In one word – yes, in another word – no. It is really unclear how the next few years in the political world will pan out. We have Donald Tusk and Jean Claude-Juncker putting pressure on Theresa May to get more out of her on Brexit, and on the other hand we have a crisis in the British parliament with no single party holding a majority in the snap general election only a few weeks ago.
Aren’t we all fed up of the same rhetoric we are being presented with at the moment?
Let me take your mind back to the 23rd June 2016. This was an historic day in British politics and something not many of us expected – we voted to leave the European Union. But the Prime Minister, Theresa May, our previous Home Secretary and who was newly-elected, failed to act quickly on the will of the British people after being handed the top job following David Cameron’s resignation. But the vote by the British people (52% of them) including the triggering of Article 50 was delayed. Many European leaders found themselves in embarrassment because they all vowed beforehand that the UK would stay in the European Union, however they soon realised the decision that left them and us in a mini-meltdown.
Many activists vowed that the new Prime Minister should act quickly, and with this, trigger Article 50 (the formal process of leaving the European Union by the Lisbon Treaty). But the delay meant that the exit was not confirmed until the end of March 2017 (9 months after the vote) and it would be the end of March 2019 when we would be expected to formally leave. It is clear that no one had researched a plan as many politicians believed we would stay in the European Union, this could answer the question: why the delay?
Meanwhile, debates have raged about when we leave the European Union, whether we should remain in the single market – and adopt a Norway-style deal. However, the main issue of the referendum was that people wanted to leave the single market and therefore end freedom of movement – because immigration was such a focal point. Some people turned to far-right influential figures, such as Nigel Farage and President Trump, who also got involved to encourage Britons to leave the European Union as a matter of great urgency. The constant propaganda from when the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who called the referendum in February 2016, meant that we had 4 months of constant television coverage everyday until we all wanted a break – the scaremongering of all of the politicians to the harsh reality of leaving the union we had been a part of since we joined in 1975.
Fast forward to now and the negotiations in Europe have only just begun. They aim for a week of negotiations each month. The main issues that will be discussed first are the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU. But the overriding issue which must be addressed soon is the UK’s divorce bill from the EU – some euro sceptics are saying 50 billion Euros and others are saying close to 100 billion Euros.
Our Brexit secretary, David Davis, and the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, had a good start last week with ‘progress’ made but said they had ‘a long way to go’.
Meanwhile in the days leading up to the first day of negotiations, French President Emmanuel Macron, said that the UK can still remain in the EU if it wants to – and many members of the European Council and Commission say that Britain would be allowed to come back in if it is not right for them.
Now, Theresa May has just last week, signed a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland for a ‘coalition’ to make up the numbers to form a minority government in the House of Commons. The DUP was given over £1 billion to stabilise the power-sharing in Northern Ireland and to help with new projects, such as infrastructure, education, healthcare etc. But there has been uproar from Wales and Scotland with them not getting any money from Theresa May. They all accused Theresa May of throwing away money and not being fair to the devolved nations.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Donald Trump (U.S. President) has been in office for 6 months now and he is already changing things in his country. He has signed many “executive orders” for things that he thinks should go ahead in the country. For example, his nationwide ban on Muslims and asylum seekers entering the USA has been signed this week again and will remain in place until at least October, when the Supreme Court will rule whether it should stay in place. He has not only faced criticism for that, but for repealing so-called “Obama care” – the healthcare bill, which has been backed by many in the Senate – but mainly Republicans. Many Americans will now have to pay more for healthcare because of this legislation.