How the US now augments the political troubles around Brexit
The development of the past two weeks demonstrate the immense difficulty, after three and a half years, in establishing certainty regarding Brexit: will the UK leave with no-deal, or will it eventually come to accept the already negotiated exit deal with the EU? We are a few days away from both a change of Prime Minister in the UK and the leadership of the European Council and Commission, as well as three months away from the October 31 Brexit deadline: the bomb is ticking.
At the source of this is the House of Commons believing that they still have control over continued negotiations with respect to Brexit with the EU. Too many British lawmakers have no interest or clue in what happens on the other side of the Channel. They negotiate among themselves.
Whoever will succeed Theresa May will face the exact same challenges
Nothing has indeed changed. The withdrawal agreement agreed by the UK and EU negotiating teams has, so far, been the only one approved by the EU leadership. For one year, beside hatred, shouting (“Order! Order! Order!”), the House repeatedly rejected any constructive proposal and could not even come with a single proposal that achieved a majority vote. All the variations on the UK-EU withdrawal agreement failed to mobilize.
Ursula von der Leyen, the future President of the European Commission, signals she will not reopen Brexit talks and says the ‘precious’ backstop agreement addressing the internal border in Ireland must be defended.
The last negotiation on delaying Brexit (extending it after March 29 of this year) was already a tough compromise between the French president Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s leader Angela Merkel. However, the British media and politicians still believe that the date can be renegotiated: they have no idea of the level of exasperation of the 27 European countries who have been patiently waiting for the United Kingdom to reach a consensus domestically. In the end, it was the UK who opted to leave the EU.
The new UK Prime Minister will have to report to the House of Commons that the options are the same as the dozen that were already refused.
A No-deal Brexit is the default option
It took the current UK prime minister Theresa May a lot of persuasion to explain to the illustrious members of parliament that voting on no deal (the UK leaving the EU without an agreement to facilitate the UK’s exit) is an oxymoron. If the House cannot agree on the existing deal, and there is no other agreed deal on the table, no-deal is the only option short of remaining in the European Union.
Whether the UK Parliament votes for or against it is futile and only worth the message it sends: it knows what it doesn’t want but we don’t know what they do want. They have a little over 100 days to agree on something besides a no-deal.
The US meddling on UK decisions
As the United States Congress fights against the meddling by the Russians in the US presidential elections, the UK seems to find normal that Trump paraded with Farage during the campaign, praised Boris Johnson, insulted the UK Prime Minister and recently bullied the UK Ambassador out of office whose unfavorably papers were probably leaked by Boris Johnson’ allies.
Is the desired future for pro-Brexit politicians a United Kingdom that has become a satellite of the United States? Both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson could not agree more with the United States — Boris Johnson is considered to be Trump’s “poodle” in the media. Similarly, Jeremy Hunt cannot exonerate himself from his political responsibility in the ambassador’s resignation.
Does the United Kingdom have no dignity or sense of national pride? Wasn’t Brexit all about restoring sovereignty and national control? Why was Jeremy Hunt so prompt in accepting the resignation of his ambassador? “‘It Could Have Been Any of Us: Disdain for Trump Runs Among Ambassadors” quotes the New York Times.
Johnson’s allies are trying to stop Theresa May from appointing the new ambassador to the US so he can hire someone who is pro-Trump, according to UK newspaper The Independent.
A second referendum and remain?
It is hard to believe that the Labour Party, after months of hesitation, has decided to support a second referendum while not yet knowing which position it will take on the vote. It did so under the pressure of the Trade Unions (i.e., the British workers who are starting to lose businesses and jobs). They know better than the Oxford intellectuals what is really important for their country. This completely changes the arithmetic. If a new Referendum happens, the conservative party, now majority pro-remain, will be divided and suffer tremendously.
The likely scenario: surrendering
When Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt enters the House as Prime Minister, a day after they came back from Brussels to ask for compromises, they will face a forced capitulation. Neither of them will propose to remain in the EU or a second referendum. Two motions will be on the table: Remain or the existing UK-EU withdrawal agreement. The House will swallow its pride. The new government might lose a confidence vote and the Prime Minister might stay for a few weeks before a general election definitely eradicates the UK Parliament of the Conservative Party.
A vote on a second referendum would probably now be approved. The Conservatives will not be able to agree on their message. That would be the only scenario that could delay the process, especially because it might kill Brexit once and forever.
How will the United Kingdom survive this identity crisis?