“Basically Impossible”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his conservatives have been reelected with a larger majority in parliament and they're moving ahead with a departure from the European Union in a so-called "Brexit," but the process of actually exiting the European customs onion is very far from over.

A Brexit has been triggered, but the long and difficult task of negotiating terms of trade and immigration in a post-Brexit world are still ahead and Boris Johnson has set a hard deadline of the end of this year to negotiate their terms.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, however, says negotiating terms by the end of this year will be "impossible."

“The transition time is very, very tight ... so it is basically impossible to negotiate all that I have been mentioning, so we will have to prioritize,” she said.

Johnson has said that Britain will not extend the transition period, and will not seek a deal based on close alignment with EU rules, although his spokesman said trade talks did not need to be completed all at once.

Von der Leyen’s views are widely shared in the EU. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, whose country holds the rotating six-month presidency of the bloc, told reporters that Britain had to be sensible.

In other words, the possibility of a hard, no-deal "Brexit" is still with us for as long as it takes to either negotiate their terms of divorce or Boris Johnson agrees to a new deadline just as he did in the fall of 2019.

The immediate crisis of Brexit and what it means for the global economy has retreated for the moment, but it will be with us again later this year when the holidays return and Britain is no closer to securing a deal that won't destroy their economy. The biggest questions about access to the European Union's 500 million consumers and the movement of labor between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe have not been answered. Businesses that were uncertain about their future several months ago are not any closer to that certainty even though the Brexit has finally been triggered.

  • notanncoulter

    well, not to be unsympathetic…
    we are living here in the US with the results of a disastrously stupid election, and UK now has to live with theirs.
    i was truly hoping that brexit would never happen, as it was another ratfucked process.
    but the fact they put BOJO in power with more conservatives says they get what they asked for.

  • muselet

    Even with the best will in the world, Brexit was never going to be a smooth process. Without the best will in the world, Brexit is the monumental Charlie Foxtrot that’s playing out now.

    I’ve used the metaphor before, but Boris Johnson is the dog that caught the car and doesn’t know what to do next.

    A serious person in his position would have negotiators beavering away every working day from now until the end of the year, and have personal meetings with relevant EU officials scheduled for at least once a month (with weekly phone calls in between).

    Boris Johnson has, by all accounts, done none of those things.

    This will not, as I’ve often said, end well. I hope I’m wrong, but I fear I’m not.


    • Most people of sense agree entirely with your final sentence. England is already suffering from “brain drain” as many surgeons, university lecturers and the like throw their hands up and leave for other countries if they can. And countries that do import/export between the EU and UK are moving their home offices to either Ireland or the mainland. Sadly, my Irish and French and Scottish ancestry is a couple of generations too far back for me to qualify for other citizenship. I sometimes wonder why the fuck the two countries I’m members of are both run by complete fuckwitted cockwombling shitgibbons.

      • Draxiar

        I feel like the UK and the US are going through a mid-life crisis that when it’s all over we’ll be ashamed and spend the next few decades making up for our stupidity and embarrassed about buying that orange Camaro.

        • I really hope so. Right now, I don’t hold out much hope for us in the UK. If this doesn’t stop soon, we’ll lose the rest of the UK, and we’ll be stuck with just “Jolly Old England”, which is what the ones in power want, since it will be easier to rape just one country, and what the bigoted, 1950s-looking (or even 1850s-looking) fools want, since they think they’ll get back the days when England had the Colonies and was the major power in the world at the time.

        • stacib23

          A few decades??? I think you’re being fairly optimistic here. My fear is now that the door to insanity has been blown off the hinges with the elections of Boris Johnson and trump* it will get way worse before it gets better. Can you imagine how many idiots are thinking “if they can get elected…”?

          • Draxiar

            I am an eternal optimist. I’m hoping there is a backlash to trumpism that makes even faint echoes of it an instant no go with most people. Thee is work to be done in the future to correct the mistakes for sure but I don’t think a few decades is outside the realms of realism…it may even be an over estimation. Naturally, this requires a sequence of events starting with getting Agent Orange out of office.

      • muselet

        I expect that, in the end, both the UK and the US will survive our joint experiment in kakistocracy. Clearer heads will prevail and all that stuff.

        Of course, that means those who didn’t cause the problems will have to clean up the messes, while the (I love Scottish insults) fuckwitted cockwombling shitgibbons and their minions bitch and moan about the cleanup.

        What truly mystifies me is how the British public, having seen the consequences of electing a weapons-grade bampot, could choose Boris Johnson (Boris Johnson, I ask you!) to run the country.

        Can entire countries plead temporary insanity?


        • Because the same people who own the press in the US also own the press in the UK. Most of those who voted for BoJo and his minions read the Daily Vile, etc. And even the BBC was against Corbyn, so Labour had no chance. Combined with the LibDems having made common cause with the Tories back in Clegg’s day, not many were willing to trust them, either.

          Divide and conquer has worked in both countries.

          • muselet

            Alas, true.