There are a lot of international agencies of various sorts across the world, and they all need to have their headquarters somewhere. Not all of them are related to membership of the EU, but I’m struggling to think of a single one either in or out of the EU which ever has, or ever would, site or retain its headquarters in a country which decided that it no longer wished to be a member of the relevant organisation, use its services, or follow its rules. And that strikes me as a perfectly reasonable approach. But then, I’m not a deluded Brexiteer.
Faced with the UK’s imminent departure from membership, the EU is quite naturally considering where to relocate two key agencies both of which are currently based in London. However, the UK’s delusionist-in-chief, David Davis, says he can see no reason why the agencies cannot stay in London after Brexit, a position which has, unsurprisingly, led to a degree of astonishment in the other 27 EU capitals.
That which appears logical and straightforward to any rational observer is, for him, merely a point for negotiation – along with all the other things that he and his colleagues continue to argue, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, are negotiable options for the future. The basis for this belief is largely based, apparently, on exaggerated perceptions such as how much Prosecco gets drunk in the UK and how vital we are to the other economies of the EU as a result. But the underlying rationale always seems to be implicitly based on ‘because UK’; and the question of the EU agencies is yet another example of the exceptionalism and sense of entitlement which pervades the corridors of the imperial capital.
But Davis isn’t the only one for whom logic doesn’t enter into the equation. As this story indicates, some angry Brexit voters are seeing the removal of these agencies as ‘evidence’ that the EU is punishing the UK, and therefore confirmation that leaving the EU is the right thing to do. It’s an example of the sort of confirmation bias from which we can all suffer at times, but it serves to underline the fact that there are some who will see any and every piece of evidence as either backing up their views or else being a lie. It makes rational argument more than a little difficult.