A three-year-long nightmare experienced by the British public shows no sign of waking relief as Brexit is not achieved on October 31. Three years, two prime ministers, and one referendum have all failed to deliver what was the biggest single vote for anything in the nation’s long history. With 17.4 million voters betrayed, the concept of democracy is wavering in what used to be considered the Mother of All Parliaments.
PM Boris Johnson promised the electorate that he would rather “die in a ditch” than not deliver the referendum result by Halloween. That Britain’s leader is still ambulatory and far from any ditches perhaps suggests that his words were little more than either hope or political posturing. But what is happening with Brexit now? And can it still be achieved?
The EU’s “Helping Hand”
Johnson brought a Brexit deal to the House of Commons that was voted down; no surprise here as it was essentially the same deal former PM Theresa May had shot down by parliamentarians on three separate occasions. The issue is that the majority of MPs are anti-Brexit and are open in admitting that they will do whatever is necessary to thwart it.
So BoJo defied Einstein’s adage on insanity and tried one final time.
With the Remain-backing MPs in fear of leaving the Union without any kind of deal in place, they voted to accept the new treaty … but refused to pass it in the required timeframe. Enter the Benn Act.
The Benn Act is an amendment that sought to force the PM to ask the E.U. for an extension to membership if a vote could not be passed by parliament. The Act passed, and a reluctant BoJo grudgingly sent a letter of request without bothering to sign it.
The European Union hemmed and hawed for a few days and then offered an extension until January 31. But things are far from settled.
General Election Looms
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, up until this week, had the curious claim-to-fame of being a leader who, on numerous occasions, refused the opportunity to try and win an election. Until this week. On Tuesday, MPs voted to hold a General Election. The question becomes, “why now?”
Without an election, Britain would sail away from the E.U., and that would be the completion of Brexit. With an election, Remain-supporting parties now have an opportunity to seize power and hold a second referendum – a so-called “people’s vote.” Ignoring for a moment that the first referendum in 2016 was the very definition of a people’s vote, what these politico’s hope to achieve is not, in fact, a rerun of the initial question.
Members of Parliament who back Britain staying in the E.U. have already dismissed calls for a simple In/Out question on the ballot paper, and instead favor the following:
Boris Johnson’s Deal or Remain in the E.U.
No Clean Break
The reality is that Boris Johnson’s deal is not a Clean-Break Brexit – or a No-Deal Brexit as it has been falsely termed. It is another official treaty with the E.U., which involves the European Courts having jurisdiction over British Courts, Britain unable to negotiate individual trade deals with third-party countries, and continued implementation of E.U.-created laws. In fact, it’s about as close to being a member of the Union as is possible.
This whole political charade has had one purpose in mind: Keep Britain tethered to the European Union.
As bleak as it all seems, there is still a possibility of a real Brexit. If pro-Brexit candidates sweep to power in the upcoming General Election (regardless of party), they could force the government’s hand and insist on a clean break.
The global revolution that began in 2016, first with the Brexit vote, and then with the election of Donald Trump, has not yet run its course. Both of these movements face daily battles in an effort to deliver on their agendas. It may seem like the entire establishment is against them, but as Nigel Farage is fond of saying, “You only take flak when you’re over the target.”