When we do new things, we make those things part of the landscape, Dr Simon Usherwood writes.
When I do talks about Brexit, I often use the metaphor of an icebreaker, partly because they are cool, mainly because they illustrate nicely a point I make about opportunity structures.
I note that while the mess of Brexit has turned others in Europe from the withdrawal path, the simple act of invoking and pursuing Article 50 (however it turns out) changed the political landscape.
Withdrawal from the European Union will never go back to being an abstract and theoretical possibility, but a valid and viable option. Indeed the mess merely reinforces that, as others can say, they know where the bear traps are and will not make the same mistakes as the British.
But this is a more general idea too: when we do new things, we make those things part of the landscape.
This is a big part of the Darroch affair: the response to the President’s tweets will set a new benchmark for diplomats and diplomacy. It is a horrible test for a new PM: trash your diplomatic corps or risk compromising a key relationship.
It is also there in the rounds of Parliamentary manoeuvres on Brexit: you can use a creative ruse to get what you want, but you make it alright for others to use that against you, down the line.
Politics pushes towards the now, the urgent, the crisis-that-must-be-addressed. But that also has to sit with the strategic long-term view.
It is easy to argue that desperate times call for desperate measures, but is it really worth destroying the village to save it?🔷
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