Brexit: The Conservative Party drives the UK and Europe to a perilous road

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaking in Florence, Italy. (22 September 2017). From there, she asked for a two years interim period for Brexit. It’s characteristic though, that the official internet site of 10 Downing Street carries no photographs of her latest disastrous speech of 4 October in Manchester. (UK government work).

The Tories, the governing party of Britain is falling apart, being deeply divided about the kind of Brexit their country should pursue. It’s not the disastrous political circumstances of Prime Minister Theresa May that blocks the negotiations with the European Union, but the chaos dividing the hard Brexiteers from their colleagues preferring a smooth partition from the EU. As a result the entire country is in a limbo.

Boris Johnson the troublesome foreign Secretary and leader of the calamitous exit faction, seems flying in the hot air. He proposes a no-deal hard Brexit, and at the same time demands full access to the European Internal Market, and why not also in the EU Customs Union. On the other side of the fence the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, reportedly the leader of the soft Brexit group, acknowledges that a future trade relation with the EU has to be accompanied with obligations, pecuniary and otherwise.

A country in limbo

According to Reuters, an EU diplomat said late last Wednesday, “The whole country, the public mood in Britain is completely from a different planet. The whole island took off and is orbiting in their own galaxy. How can you turn this around?” This statement came after Theresa May’s parody speech in Manchester, at the closing evening of the Conservative Party’s annual conference.

It was a humiliating experience for a sitting Prime Minister and President of the Tories. While speaking, May was given by a comedian a mock dismissal order, signed by her rival Boris Johnson, the minister of Foreign Affairs. This was followed by recurring coughing seizures, which tried her composure and strengths. As if this was not enough, at the end of this disastrous speech the lettering of the slogan on a board behind her started falling off. It was a parody and the Press came harsh on her.

After her what?

After that, the wide ranging discussion in the Party about disposing her off, has taken prodigious proportions. May’s calamitous record so far in the top job is unprecedented. It started with last June’s loss of the Tory majority in the Parliament, at a snap election she called all by herself, surprising everybody. Then after the lethal fire at the Grenfell Tower, she was tainted by revelations relating the causes of the inferno to her term in the ministry of Interior. Last Wednesday followed the fiasco speech at the Party’s conference. Nobody in the Conservative Party doubts they need a new leadership.

However the problem of the governing party and of course of Britain is that a contest for a new head and consequently new Prime Minister now, will ruin the country’s efforts to realize in time a Brexit of some kind. There are four possible successors to May: foreign secretary Boris Johnson, finance secretary Philip Hammond, interior secretary Amber Rudd, and Brexit secretary David Davis. All of them have expressed an affinity for diverging Brexit paths, ranging from the catastrophic no-deal exit plan of Johnson, to the even and probably soft alternative of Hammond.

Brexit and Labour Party

At the same time an election procedure for a new Party President will surely expose the internal divisions of the Conservatives, thus fueling the rise of the opposition Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn. It’s the same Conservative deputies who are the toughest Brexiteers and at the same time the ones who are terrified with a prospect of a Labour government. They preposterously assert Corbyn would turn Britain into a…Soviet Republic, if he wins the next election.

Those are a number of deputies, who despise Europe and hate the social democratic tradition of the Old Continent. They possibly dream of a colonial and ‘Britain rules the waves’ past. They are  dangerous, because seemingly they value more their cause than their country. There is no other explanation for such outdated and obstinate cathexis. It’s exactly the same ideological group which has thrown out the last three Presidents of the Party and Prime Ministers, when key issues related to the European Union were on the table. Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron were all forced to resign for being ‘soft’ with mainland Europeans. The EU has been haunting the Tories for decades.

A surrealistic vision

It’s a tragedy, politicians who represent a rather small part of voters and promote a surrealistic vision of their country and the world, to have repeatedly drag Britain to her worse crisis. They forced Cameron to promise a referendum, used overtly untruth arguments to win the ‘leave’ vote and then threw Cameron out. Now they want Boris, a systematic liar and real harlequin, to govern Britain. They probably don’t have the power to impose Boris as leader of Party and country, but still they try hard. They stop at nothing, and shrink only to the idea he may lose the next election vis-a-vis Corbin. In short Britain is in the thin air, because the governing Conservatives cannot come up with one cohesive Brexit plan and after for the UK. In any case though, the looming exit from the EU has started producing side effects. In this respect, it’s interesting to follow the relevant discussion at the World Trade Organization.

Always deceitful

Despite the fact the Tories advertise a pro free-trade neo-liberal ideology, the May government behave in a clearly protectionist way at the WTO. Here is why. As things stand, Britain after Brexit has to obtain her own sit in the WTO assembly, leaving the collective representation of the EU. Understandably, even if Britain is not able to realistically discuss Brexit, the rest of the world takes it seriously. In this context, import quotas of agrofood products have to be re-calculated for the ‘new’ WTO member state.

In view of that Britain proposes that this calculation is realized on historical averages. The largest exporting countries of the world United States, Argentina, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Thailand and Uruguay though reject this historical average option. They demand that Britain follows the current EU rule, which permits a doubling of ‘potential exports to the region’. In this way Britain strongly rejects this EU’s liberal ‘doubling’. This is a clear indication that the UK after Brexit wouldn’t become the free-trade champion the Tories want the world to believe. The country is obviously preparing to fight globalization and free world trade. This fact exposes another flagrant Tory lie, similar to the deceptions the Brexiterrs used to make the ‘leave’ ballot win.

In conclusion, the UK is in a state of total confusion. This is true not only in relation to the Brexit negotiations, but also regarding the country’s position in our brave new world. Even worse, the 27 EU leaders, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron, don’t seem inclined to make life easier for Britain, by softening their stance on the negotiations agenda; first the divorce terms and payments and then trade talks.

Last but not least the rest of the world is actively preparing for a disastrous Brexit. The American banks, which made the London City a global financial hub, are gradually moving to Frankfurt am Main. The German lobby for industry (Federation of German Industries – BDI) instructs its members to prepare for a non-orderly Brexit and the Brussels Bureaucracy seriously envisages the same prospect. Only some Tories don’t care what will become of Britain and Europe in case of a disorderly Brexit.

 

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