Is that the EU, and many of its main nation states, are tearing themselves apart anyway, as general dissatisfaction with the direction of their lives mounts and becomes focussed on political elites. The attitude adopted by the EU political elite towards the UK in relation to the Brexit negotiation is a deliberate policy of being as difficult as possible "pour encourager les autres": to preserve the lie that it is not possible to have some, or all, of the benefits of a European free trade area, without the political edifice on top - were there a deep seated confidence within the EU that all was well with the European project, there would be less need to make an example of the UK.
And in case anyone doesn't believe me about the EU, and its key nation states tearing themselves apart, I would cite the following in evidence:
1. The German election results which has seen the rise of the right-wing, anti-Europe AfD, whose chairman was savagely beaten in the street with a metal bar (presumably for politically motivated reasons) last week.
2. The gilet jaune movement in France.
3. The Italian election results, which put the Lega Nord (a party which potentially wants to break up Italy and the 5 Star Movement in power)
4. The Catalan referendum of 2017, which saw Spanish riot police beating people for attempting to vote and threatened the break up of Spain itself
5. Greece, anyone?
6. The rise of nationalist parties in Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Denmark, Finland, Poland
So, please, let's not pretend that everything is fine and dandy with the EU project. Because it isn't. In fact it looks like, Brexit is apart, it is in terminal decline anyway. In which case, why are we so concerned about the precise terms pursuant to which we are shackled to a corpse?