Over the last few years I have spent quite a lot of time in Europe because of my involvement in the Horizon 2020 academic research Coffers project. I am in Brussels today.
It's been interesting to observe the change of mood on Brexit. Three years ago it was bemusement. The question was 'why did anyone believe the Leavers?'
Then is was bafflement. 'Is anything actually happening?'
That was followed by 'You can't be serious?' when it became clear that it was really believed possible to have the cake and eat it.
And now? The questions seem to be over. Instead 'You've blown it' seems to be the prevailing sentiment.
The argument is a simple one. It goes along the lines of 'Once upon a time you in the UK could be relied upon to be the people to solve any problem. Now nothing seems possible for you.' But the sting is in the tail: 'And we don't see any sign of tht changing.'
Our credibility is shot.
The idea that the Scottish, Irish and even Welsh would be well rid of England appears widespread. Only a reboot and rebrand will work. But for the English? They're a lost cause.
As an exercise in brand management Brexit has been a disaster. The UK has lost all credibility. And it is seen as a very peculiarly English problem.
The Horizon 2020 project comes to a close very soon. The harm to the UK does not. That's for the long term. And there's very little we can do about it now.