This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
It’s all fire around Theresa May. Jeremy Corbyn has increased the pressure on the UK Premier at a particularly critical moment, during the start of the Brexit negotiations. On the other hand, Gerry Adams, the historic Sinn Féin leader, recently visited Downing Street for the first time in a decade and directly accused May of violating the Good Friday Agreement. According to Adams, the possibility of a governing covenant among the Conservative Party and the DUP (Unionist Party of Northern Ireland) to achieve a majority in the British Parliament, is a rupture of the British Government’ role as guarantor of North Ireland’ peace process. That is not to mention the British Police’s performance on the terrorist attacks, or the recent fire at the Grenfell tower which has been considered by a Labour MP as a ‘criminal negligence.’ After two terrorist attacks in less than three months, the British capital revived the nightmare with the Grenfell tower terrifying fire in the middle of the night.
Last June 22nd was a year later of the Brexit‘s triumph, which won the referendum with only a 3.7% lead. Since then, the wound opened about the EU debate in the United Kingdom is far from being over. This was acknowledged recently by the highest religious authority of the Church of England, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury since 2013. Welby acknowledges that the political situation created after the last elections, without an absolute majority of Government, “has created an understandable temptation to turn every difference into a question of confidence.” Welby urges British politicians to seek unity and avoiding “the temptation to take domestic advantage at the cost of these events.” He has proposed to the PM to sponsor a commission under the Parliament’ umbrella, in which all parties are willing to achieve a common position before the Brexit negotiations. It would be presided over by a veteran and prestigious politician and away from the current partisan struggles. Some Labour MPs had already advocated a commission like the one proposed by Archbishop Welby. However, it is doubtful whether his idea might please the hard Brexiters inside the Conservative Party.
The fact is that, once the negotiations to carry out Brexit have started, a new word is being recently heard in England: ‘Regretxit‘, which links the term Brexit with ‘Regret’. The polling company YouGov, which was very accurate in its projection of seats that May would lose in the past election, has made a satisfaction survey on Brexit, and the ‘Regrexit‘ is already leading. It must be remembered that in the referendum on this UE leaving issue, the pro-leaving was 51.8%, compared with 48.1% (17.4 million votes against 16.1). One year later, 45% of those surveyed, believe that EU exit will be a historic mistake, exceeding the 44% who still believe that Brexit was successful: 40% believe that the country will be worse after leaving its partners since 1973, and only 25% foresee a better perspective.
The main reason the Brexit was voted was to regain sovereignty, that British decisions are taken by the British. The second reason is the control of immigration. YouGov’s survey made for ‘The Times’ reveals that the economics are right now more crucial than immigration: 58% say that in negotiations with the EU, the European free market must prevail.
The reality is that already now, British households have lost purchasing power; The political crisis is palpable with a very weak government after the last elections; The British negotiating position is very fragile and confusing and, a wave of companies offshoring is expected as the breakthrough progresses. Brexit‘s hyper nationalistic adventure is already punishing the UK. In addition, British society is politically divided in two, divided as never were before. May wanted to celebrate elections to consolidate her power; She failed and lost the absolute majority which had bequeathed from Cameron. She is right now in a fragile minority and highly questioned by her own party. The British Government has never finished defining a clear strategy for Brexit, probably because it does not have it. The Premier outlined her intentions for a tough exit last January: abandonment of the single market and the Customs Union, control of borders and end of EU citizens’ free movement. So, tough exit.
But everything will depend on the pain caused by the Brexit to the UK citizens. The English, despite their pretensions of superiority over the rest of Europe, are usually a practical kind of people, who thinks a lot with their pockets. If the Brexit adventure seriously worsens their lives, they will recant, with a dignified tone and pretending like they have won, but they will step back in the end. If the damages are bearable, an agreement will be sought which will give good access to the EU market and generous quotas of EU citizens arrivals. But since the official start of negotiations in Brussels for Britain’s exit from the EU, the British negotiating chief David Davis, the EU’s exit appointed minister, was thrashed by his EU counterpart Michel Barnier, who has imposed a timetable, schedule and negotiation model. Right now, things don’t look right for Britain. And the rest of the EU will not allow it either.