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'Britain is splintering and the gaps have become unbridgeable' From the United States to China, Brexit has got the world scratching its head. Political Editor David Williamson discovers the world's verdict on Britain's forthcoming divorce with the EU.

REXIT has got the whole world talking.

BCommentators in every time zone are trying to work out what is going on in the land of Shakespeare and Churchill.

Does Theresa May really have a crafty plan to keep Britain in the EU - or is the UK hopelessly divided between London billionaires and cash-strapped families in the Valleys? Here are some attempts by writers in some of the world's most influential journals to make sense of this unfolding drama.

| Spiegel Online: Britain is splintering Christoph Scheuermann described how fault lines have opened up across the UK. In his portrayal of a divided country he stated: "Fault lines have appeared in British society that are larger and more extreme than elsewhere. The gap between the rich and poor is greater here than in almost any other country in the EU and nowhere else do billionaires and the destitute live so closely together...

"In parts of Wales, some people earn less than people in Sicily. Lots of societies are splintered, and the UK has never been an exception, but these gaps have now become virtually unbridgeable...

"For those who grow up in South Wales or the northwest of England, the UK is a grey, hyper-capitalist oligarchy in which anyone with lots of money or a famous last name can rise up the ladder. Cold Britannia."

| The Irish Independent: The UK could never have the best of both worlds Dan O'Brien punctured the idea that Britain could have its cake and eat it: "It has always been clear to anyone who maintains even a passing interest in European affairs that the best-of-both-worlds option, which English withdrawalists had long claimed was available on departure from the EU, was never real. No country can have the economic upsides of single-market access without the sovereignty downside of playing by the collective rules."

| The Globe and Mail: Does Theresa May have a secret plan to stay in the EU? David A Welch, writing for the Canadian Globe and Mail, said the arrangements for negotiating an exit from the EU were "a bit like being told to plunk down $50,000 without knowing which car you are buying."

He asked: "Who in their right mind would do it?" Mr Welch added: "If Ms May is preparing the groundwork to stay, she is doing it brilliantly.

"By stretching out the timetable as far as possible without raising anyone's suspicions, she has given ample time to let Brexit buyer's remorse gel...

"Meanwhile, Ms May has set up key Tory Brexit supporters to fail by giving them thankless cabinet assignments... As time passes, it will become increasingly clear that none can hope to deliver what they promised the voters in June.

"Don't be surprised in March if, instead of triggering Article 50, Ms May calls a snap election asking for a mandate to be released from her Brexit obligation."

| The New York Times: The EU shouldn't give in to Britain on free movement America's most influential newspaper rejected the idea that the UK should enjoy unfettered access to EU markets without having to accept free movement of workers.

It argued that allowing Britain to "cherry-pick its membership rules" would encourage other "separatists", thereby "undermining the European project and making the region less stable, less prosperous and less tolerant".

The paper argued: "A common market cannot function properly if people are not allowed to move without having to obtain visas.

"Imagine how much more difficult it would be to do business in the United States if companies could not easily relocate employees to different states or if people could not freely move to take advantage of job opportunities."

| Times of India: For a warm welcome, go to Australia instead of the UK The journal claimed that "off-putting visa policies" are to blame for a fall in the "number of Indian students planning to study in UK to an all-time low". It told its readers: "Other countries like Australia and Canada are much more welcoming."

The Times said it was "strange" that Britain would pursue a free trade agreement with India at the same time as "proposing visa restrictions that will hurt India".

| Le Monde: Skyscrapers in the City could start to empty Eric Albert wrote of how staff at a Canary Wharf-based bank could vanish: "There is no question of moving the European headquarters of the bank or even the majority of employees.

"But at least one - maybe two - floor of the tower where the property is located should be emptied.

"Three and a half months after the vote in favour of Brexit end of June, the City is ready."

| China Daily: Brussels needs to agree an amicable divorce Fu Jing took Brussels to task for being "short-sighted and conservative when it really needs to be bold, radical and visionary" if it "wants to avoid the markets losing confidence in Europe, and investors and travellers being frightened away".

He added: "Most importantly, Brussels needs to sit down quickly with London 'amicably'. It must adjust its mindset.

"It is true that being tough is reasonable if it wants to warn other members not to follow in the steps of the UK.

"However, Brussels and London need to consider carefully how to deal with one another, for they must live under the same roof, even though they are getting divorced. As a Chinese saying goes, neighbours can relocate, but a neighbouring country cannot."

| Bloomberg: New York will be the big winner from Brexit Gavin Finch reports that New York - not Paris or Frankfurt - may be the destination for banks that pull staff out of London.

He writes that "bank bosses have given up hope that British Prime Minister Theresa May will be able to strike a post-Brexit deal that preserves the right to sell goods and services freely around the EU".

New York, he argues, is "the place that rivals the depth of markets, breadth of expertise or regulatory appeal boasted by London".

| The Wall St Journal: The plunging pound may be no bad thing The authors of this analysis say that although it may look as if "British people are one-sixth poorer and their economy is one-sixth smaller", suffering "Brexit's pain through the currency may be more comfortable than through higher unemployment or other ills".

They write: "Despite the shock of Brexit, more than three months later there are few tangible signs of economic distress in Britain... Credit, say economists, goes in large part to the decline of the British pound, which has acted as a giant shock absorber against Brexit."

| The New Zealand Herald: Another world is possible Jane Kelsey suggests that the era of mammoth trade deals is coming to an end and Brexit shows integration has a reverse gear.

She writes: "The model of everexpansive free trade and investment deals is in meltdown internationally. The [Trans-Pacific Partnership] may never make it through the US Congress. The German and French ministers have written off its counterpart, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, as dead in the water.

"Brexit puts the lie to the notion that deep integration is irreversible, once alienation reaches breaking point."

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<B A People's Challenge protester waves an EU flag outside the Royal Courts of Justice where the government's authority to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the EU without recourse to Parliament is being challenged
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 24, 2016
Words:1222
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