Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday November 16, 2018
The Brutal Reality Of Brexit
Theresa May’s chickens are coming home to roost. The deal she agreed with Brussels is unravelling fast, and her premiership along with it. So far, seven of her ministers have resigned. Letters calling for her replacement are pouring in to the powerful chairman of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee: once he receives 48 letters, there could be a vote of confidence in her leadership, and perhaps a leadership challenge. Other Tories are calling for a second referendum. Meanwhile, the Labour party is slavering at the possibility of an early General Election. The political crisis that has been simmering since 2016 has erupted with a vengeance.
The political fallout from Mrs. May’s latest attempt to square the Brexit circle is understandable. Her Brexit deal is horrible. It would lock the UK into a “frozen Brexit”, neither in the EU nor completely out of it. The U.K. would be forced to accept EU decisions over which it would have no say, and continuing to contribute to the EU budget despite no longer being a member. It would also be unable to enact its own trade deals with the rest of the world until the freeze ended. And it would be unable to end the freeze unilaterally.
The idea is that this “frozen Brexit” would initially be only for a transitional period ending in December 2020, when it would be superseded by a free trade agreement. But the proposal allows this date to be extended, if necessary for decades, if no free trade agreement is negotiated. And if the transition ends without a free trade agreement, then the entire U.K. would remain in a customs union with the EU indefinitely, but Northern Ireland would have a closer relationship with the EU than the rest of the U.K.
For Brexiters and Remainers alike, this is the worst of all possible solutions. But horrible though it is, this deal satisfies the conditions set by Mrs. May in her Lancaster House speech. It also satisfies the EU’s conditions. No other proposal achieves this. It is, therefore, the best deal available. The U.K. Government has struck a deal that allows Britain to have its cake and eat it – but the cake tastes so disgusting that no-one wants to eat it. (Source: Forbes)