Brexit update: ‘Much Ado About Nothing ‘
Two important rounds of voting in the British Parliament this past week turned the old adage ‘No news is good news’ on its head: in fact, there was a lot of news which brought about nothing new and whether bad or good depended on which side of the fence Brits were sitting on.
But, first things first. Late on Wednesday, Parliament rejected the deal PM Theresa May had negotiated by an overwhelming majority of 432 to 202. The outcome was not a surprise, though Tories were certainly disappointed by the numbers.
The result of this historic vote led Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to file a motion of no-confidence, hoping to remove Mrs. May from office. His maneuver failed, though the PM managed to slip through his net by a margin of only 19 votes. Some commentators have suggested that Corbyn may keep on trying to oust May while the Brexit clock keeps on ticking.
So, what does all this mean? Clearly, Mrs. May will have to return to Brussels to try to re-negotiate some of the sticky points PMs especially dislike (e.g. the backstop provision for the Irish border), but she only has a few days to do so and EU leaders have been adamant about not being willing to change the deal which has already been put on the table.
While the ghost of ‘no-deal’ is hovering over Westminster–what the business community, ex-pats and non-British, EU residents living in the UK fear the most–the call for a second referendum is becoming louder and louder. The growing opinion seems to be that if the government is unable to solve the problem, the people should be allowed to do it.
Many polls are showing that a majority of UK citizens now favour remaining in the European Union. Perhaps, more people now have a clearer idea of the risks involved in leaving the EU. Pollsters also suggest more young people, who tend to oppose Brexit, would vote to remain if given a second chance. However, there is no guarantee that a second Brexit referendum would have a different outcome.
All of this chaos, brings to mind the memorable phrase from a Lewis Carroll poem.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
” To talk of many things: “
Let’s hope that this ‘Much Ado’ will soon lead to something which is acceptable to citizens on both sides of the channel.