While Americans and the rest of the world wait with bated breath to see how much Donald Trump is going to destabilize US society and and the global political economy,
Trump’s predecessor in self-imposed disruption in Western democracies — the British vote to leave the EU — continues to create its own drama …
The significance is not just the “who” — Britain’s top diplomat in Brussels —
but also the “when” — barely three months before Brexit negotiations are supposed to begin —
and, even more, the “why” — contained in an email to staff, which was, of course immediately leaked …
Put bluntly, Ivan Rogers seems deeply skeptical about both the decision to leave AND the way Britain’s Conservative Party politicians are “managing” the process …
“In recent weeks he was the focus of criticism from hard-line supporters of a British exit,
after reports surfaced that he had privately warned that trade talks on quitting the bloc could last a decade — and even then might fail …
The decision … deprives Britain of one of its most knowledgeable officials as it tries to form a coherent strategy for untying more than four decades of European integration.
It also underscores some of the tensions at the highest level of government as Britain’s exit, known as Brexit, dominates the political agenda after last year’s referendum, in which voters opted to leave the bloc.
Rogers did not offer a public explanation for his departure, but in an email to colleagues he appeared to suggest that
warnings about the complexity of Brexit had strained relations with politicians who want to put a more positive gloss on the withdrawal process.
“I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power,”
Rogers wrote, according to copies of the message published in the British media.
“I hope that you will support each other in those difficult moments where you have to deliver messages that are disagreeable to those who need to hear them,” he added.”
The British government said Ivan Rogers was leaving early to give his successor a chance to take over before formal exit negotiations start.