbyn only 5% because politically-speaking it would have been very difficult for him to back May's deal. He could have offered free votes though, instead of the Whip.
  • Emmanuel Macron: 5% - The final extension compromise was poorly timed. One can thank Macron for that. There is no time for Parliament to stop No Deal. A longer extension, which Macron would not support, would have given the UK parliament more time for shenanigans.
  • Boris Johnson: 0% - He is doing exactly what he said he would do. The UK parliament did no believe him, nor did the EU. That's not his fault. Politically, Johnson must deliver Brexit, not some pathetic rehash of Theresa May's deal. That is the political reality. Johnson gets no blame.

One Sided Deals Don't Work

Total that up and it's roughly 55-45 in favor of blaming the EU.

There's plenty of blame to go around. This will be debated for years.

But the moral of the story is one-sided deals ultimately fail. And the Barnier-May deal was amazingly one-sided.

They get the blame, not Johnson.

There is still some minor chance of a deal, but Ireland has to bend first.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (68)
No. 1-18

but Ireland has to bend first.

I do not see how you get there without violating the Good Friday Agreement. Free movement between both Ireland was key to the agreement. A hard Brexit by default implies a hard border unless N. Ireland leaves the UK which I think they will do



"A hard Brexit by default implies a hard border unless N. Ireland leaves the UK which I think they will do"

Who is going to put in the border?

Northern Ireland won't and I bet Ireland wont either. If Ireland wants to check trucks, it will have to do so on its own accord. No help from Britain or Northern Ireland


Boris is set up for the fall. He started this, and he will get the blame for anything that isn't perfect. He is toast.

The brexiteers will be unhappy about something - whining is all they have - if they had a real plan they would have run on it in 2016 instead of lies about NHS funding.

Boris' only hope of any life after 2019 is that Corbyn is such a disaster that he is even worse - soon enough a competent politician will rise in either the left or the right and chart a new course. Probably aiming for a staging agreement like Norway on the road to rejoining the EEC in 2025 or so.


Blame only matters if a no deal goes tits up. But Mish, you say that the UK leaving the EU will be magnificent. Of course if it does go tits up then the consequences for the Brexiteers will be dire.


I remember my first business trip to Dublin in 1982. The Irish Republic countryside still looked like the Ireland of old, complete with quaint thatched roof cottages. Northern Ireland, by comparison, looked like it was stuck in a 1950 Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode. In 2002, I went back to Ireland on vacation. We rented a car and drove 1200 miles about the island exploring. The Republic had been transformed; Billions had been spent on housing and construction projects, thanks to EU loans and aggressive recruitment of businesses by Ireland. I was shocked at the transformation. The old Ireland of storybook pictures had been swept away. Very little had changed in the seven counties of Northern Ireland, however. It was still 1950. The investment disparity was blatant and obvious to anyone. If that investment gap has been narrowed in the intervening 17 years since I last saw it, UK politicians will find it impossible to restore 1950 in Northern Ireland, imho.



"Should be fun explaining to the brexiteers that anybody from around the EEC can get into Britain by driving across the Irish border. So much for controlling who gets into the U.K."

Please Think!

And precisely how are these people going to get to Ireland? Walk over from Syria through Turkey? By boat from Egypt or Libya?

Can they afford a plane ticket to Ireland?

If not - then either it's by transportation magic or not at all.



"Boris is set up for the fall. He started this, and he will get the blame for anything that isn't perfect. He is toast."

Setup for the fall? By Whom? Captain Kangaroo?

Toast? No, Corbyn is Toast.

This debate at least has a timeline. We will know which view is correct soon enough. Most likely by the end of the year.

I am willing to admit I am wrong if Johnson is tossed, are you willing to admit the same?



BTW - It is 100% idiotic to proclaim "Boris Started This".

Did Boris grant the Referendum?



" But Mish, you say that the UK leaving the EU will be magnificent. Of course if it does go tits up then the consequences for the Brexiteers will be dire."

Avid, the initial reaction will not be good for either the UK or the EU. That is largely true because a global recession is coming as opposed to Brexit. Yes, Brexit will compound the problem.

But no, the consequences will not be dire. I expect after the next election the Tories will have a huge Parliament majority.

Long term, Brexit will be a success.


I still don't understand the obsession with a country that has been in decline for decades and economy that is now smaller than at least 2 US states.



"I still don't understand the obsession with a country that has been in decline for decades and economy that is now smaller than at least 2 US states."

I have explained this a dozen times already - This is the start of the breakup of the EU - an economy as bid as the US - this is a major deal


What if we get a hard Brexit and queues at the ports are just a little bit longer, planes don't fall from the sky, people don't starve, the lights don't go out, and the UK economy muddles along with no appreciable degredation? Who gets the credit in that case?


Mish, nobody writes as good as you on Brexit and those blog posts are the ones that interests me the most. So please keep them coming and don't care of french hurt feelings..

Now if you only could go back to the old blog format I would be totally happy. Nowdays I have to click on each and every image to see it and it's a pain. I also think the old garde from yesteryears provided for a much more interesting comments section than the current 'clientele' of yours.

Lance Manly
Lance Manly

Well, if we are talking one sided deals look into the preps the current administration is making for a UK trade deal. We get to feed them chlorine washed chicken and hormone filled beef. And oh yeah, the City of London, you are now going to be a second class status to Wall Street.


As someone from Ireland, it always struck me as a stupid move for Ireland to take the EU's side. Surely there was way more leverage to be had by taking Britain's side and telling the EU: make it happen smoothly, or we're leaving too. Then we could have had what we wanted and stayed friends with everyone . They probably thought it would never come to that. They probably assumed that Britain would handle it the way the Irish government handles it when a referendum results in the "wrong answer" - wait a few months and then hold another one.


There's another term for these kind of "deals": Entangling alliances. Civilized countries avoid them like the undifferentiated mediocrity-aggrandizing plagues they all are.



Be wary of replying to trolls and people who call me a liar. Those comments are subject to deletion and any replies to them automatically go as well.


Mish, who is to blame will be directly affected by who asks! The Conservative will blame the guy in the office: Boris Johnson. The European will blame Boris Johnson and the Americans will blame the EU.

The fact of the matter is that if hard brexit is the outcome, then BJ will be blamed if it's not all perfect...He's the guy with the job! Boris certainly didn't start this fight, and May must share a good part of the blame. Europe never wanted the UK to leave the union, their perception is that they've got to make it hard for anyone to leave. Don't need a PhD to figure that one out.

I guarantee that if Brexit turns into a massive problem for the UK, Boris and the Conservative will share the blame. Political scientist and pundit can blame who they want but the British electorate will punish the Conservatives -- and rightly so! Moreover, Boris is the leader of the party, he wanted the job and despite not having much time to get anything negotiated, he' still going to be the one holding the bag. Finally, Boris was responsible for many of the lies that the pro Brexit peddled during the referendum period...

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