Brexit: Six more months of political paralysis or a May-Corbyn compromise?

UK Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Paris, France to meet with President Macron. (Taken on April 9, 2019. Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing St. official photo. Some rights reserved).

 

 

 

Last Thursday in Brussels the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May felt it was necessary to tell the 27 EU leaders, who had gathered there to meet her, that “Britain is a serious country”. Until some months ago such an observation from a British PM would have been unimaginable.

Until very recently nobody would have dared to question the soberness and the rigor of the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world. In the now prevailing bizarre political climate though the French President, Emmanuel Macron supported a very short Brexit delay until 30 June. He finally and reluctantly accepted the deferment of the divorce day for 31 October.

Macron’s reserves

The French leader didn’t hide his thoughts. He said that a delay of many months may bring to 10 Downing Street a Brexiteer hardliner. Such a person may choose to bring the EU to a standstill, by exercising the veto power the country will continue retaining until the Brexit date.

It became clear then mainland Europeans are prepared for anything, coming from the British – rather English – anti-EU political champions of the kind of Jacob Rees-Mogg. During last Thursday’s EU Summit in Brussels this issue was so hot, that Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel were driven apart. They supported quite opposing views about the Brexit delay, since the German leader was in favour of a full one year delay.

It is a shocking revelation to understand clearly now the true character of some British politicians and probably of a large part of the country’s population. Obviously, some first rate British, rather English politicians, are incredibly hostile against mainland Europe, as if we live in the era before and after the Battle of Waterloo. Those English won’t hesitate – at least this is what Macron and many more Europeans think – to exercise their powers in full, in order to inflict the worst possible damage to the European Union.

Some unforgiving English people

The exposure of the real revulsion that many Brits show against Europeans (“bloody foreigners!”) comes as a nasty revelation to many. Nevertheless, for decades many Europeans have had the feeling that the Brits underrated them, by deriding or even reproaching everything lying beyond the English Channel. Those of us who have lived in Britain for some time have felt that more than once.

During the past few months though there was a great media exposure of the hard Brexiteer anti-European ‘ideology’ developed by a large group of English politicians. So, lately, the likes of Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage have greatly enraged many Europeans. A lot of people on this side of the ‘Manche’ remembered that there is practically no European country that Great Britain hand’t invaded into some time in her long imperialistic past.

Old sins

‘Divide and conquer’ has been the English foreign policy towards Europe for centuries. To be noted that this is an exclusively English attitude not shared or supported by the Scottish, the Catholic/nationalist Irish or, at the limit, by the Welsh. On the contrary, those other UK nations have their own reasons to blame the English. Actually Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage could only be English, and more precisely coming from the South of the island.

Undoubtedly, if this group of ultra right-wing hard Brexiteer politicians continues dividing Britain by fighting any divorce agreement, the European trauma may become noxious. Soon we will know if some longer of Brexit talks can convince the English political elites, that a workable Brexit deal or even a no exit at all needs horizontal cooperation.

Learn to compromise

In this direction the ongoing talks between the Labor Party and the May government linger. For months this newspaper has been maintaining that “Only Corbyn and May in concert can make the needed compromises” for a viable Brexit deal. The crucial test of their ability to produce results will be the possibility to save Britain from the humiliation of participating in the European Elections, while readying to exit.

To achieve that, the discussions have to produce soon a compromise for Brexit, acceptable in Brussels. In this process a second referendum may be on its way. There is strong evidence that the UK voters, if asked again now they would undo the June 2016 plebiscite which turned out 52% in favour of Brexit.

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