Brexit

The rocky road of divorce: The UK and the EU

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Regretting past actions, months of lies, conflicting ideas about the future, refusing to speak face to face, and pressure from the extended family to reach a united decision. No, this is not the latest episode of a popular reality TV show. This is the entertainment that the ironically named ‘United’ Kingdom is providing the world through the final 2 months of their divorce settlement with the EU. Who would have thought that David Cameron’s decision to hold a referendum in order to let the ‘people decide’ would lead to such a tumultuous spiral of events today? 

Much like the university student that has left their essay to the night before, the UK, which has had two years to reach some sort of coherent agreement on their Brexit deal, has entered the last stages of the process with…absolutely nothing.

For a country that prides itself on being a figure-head of modernity and political sophistication, the events of the last couple of days showcase longstanding cracks that cast ridicule on our decision making institutions. So, just how badly has this all gone wrong?

Firstly, even Theresa May herself has claimed in the past that she wasn’t in favour of leaving the EU.  Yet she is now contradicting her previous statements and is standing firm in her new stance in leaving the organisation. But do we really believe her? 

On the one hand we can sympathise that she would receive immense backlash if she didn’t support the decision of the ‘democratic’ 2016 public referendum. We cannot keep letting the public decide until they reach what the establishment decides is the ‘right’ decision. But, on the other hand, she should never have put herself in a position where she would end up leading the UK in a political decision that she disagreed with a few months prior to the referendum. It is evident in her stance that her heart is not in Brexit. She is merely using empty rhetoric in her speeches, and has carried the nation too far down the ‘Brexit path’ to return. 

Secondly, aside from May, the majority of those in power still believe that leaving the EU was not the correct decision. Many want to hold another referendum. Several UK business leaders believe that leaving would be a huge disadvantage in future business endeavours, and leading high profile Germans are pleading the UK to stay in the EU. It is very hard for the public to be supportive of a Government when these key figures are advocating that Brexit is a bad idea.  May’s own party is totally divided over the issue.  

Thirdly, government facts may be deliberately misleading. There were claims that the process of holding a new referendum would take up to a year; however new evidence suggests that this is false. Government figures might have little substance behind them.

Finally, there is a lack of unity as regards what each party wants. With pressure from the EU member states to reach a deal, and with opposition parties pleading that a ‘no-deal Brexit’ is out of the question, it looks as though some type of agreement will have to be reached. Yet, with some party members refusing to meet, others wanting to extend Article 50, and few in agreement with May’s original plan, it looks as though one side will have to eventually heavily compromise on their principles. 

Thus, with conflicting pieces of evidence, incorrect facts, and intransigent political elites that refuse to compromise, it not surprising that the majority of the British public are fed up with the plethora of events in the last week. 

They say that ‘the course of true love never did run smooth,’ and perhaps the same can be said for the UK’s unwilling divorce from the EU. So, will we actually leave the EU? On what terms will we leave? Could there be a second referendum? Is Theresa May likely to stay in power through this entire process? Find out how the saga continues on the 21st January when May will publish her new Brexit plan…

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