Given the Brexit vote was now over six months ago, you’d have thought the Government was beginning to execute its carefully crafted policy for pulling Britain out of the European Union, but sadly, this does not appear to be the case.
There is an increasing amount of evidence that indicates the Government has no idea what it is doing. From the Brexit ministers making fools of themselves in the eyes of those they will have to negotiate with, to the UK-EU Ambassador, Sir Ivan Rogers, standing down, citing issues with Government policy on Brexit. His leaked resignation letter mirrors the thinking of a leaked memo in December:
It is becoming increasingly clear, whether you are a brazen Brexiteer or a euphoric Europhile, that Britain will bungle Brexit. With the debate over hard Brexit or soft Brexit being as meaningful or constructive as the debate over Star Wars or Star Trek (although in the case of geeks discussing fictional galaxies compared to politicians debating an equally vicious topic, the geeks have some idea as to what they are talking about), we must turn to the people. Surely, the British people, who spoke out in peaceful, political protest, who showed on June the 23rd the pencil is more powerful than the sword, will give us guidance towards the new Jerusalem. However, with stories of a rise in hate crimes and Brits being told that they should ‘Brexit’ themselves, it seems that once the British public voted to leave the apparently oppressive regime of the EU, some idiots decided that there wasn’t enough oppression in Britain.
So, while Theresa May attempts to keep the United in United Kingdom, she appears to be failing. Although, it is unlikely her predecessors or opponents for the leadership of the Conservatives could have done any better.
The root of the problem is that Theresa May will struggle to have a United Kingdom and a hard Brexit at the same time. Theresa May is really left with three horrible options.
She can go for the full, hard Brexit, leave the single market, end free movement to Britain, and completely detach the UK from the EU. Although if she does this, it may not be the UK as we know it. In the event of a hard Brexit, it is very likely the SNP will push for a second independence referendum. If Scotland leaves the UK, then perhaps those in Northern Ireland will seek for the province to re-join the republic. Although polls for both Scotland and Northern Ireland show support for the status quo, polls also showed a Remain and Clinton victory so it would be wise to take these numbers with some scepticism.
Her second, albeit unlikely, option is to ignore the Leave vote. Given that there is no precedent to go by, it is impossible to say exactly what will happen when Article 50 is triggered. Perhaps Theresa May’s plans will keep stalling. EU negotiations may continue until the end of time and Britain will be in a constant state of Brexiting, with every successive Government promising to carry out the process successfully.
The third outcome is a soft Brexit. The Government goes to Brussels, negotiates some single market access in exchange for some freedom of movement into Britain. This would be the way of uniting the UK, as almost everyone would hate this deal - Leavers want no immigration, and Remainers, well, we lost, so we’ll always be upset.
Subsequent national anger will turn into annoyance at the Government, particularly after Theresa May fires Boris Johnson and David Davis, blaming them for the horrible Brexit deal.
In the end, we can only sit and watch with bemusement. Hearing the analysis, which is based on conjecture, realising that it all sounds so surreal, with all the different reports, opinions and speculation blending into one giant question mark. With no new ways to look at Brexit at the end of 2016, we can only hope that this year will provide us with new insight into how Brexit will actually be implemented.
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