Yesterday, Theresa May finally explained what “Brexit means Brexit” means:

So to our friends across Europe, let me say this.

Our vote to leave the European Union was no rejection of the values we share. The decision to leave the EU represents no desire to become more distant to you, our friends and neighbours. It was no attempt to do harm to the EU itself or to any of its remaining member states. We do not want to turn the clock back to the days when Europe was less peaceful, less secure and less able to trade freely. It was a vote to restore, as we see it, our parliamentary democracy, national self-determination, and to become even more global and internationalist in action and in spirit.

We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends. We want to buy your goods and services, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship.

You will still be welcome in this country as we hope our citizens will be welcome in yours. At a time when together we face a serious threat from our enemies, Britain’s unique intelligence capabilities will continue to help to keep people in Europe safe from terrorism. And at a time when there is growing concern about European security, Britain’s servicemen and women, based in European countries including Estonia, Poland and Romania, will continue to do their duty.

We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe.

And that is why we seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU.

Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave.

No, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.

And in leaving the European Union, and the Common Market, and probably the customs union, Theresa has these 12 aims:

  1. Certainty wherever possible (whatever that means)
  2. Control of our own laws (amending British law to remove any reference to Brussels)
  3. Strengthening the United Kingdom (Oh Scotland and Northern Ireland, please don’t leave the UK for the EU!)
  4. Maintaining the Common Travel Area with Ireland (We were friends with Ireland first though, so…)
  5. Control of immigration (no more free movement of labour, sorry)
  6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU (what’s already done is already done, so let’s figure out how the expats can continue to live in Majorca and the Costa del Sol).
  7. Enhancing rights for workers (British workers)
  8. Free trade with European markets (let’s have a new Free Trade agreement)
  9. New trade agreements with other countries (let’s have new Free Trade agreements with everyone).
  10. A leading role in science and innovation (let’s make these aims a round dozen)
  11. Cooperation on crime, terrorism and foreign affairs (let’s face the world, side-by-side)
  12. And a phased approach, delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit (two years is definitely too short a time to get all this done).

The Great Brexit Divorce

You should read the full transcript – it’s quite a masterful piece of intertwined positivity, supplication, and veiled threat. Some copywriter somewhere deserves a small medal.

Here is some paraphrasing:

To my dear Brussel Sprout

I’ve spent months thinking about this, and I’ve decided that leaving you means that I’m definitely leaving you. I don’t want to live in this house, I’m done with the shared checking accounts, and I’d like to sleep in my own bed, thanks.

But please don’t think that I’m being a horrible person. I just want you to understand that what I’m really saying is that I just want to start seeing other people again. And it’s not you, it’s me. Well, it’s also you, because I just find you really controlling. But not in a bad way. Well yes, in a bad way. But I know that other people don’t mind that. Well they do. Um. *shrug*

But anyhoo, let me be clear, I still want to see you. More than that, I still want us be besties! In fact, I really think that we can make this whole friends-with-benefits thing work. We’ll still be neighbours, and I’m always going to be open to opening my door to you, so we can ‘grab dinner’ regularly – nightly, even – no strings attached. Unless you try to attach strings, which I simply can’t agree to yet. But without revealing too much, I just want you to know that I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey, and light bondage is not out of the question. It’s also not in question. But let me be clear: there ought to be sex. 

And actually, I’m doing this for your benefit as well. I mean, doing it this way means that neither of us will look desperate. Instead, we’ll just be two modern people, getting what we want when we want it. No sham marriage for us!

On a different note, I feel like we can also make a go of this whole modern ‘sharing the cost’ vibe. We’ll buy in bulk, and split the bill. Of course, I’ll have my money, and you’ll have yours, and it’ll still be my decision to go in with you on the purchase. But we can both save some money, so why not?

Perhaps we can also do a bit of shared cooking occasionally? I mean, I know you don’t like my cooking (and I really don’t like yours) – but perhaps there are ways to make it work. In any case, we’ve got to decide what we’re doing with all the food in the pantry – and we really should deal with that as quickly as possible. It might go off, and no one wants that.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Oh, and also, I really think that we should be adult about this. We both have, ahem, things to lose. But even if we can’t, I’m still leaving you. Because no friends-with-benefits is better than bad-friends-with-benefits. That’s my motto.

But I really think that we can be better-friends-with-benefits. Or even best-friends-with-benefits!

Yay, I’m excited.

I think that’s all.

Much love-ish and goodbye (and/or bestbye even)


Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at