‘Brexit’ is a taboo word in British politics these days. Boris Johnson rarely talks about it, partly because he likes to say Brexit is ‘done’ but also because, eighteen months after Britain’s departure from the EU, there are no obvious economic benefits to boast about. Keir Starmer rarely mentions it because he doesn’t want to be painted as an unreconstructed, moaning Remainer. The British public, meanwhile, is sick of the topic. The years following the 2016 Brexit referendum plunged UK politics into a political quagmire and voters would sooner discuss something else.
One person is perfectly happy to expand on the subject, however, and that is Michel Barnier, who led the EU in its negotiations over Britain’s exit. For Barnier, a French centre-right politician now running as a presidential candidate, those five years of talks were often exhausting and frustrating, and