The British Apocalypse May Be Delayed

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Just two days from the possibility that Britain will crash out of the European Union (EU) with no deal to replace European customs and trade agreements, it appears that the EU will grant the United Kingdom a delay.

European officials have reportedly agreed to a delay, but not without conditions and it remains to be seen how much more time British officials will have to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

According to the latest draft conclusions Wednesday, Britain would have to act “in a constructive and responsible manner throughout this unique period” of extended withdrawal, and would have to show “sincere cooperation.” It would have to act in “a manner that reflects its situation as a withdrawing member state.”

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU has “expectations” of Britain so that EU institutions can continue functioning “seamlessly.”

In other words, European leaders are afraid that Britain will use its continued membership in the union to obstruct the union's business in some way. They're particularly concerned that Theresa May could be replaced by someone worse.

The so-called "Brexit" could be delayed for several months or even a year, but however long the delay is will not change the fundamental fact that leaving the European Union is a very bad idea that will harm Britain more than the union.

For some of same reasons that there's end in sight to Trump's global trade war, it's just not as easy to have your cake and eat it too as conservative nationalists would have you believe.

That is to say there's no magical deal that will seamlessly replace Britain's membership in the European Union while preserving all the things they took for granted when they voted to leave the union. Issues that could not be resolved over the past two years, such as how to keep the Irish border open, are not going to be resolved in three months or even another year.

The international systems of trade, diplomacy, and cooperation that were established after the second world war were established for very good reasons. Liberal democracy, as it turns out, was a pretty good idea.

  • katanahamon

    Let me just say..I still hate Bernie Sanders…

    “In an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, Sanders said that “April 15 is coming,” adding, “We wanted to release 10 years of tax returns. April 15, 2019, will be the 10th year, so I think you will see them.” (Sanders, despite effectively running for president without pause since 2015, has released only a single, two-page summary for one year of his tax returns.)
    Reminded by the Times reporter that he is now someone of considerable means, Sanders retorted: “I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”
    Uh, what?
    Sanders got a pass on some of his acerbic-ness during the 2016 presidential campaign because a) most people didn’t think he could win and b) others found it part of his cantankerous but righteous personality. But let’s think about that campaign for another minute. Close your eyes and imagine if Hillary Clinton, who beat Sanders for the Democratic nomination, when asked about the extent of her wealth, said “I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”

  • muselet

    The Brexit debacle would be hilarious if the consequences weren’t so dire. Leavers convinced themselves the EU would simply cave to any demand presented to them because reasons, despite the EU’s economy being something like six times that of the UK and the EU having no particular reason to accommodate British tantrums.

    Delaying the inevitable until the end of June, as Theresa May is proposing, will give more time for the British government to stockpile food and pharmaceuticals, but that’s about all. And that’s not guaranteed to happen, since all EU member states will have to agree to the delay, and some of them are disinclined to do so.

    The whole mess is a colossal Charlie Foxtrot that could have—and should have—been avoided by sensible people acting sensibly. Kind of like the 2016 presidential election, come to think of it …


    • Like the 2016 election for the U.S., this was a spectacular self-goal by Britain. Idiots.

  • katanahamon

    I’ve been trying to follow this story, but, as an American with a barely functioning sense of my own government it’s tough. My sense is that delay is the only logical option but the illogical situation has not been solved. This can was definitely kicked down the road. The UK is simply not acknowledging the referendum should first have never happened, and secondly was fraught with propaganda and lies and therefor the only real, logical solution is to cancel the exit from the EU. But..their hard rightwing much like ours has engineered the situation to their favor, and keeps pushing for their exit no matter how dire the predictions get. And..that’s where they’re at……