Brexit has entered an expected phase. The United Kingdom is becoming Balkanised. The Brexit civil war has generated divisions in the UK that cannot be bridged unless the two sides talk and settle. And it would be unwise for any “expert” to predict the trajectory and final outcome of the Brexit war at this stage.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson — a blustering and bullying personality in the manner of United States President Donald Trump — has been effectively checkmated by UK lawmakers and the legal establishment. It is highly unlikely that he gets the two things he believes will save his leadership of the UK — a Brexit deal or a no-deal Brexit — albeit the latest news is that Mr. Johnson may U-turn and allow Northern Ireland to remain in the European Union with a customs border with the UK.
On the other side of the battlefield, Remainers led by senior Conservative and Labour leaders, Liberal Democrat Joe Cox, and Speaker of the House John Bercow are determined to thwart the far right Conservative Party at every move. And they are succeeding with the aid of “powerful silent partners.”
The UK is highly unlikely to leave the EU on Oct. 31. Another fact is that European leaders want to be rid of this whole Brexit mess. However, Europeans do not want to be seen as the side that pulls of the trigger that leads to the UK’s departure from Europe. Europeans prefer that the UK pull the trigger itself.
UK citizens — if the latest polls are to be believed — are now firmly against Brexit. There has been a “great awakening” that UK voters and the general public have been “conned” by Brexiteers led by snake oil salesmen with posh accents.
A UK general election predicated on Brexit is expected before Christmas. But even this must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. In war, anything is possible. The UK — before Oct. 31 — may opt for a caretaker government led by an elder statesman like Sir Kenneth Clark until the Brexit matter is resolved.
This will most logically end with a second referendum that asks for a national response on an insoluble matter, hopefully by asking the right questions — unlike the first referendum that has landed Britain in the present swamp.
The view from Europe must be daunting: The UK, the world’s most respected parliamentary democracy, appears to be disintegrating.
Europe’s leaders continue to state that Britain is free to leave whenever it wants to. So why can’t the Brits decide to simply depart? Because half of Britain understands that in today’s world — with a Donald Trump who cannot be trusted, a predatory and swiftly growing China, and a Russia and India that are becoming huge economic and military behemoths — that a Europe with huge political, economic and social clout is the only check on these encircling powers. In other words, the EU is the only game in town for the UK.
Brexiteers, however, remain deluded. There is a yearning for a yesteryear, when the British empire ruled the seven seas. Post-Brexit, the Britain that ruled the world will make a resurgence. This is the Brexiteer dream. The belief is that if the UK breaks from the EU, the world of the 1940s and 50s, where Britannia ruled so much, will make a re-appearance. That is not going to happen.
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