Re: Of course they won't listen
FFS do a bit of research - Thatcher did not take the UK into Europe. You will find that there are about 10 years between these events.
As for extortion, you will also find that every EU member has their own form of 'special deal' - the UK is not the first nor the last. Read the details of the Common Agricultural Policy - it would be hilarious if it were not so tragic and wasteful.
But you're right about the pound of flesh - the UK has unfortunately shown that not only has the EU project lost its way, it also shows little intention of reforming and engaging with the population to find it again.
You must be prepared for the consequences if you call somebody's bluff and they actually do what they said they would *. So yes - having exposed the arrogance and short-sightedness of the EU commission by showing them to having failed has no doubt made them somewhat upset.
Tusk and Junckers are pissed as they have managed to lose parts of the empire almost single handedly by refusing to acknowledge issues that almost all member states are grappling with.
A better solution would have been to adopt the Hungarian position, ignore democratic process and just impose whatever measures were felt necessary and wait for the EU to throw the UK out - it probably would never have happened.
But in a way it could possibly be the best thing that could have happened to the EU - assuming that they recognise and do something about it. Otherwise expect this departure to be a starting point.
Said with an incredibly heavy heart as somebody who truly wants a European project to succeed and hoped it would never have got this far.
But without destruction there is rarely reinvention ....
* That also goes for the numpties that called the UK referendum without a plan if the 'wrong result' ever happened.