BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 19:  German Chancellor Angela Merkel and  Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrive for a round table meeting on October 19, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium. Under discussion are the Iran Nuclear Deal, Brexit and North Korea. Mrs May has offered assurances to EU nationals that her government will make it as easy as possible to remain living in the United Kingdom after Brexit.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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Many Brexit supporters in the UK have bet the house on Germany coming through to help the UK gain both an exit and free trade deal with the EU. It is a risky calculation, given that David Cameron hoped (incorrectly) that Angela Merkel would deliver the reforms he sought to convince the British electorate to vote to Remain in the EU. Opponents of the UK’s departure from the bloc think Theresa May is making the same mistake, while others argue that this time it’s different; it’s about trade and economic common sense.

Wolfgang Münchau looks at Germany’s current Brexit stance in his column, arguing that Berlin ultimately wants a cost-neutral Brexit — it does not want to have to stump up for a democratic decision made in another country. Assuming this can be done, he says there is little reason why Brexit talks can not move onto the second phase in December. All the signs from last week’s summit suggested this would be the case.

The results of Germany’s parliamentary elections have helped the UK’s position, given that the Eurosceptic Free Democrats are likely to be in Ms Merkel’s next coalition. But if the UK reaches phase two, then that is when the really difficult decisions will arise. Mrs May has yet to make it clear to her cabinet, party or the country what kind of longer term relationship she wants with the EU. Warm words about a “deep and special partnership” may be comforting, but there has been an almost total lack of detail about what this means, and where the compromises will be made.

If the UK wants a deal on financial services, Wolfgang says, then it will have to also do a deal on migration. But until the UK decides what its red lines on this issue are, Germany can do nothing to help. Soon, the ball on the future shape of Brexit will be firmly back in the British court.

Washington focuses on Big Tech: Rana Foroohar says the bi-partisan Honest Ads Act is a very welcome piece of legislation that will begin tackle the divide between Big Tech and law makers. But she argues that Capitol Hill’s understanding of Silicon Valley is still limited and this legislation drive is only the start.

Welfare challenge: our FT View says the UK government has the right intentions with its Universal Credit programme to reform welfare entitlements but Theresa May must listen to those who have raised valid concerns. Some tweaks can help those who risk losing out.

Best of the rest

Jimmy Carter Lusts for a Trump Posting — Maureen Dowd in the New York Times

There might be one good thing about a hard Brexit after all — Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post

After Victory in Raqqa — The Wall Street Journal editorial board

George Osborne — next Tory Mayor of London? — Iain Martin for Reaction

Jeremy Corbyn’s 2017 performance was better than you think — Stephen Bush in the New Statesman

What you’ve been saying

Long may celebration of excellence continue— letter from Fiona Leishman:

“We dedicated ourselves — six days a week, often working 16-hour days — to the task of producing delicious food, simply but artfully presented. The award of the Michelin star represented not just a recognition of the standard we had achieved, but it also offered the opportunity to be recognised as members of that elite club of chefs and restaurants with whom we shared common purpose and values. It was absolutely about excellence and the celebration of excellence.”

Comment from Physiocrat on Brexit must offer Leave voters the dignity they voted for:

“The problems of regional economic imbalance are to be found throughout the EU, both within countries as diverse as Italy and Sweden, and across the EU as a whole. At root, it is a problem of marginality/sub-marginality. It is unfortunate that the economic policies of both the EU and its member countries, in particular their tax policies, have aggravated the problem. The economic experts — academics and civil servants — lack the economic technology to analyse and deal with the problem. Grants under the structural fund just scratch the surface.”

Probability theory should be taught as core maths— letter from Anže Slosar:

“It is for purely historical reasons that probability, combinatorics and statistics are relegated to optional courses taught at the end of secondary education, while we teach quadratic equations and basic trigonometry as basic maths. Taking probability theory as a core maths topic could reduce the number of problem gamblers and reduce the societal impact of terrorist attacks, in addition to drawing more children to mathematics with its truly puzzling puzzles.”

Today’s opinion

Kevin Rudd: Xi Jinping offers a long-term view of China’s ambition This president has an iron grip on power and a strategy to reach global pre-eminence

Simon Samuels: Banks benefit when they employ more women at the top There is ample evidence that gender diversity is good for profits

Wolfgang Munchau: Germany’s financial squeeze offers Brexit hope Its big current account surplus means Merkel will not want a cliff-edge British exit

Rana Foroohar: Washington takes aim at Big Tech Proposed legislation for online political ads is one step towards a tougher regime

Gavyn Davies’ blog: The (non) disappearing Phillips Curve: why it matters

Instant Insight: Catalonia clampdown takes Spain into uncharted territory The window for compromise is closing rapidly, writes Tony Barber 

FT View

FT View: Kenya can ill-afford another flawed election Better to delay Thursday’s poll in favour of a more credible re-run

FT View: May should heed the critics of universal credit The reform has laudable goals but its rollout has caused hardship

The Big Read

The Big Read: Robotics in the running for Nike’s factories of the future Developing countries could lose low-cost manufacturing if leisurewear companies increase focus on automated production

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