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This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for her self
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in a silver sea
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,

Richard II
by William Shakespeare, William (1564 - 1616)
Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies
(London: Printed by Isaac Jaggard and Ed. Blount, 1623):
sig. C2v. STC (2nd ed.) 22273

The UK and the European Union - BREXIT

UK minus Scotland Brexit was proposed as the emergence of Global Britain. The UK has upwards of 200 nuclear weapons, a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and the world’s third-largest defence budget [by some measures of accounting, tied with Japan and slighly ahead of Russia in current dollars]. The UK is a member of the G7 and the G20. Britain is a part of Five Eyes, the world’s most advanced and integrated intelligence alliance.

Britain is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations – an organisation of cooperation and friendship whose members stretch across the globe, covering 2.3 billion people and 30% of the world’s population, all of them ready to use the ties of the past to meet the challenges of the future. The Commonwealth, though, is different to other multinational organisations. The bonds of history, friendship and family have produced on organisation that revels in its social and cultural ties, as much as its political and economic ones.

The European Union and Britain on 24 December 2020 agreed a post-Brexit trade deal after almost ten months of tortuous negotiations to govern ties when the UK exits the single market. Britain will leave the EU's customs union along with the single market at the end of the year, meaning that businesses face new red tape for imports and exports across the Channel. The deal means there will be no tariffs or quotas on goods produced in the UK and EU moving between the two sides. British exports still have to comply with EU health and safety standards and there are strict rules governing products made with parts originating outside the EU or UK. Future access for EU fishermen to Britain's rich water was one of the thorniest – and politically combustible – issues, and the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place before the deal could be announced. Britain had insisted it wanted to take back full control of its waters while EU coastal states sought to guarantee their fleets could keep fishing in UK waters. In the end the two sides reached a hard fought compromise that will see EU boats gradually relinquish 25 percent of their current quotas during a five-and-a-half year transition period. Britain’s departure from the European Union was set in law 29 January 2020 as, amid emotional scenes, the bloc’s parliament voted to ratify the divorce papers. After half a century of sometimes awkward membership and three years of tense withdrawal talks, the UK will leave the EU at midnight Brussels time (2300 GMT) on 31 January 2020. MEPs voted by 621 votes to 49 to pass the withdrawal agreement, which sees Britain leave the EU institutions but remain under most EU rules during a transition until the end of the year. Following the vote, MEPs burst into a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne”, a traditional Scottish song of farewell. Boris Johnson had been compelled to ask the EU for a Brexit delay until the end of January 2020.

Nigel Farage, veteran MEP and leader of Britain’s Brexit Party, was in triumphant mood after two decades as a thorn in Brussels’ side. Farage insisted on the seriousness of Brexit, comparing its significance to king Henry VIII taking Britain out of the Catholic church in 1534. “He took us out of the Church of Rome, and we are leaving the Treaty of Rome,” he said, referring to the EU’s 1957 founding document.

The United Kingdom and the European Union struck a revised Brexit deal after intense political wrangling between London and Brussels. Announced on 17 October 2019, the agreement was reached 15 days before the UK is scheduled to leave the 28-member bloc on October 31. The deal was unanimously endorsed by EU leaders and passed to the UK parliament for ratification in a vote scheduled for 19 October 2019.

Under the new deal agreed by Brussels, Northern Ireland will be treated differently from mainland Great Britain. This was a major diplomatic victory for Dublin, which has maintained a consistent position that this is the only way for the UK to avoid a "no deal" Brexit. Northern Ireland will officially remain in the UK's customs territory and will benefit from the independent trade policy that the UK pursues thereafter. However, it will be treated as an entry point into the European single market.

Britain's highest court ruled 24 September 2019 that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful. John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, said Parliament must "reconvene without delay." . The ruling was unanimous, and no further appeal by the government is possible. "This was not a normal prorogation in the runup to a Queen's Speech," said Brenda Hale, the president of the Supreme Court. "The court is bound to conclude, therefore, that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful." The ruling means "the prorogation was void and of no effect." Parliament can therefore reconvene "as soon as possible," Hale concluded. Johnson said he would abide by the court ruling, though said he "strongly" disagreed with the Supreme Court. "I don't think that it's right, but we will go ahead and of course Parliament will come back," he said. "I think the most important thing is to get on with it and deliver Brexit on October 31."

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader and head of the opposition, said the illegal suspension of Parliament showed Johnson's "contempt" for democracy and the rule of law. Speaking at a party conference in Brighton, he said, "I invite Boris Johnson, in those historic words, to 'consider his position.'" Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said "If the prime minister isn't prepared to do the decent and honorable thing in tendering his resignation, then I think Parliament should quickly come together to force this prime minister from office."

The Queen granted Boris Johnson's request 28 August 2019 to prorogue [suspend] Parliament next month as the government seeks to stymie efforts to thwart a no-deal Brexit. Downing Street said the Queen's Speech will take place on 14 October, only two weeks before the Brexit deadline. Opposition leaders were up in arms as they say MPs would then have little time to pass laws which would prevent Johnson taking Britain out of the EU on 31 October. The Speaker of Parliament, John Bercow said the move was a "constitutional outrage." He said: "However it is dressed up it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of prorogation now would be to stop Parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty." The news came only hours after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met opposition leaders and they agreed a pact to thwart a no-deal Brexit. But the proroguing of parliament is not unusual, except for the last two years it’s happened every single year before; in advance of the Queen’s speech, and apparently the current parliamentary session has lasted for nearly two and a half years, which is the longest since the English Civil War.

Two months after Britain was supposed to leave the European Union, with parliament still mired in deadlock about Brexit, voters in the European elections delivered damning results for the two main parties. The Brexit Party, a new movement established by Nigel Farage, won 28 seats. The Liberal Democrats, who fought on a hard Remain platform, came second with 15 seats. Labour got 10 seats. The Greens were in fourth place with seven seats, while the Conservatives — the current party of government — were in fifth place, with just three seats. In terms of the overall vote share, the vote for hard Brexit parties — the Brexit Party and UKIP — amounted to 34.9%, while the vote for pro-Remain parties totaled 41.5%.

The Conservatives are gearing up for a leadership contest after Theresa May announced 24 May 2019 she would step down as party leader [but not PM] on 07 June 2019. Brexit talks collapsed 16 May 2019 after British Prime Minister Theresa May set out a timetable for her exit from office — the latest sign of a government in tatters. Britain's Labor party head Jeremy Corbyn sent a letter to May saying the Brexit talks have "gone as far as they can" because of the instability of her government and its refusal to change its position. The two major British parties have been at a stalemate for weeks over a deal outlining the conditions by which Britain will withdraw from the European Union. The deadline for withdrawal was originally set for March 29, but the revised date — to give time for more negotiation — is 31 October 2019.

Britain's exit from the EU was scheduled for March 29, 2019. Leadership is what happens when all the options are bad. Brexit's unprecedented destructive power, not tore apart the EU as expected, but rather, tore Britain apart. Brexit is likely the country's greatest disaster.

Leaders of the 27 countries remaining in the European Union and British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed 10 April 2019 to extend Brexit until October 31. At an emergency meeting in Brussels that went on for more than six hours, the EU leaders agreed to offer May a six-month extension that was accepted by the British prime minister.

Asked about the dark money influencing politics, Adam Ramsay, investigative journalist from Open Democracy, explains: "Dark money is any money that's used to influence politics and comes from a source that's hidden ... Many millions of pounds have been spent during the Brexit referendum, promoting a 'Leave' vote. And when we trace where that money comes from, it very quickly goes back to Britain's network of tax havens and secrecy areas and then it disappears ... so, we don't know who's pumping this money into our politics."

Whistle-blower Christopher Wylie told a UK parliamentary committee there could have been a different Brexit referendum outcome had it not been for "cheating" by proponents wanting to leave the European Union. Wylie's hearing on 27 March 2018 was the latest in a flurry of news events since a story broke on how a company called Cambridge Analytica allegedly used illegally obtained data of more than 50 million Facebook users in an attempt to influence political outcomes. On 19 March 2018, the UK's Channel 4 News broadcast undercover footage showing Cambridge Analytica executives - including CEO Alexander Nix - boasting they could entrap politicians with bribes and other ploys.

A separate whistle-blower, Shahmir Sanni, that pro-Brexit campaign groups potentially broke laws on referendum spending limits when it paid data firm AggregateIQ, which is linked to Cambridge Analytica, for digital marketing services. AggregateIQ reportedly received 40 percent of Vote Leave's entire budget. The organisation's campaign director Dominic Cummings said after the referendum victory, "We couldn't have done it without [AggregateIQ]."

Betting shops and financial markets, lauded as one of the most accurate prediction methods, consistently put the remain camp ahead and were caught by surprise. Poll after poll predicted the Remain vote would win the day and there would be no Brexit. Almost all of them got it wrong. From British Conservatives’ victory over Labour in 2015 to Trump’s unexpected dominance of the presidential race, well-respected polling outfits seemed to keep getting it wrong. Some blamed it on changing technology and communication behaviors. More likely, the common factor in all these surprise results was unsuspected Russian clandestine intervention.

BREXIT Under Way Under May

The process of leaving the European Union officially got under way 29 March 2017 when British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, kicking off two years of negotiations for what promises to be a lengthy, messy and complex process of ending four decades of engagement with the European Union. Addressing the British parliament’s House of Commons, May called it a "historic moment from which there can be no turning back."

The Irish border was a key issue during negotiations between London and Brussels. Both vowed to prevent the re-emergence of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which will leave the EU with Britain, amid fears the issue could reignite decades-old tensions. British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a new Brexit secretary 16 November 2018 amid a political chaos triggered by multiple resignations over a draft deal on leaving the European Union. Stephen Barclay, a junior health minister who voted to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum, will be the new Brexit Secretary. The former insurance lawyer is the third person to hold the job overseeing Britain's withdrawal from the EU, after both his predecessors resigned in protest at May's approach to Brexit.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who leads the Brexit-backing European Research Group (ERG) of anti-EU Conservatives, submitted on a letter of no-confidence in the prime minister saying that "it would be in the interest of the party and the country if she were to stand aside". At least 48 such letters from Conservative MPs are required to trigger a vote of no-confidence in the party leader, and a majority of the party's 315 legislators would have to vote against May in order for her to be removed. Leading Brexiteers in the cabinet have rallied behind Theresa May amid attempts to unseat her.

Politicians on all sides told May that there was no way the proposed EU withdrawal agreement could pass their approval, with arch-Brexiteers and EU loyalists alike insisting it was already sunk. Pro-Brexit Conservatives said it did not deliver the result a majority had voted for in the 2016 Brexit referendum. "After two years of bungled negotiations, the government has produced a botched deal that breaches the prime minister's own red lines and does not meet our six tests," Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour party, told parliament.

During a 12-hour Cabinet meeting 06 July 2018 at the prime minister's country residence Chequers, May appeared to have secured approval for a so-called "soft Brexit" — with the UK retaining strong economic ties to the EU after leaving. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a vocal pro-Brexit voice in the government, reportedly criticized May's plans as "polishing a turd."

Johnson resigned 09 July 2018 amid disagreement in the Cabinet over the nation's pending exit from the European Union. Johnson complained in his resignation letter that "We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health — and when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made," Johnson wrote. "In that respect we are truly headed for the status of a colony ..." Johnson's departure came a day after Britain's Brexit minister, David Davis, stepped down from his post. He said the plan would make the idea of re-establishing British sovereignty from the EU "illusory rather than real." May then appointed Dominic Raab to replace Davis.

Davis and some Cabinet members have advocated for a clean break from the bloc, while others support a so-called "soft Brexit" that would maintain economic ties with the EU through its customs union and single market. May insisted that her Brexit blueprint was the only way to avoid a hard Irish border. London's "lack of realism" on Brexit is holding up divorce talks with the EU, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told DW. She also dismissed claims she was "weaponizing" Brexit to push Scottish independence.

May required a majority in Parliament to approve the deal after it has been signed off by EU leaders. But widespread parliamentary opposition has raised doubts about whether she can get the deal approved - 320 votes were required in the Commons. The PM had about 250 Conservative loyalists backing her deal. By mid-November 2018 some 51 Conservative MPs had signed up to the StandUp4Brexit campaign which argues that the proposed deal leaves the UK too close to the EU. Added to those are the seven pro-Brexit MPs who resigned from government or party jobs on 15 November 2018. A further 14 Conservative MPs from the Remain wing of the party who support the People's Vote campaign for another referendum. May relied on the 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs for her majority in the House of Commons. Their opposition to the proposed deal alone could make winning the vote tricky.

On the other side of the calculation, there are a handful of pro-Brexit Labour MPs who might back the deal. And a further group who could vote for it to stop the possible alternative of a "no deal" Brexit. But isn't big enough to outweigh the DUP and Conservative rebels. By mid-Novemer 2018, May could count on roughly 260 votes, far short of the 320 needed.

If successful, the whole Brexit process would be concluded on March 29, 2019, almost three years after the referendum was held. Without a deal to cement the UK's planned 21-month transition period, it would crash out of the EU and its customs union on March 29, 2019, with a government analysis predicting a 10 percent drop in GDP in a no-deal scenario.

The Bank of England, the UK's central bank, warned that departing without a withdrawal agreement could cause the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink by up to eight percent. The government, meanwhile, has forecast a potential economic slump of more than nine percent in such a scenario. The aggregate real wages in the modelled no deal scenario is 10% compared to today's arrangements, a result of the larger trade reductions discussed above. This reflects the combined impact of trade frictions on firms' gross output, their productivity and households' purchasing power. High trade barriers depress the demand for labor and increase the cost of imported goods and services. The modelled White Paper scenario with an additional sensitivity demonstrates slightly lower economic output and real wages.

Britain's prime minister blinked on 10 December 2018 in her fraught showdown with parliament over an unpopular deal she reached with the European Union on the country's Brexit from the bloc. A decision by Theresa May to cancel a widely anticipated vote on the agreement she has struck with the EU angered MPs and stirred calls for a vote of confidence in the UK's beleaguered leader. May was under pressure to find a workable exit from the EU - the "backstop" insurance policy to avoid the creation of a "hard" customs border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, which has infuriated Conservative MPs. The clause proposes that the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland, will remain in a customs union with the EU "unless and until" the bloc agrees there is no prospect of a return to a hard border. European leaders insist they will not budge.

The British Parliament voted 12 March 2019 against the revised Brexit deal secured by Prime Minister Theresa May and EU negotiators. May suffered another crushing defeat on her latest plan for Brexit, as MPs voted against the deal by a measure of 391 to 242. European Council President Donald Tusk said that Europe regrets the decision, as the longer the UK takes to reach a decision, the likelihood of a no-deal exit increased. The SNP's Ian Blackford called for a second referendum on EU membership. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested that the UK hold a new general election.

In a widely-expected move, British parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, plunging the divorce process into further chaos. May suffered a crushing defeat in the 15 January 2019 vote on the UK's withdrawal agreement with the EU. The devastating defeat in the House of Commons was the largest in Britain's democratic era. She lost by 230 votes as the tally came in 432 members in favor to 202 against her EU withdrawal agreement. Scores of the prime minister's own lawmakers joined forces to vote down the deal. The loss by 230 votes far exceeds the previous record for a defeat which was held by the Labour government of Ramsay Macdonald, crushed by 166 votes in 1924, triggering the collapse of his government and a general election, which he lost.

The British Prime Minister could step down after this historic defeat, but May nipped the question of resignation in the bud. She said she had taken on the role of Prime Minister in order to implement Brexit and would fulfill this task. She also survived the opposition's no confidence vote. This is because the conservatives will close ranks again as soon as it's a matter of holding on to power.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promptly called a vote of no confidence in May's government, to be held within 24 hours. Corbyn, popular with Labour members, is not considered suitable by those in his own ranks in the Commons. Shortly after the 325-306 vote allowing May to remain in office, she invited party leaders for Brexit talks.

But for British politics, May's persistence, which has long bordered on stubbornness, is a disaster. From the outset, as head of government, she only had her Conservatives in view. She spoke only to her own hardliners, trying to keep the party together at all costs. In doing so, she failed to build alliances, reach out to the opposition and sound out compromises.

British MPs on 29 March 2019 rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's EU divorce deal for a third time, opening the way for a long delay to Brexit, or a potentially catastophic "no deal" withdrawal in two weeks. The House of Commons voted 286-344 against the withdrawal agreement struck between May and the EU. It followed defeats by even wider margins in January and March, and left the government's blueprint for exiting the bloc in tatters. Britain now has until April 12 to tell the EU what it plans to do next. It must either cancel Brexit, seek a longer delay or crash out of the bloc without a deal.

British lawmakers voted against eight nonbinding motions on possible alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal. MPs rejected a second referendum, rejected attempts to remain in the customs union and said they did not want a no-deal Brexit, all at the same time, in what Conservative Party deputy chairman James Cleverly called "a spectacular display of indecision".

  1. J - Customs union - Tabled by veteran Conservative europhile and Father of the House Kenneth Clarke, this required a commitment to negotiate a "permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU" in any Brexit deal. The motion received 264 votes in favor and 272 against.
  2. M - Confirmatory public vote - Former Foreign Secretary Dame Margaret Beckett's motion would have required a public vote to confirm any Brexit deal passed by Parliament before its ratification. The motion received 268 votes in favor and 295 against.
  3. K - Customs union and alignment with single market - Labour tabled a motion proposing its plan for a close economic relationship with the EU. The motion received 237 votes in favor and 307 against.
  4. D - Common market 2.0 - UK membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and European Economic Area (EEA) with participation in the single market and a "comprehensive customs arrangement" with the EU after Brexit until a wider trade deal is agreed. The motion received 188 votes in favor and 283 against.
  5. L - Revocation to avoid no deal - Under this plan tabled by Scottish MP Joanna Cherry, if the government has not passed its withdrawal agreement, it would have to stage a vote on a no-deal Brexit two sitting days before the scheduled date of departure. The motion received 184 votes in favor and 293 against.
  6. B - No deal - To leave the European Union without a deal on April 12. The motion received 160 votes in favor and 400 against.
  7. O - Contingent preferential arrangements - This called for the government to seek to agree preferential trade arrangements with the EU in case the UK is unable to implement a withdrawal agreement with the bloc. The motion received 139 votes in favor and 422 against.
  8. H - EFTA and EEA - Remaining within the EEA and rejoining EFTA, but remaining outside a customs union with the EU. The motion was also signed by Conservative MPs, including former minister Nicky Morgan and head of the Brexit Delivery Group, Simon Hart. The motion received 65 votes in favor and 377 against.

People's Vote?

By January 2018 pressure was growing on British Prime Minister Theresa May to hold a second Brexit referendum, and the idea is beginning to attract backing from across the political spectrum, even from unlikely figures, including leading Brexiter and the one-time leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage. Shifting public sentiment was a backdrop to the efforts of Prime Minister May to try to shape a consensus when it comes to colleagues in her own fractious Cabinet. She held a series of talks with ministers to try to hammer out an agreement about what kind of post-Brexit relationship she should try to negotiate with the European Union, Britain’s largest trading partner.

Her previous endeavors to secure consensus had proven unfruitful, as soon as it looked like she had shaped an agreement, it was upended by ministers publicly laying down new demands. Her ministers were fundamentally divided, adding to public confusion and fear about Brexit - Britain's exit from the European Union. Some lawmakers wanted a clean break with Europe; others hoped to salvage a deep relationship that would leave Britain in the bloc’s single market and customs union, but outside its political structures and with no say in what EU institutions decide, much like Norway.

May had rejected allowing a second referendum to approve any deal Britain secures with the bloc, on the grounds that pledging another plebiscite would undermine negotiations by encouraging the Europeans to offer a rotten deal. Labor's Jeremy Corbyn had also rejected the idea of a re-do. Even so, a poll by BMG Research found 57 percent would support a re-run, a three percent increase from a similar survey conducted in December 2017.

The idea of holding a second referendum took off after Farage said on British television that “my mind is changing on this". Some Farage critics say his sudden change of heart about a re-run vote can be explained by an almost pathological need for the political limelight. The proposal for another vote had been pushed relentlessly in previous weeks by Labor politician and former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of May’s predecessor, David Cameron.

Anti-Brexit protesters marched in London 20 October 2018 to call for a second referendum on Britain's departure from the bloc, less than six months before the divorce from the European Union becomes a reality. Senior politicians from all major parties spoke at the rally, including London mayor, Labour's Sadiq Khan and Liberal Democrats' leader Vince Cable.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on 26 February 2019 the Labour Party was ready to back calls for a second Brexit referendum to "prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country". This marks a shift in Labour's Brexit stance, which has been ambiguous in its support for a second referendum for fear of alienating the minority of Labour constituencies that voted to leave, particularly in the north of England.

There are more Labour MPs opposed to a second referendum, compared with Conservatives who support it. The Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Liberal Democrats would support a second vote.


Defying projections, a majority of Britons voted on 23 June 2016, by a margin of ~52% to 48%, to leave the European Union. While London and Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain within the EU, voters in Wales and elsewhere in the UK voted in large numbers to back 'Brexit'. The British pound immediately collapsed against the US dollar to its lowest level since 1985.

Turnout was high, at 72 percent – the highest in a national poll in more than two decades – despite torrential rainstorms on referendum day, reflecting the strong feelings that the debate evoked in a nation whose immigration rate has doubled in the past 16 years.

British voters appeared to choose the risk of independence over what many "Leave" supporters view as overreach by an undemocratic EU governing apparatus that was only getting bigger and more intrusive. “The EU has just gone into every nook and cranny. It started off as a trade agreement. It moved towards a community. It now is a union and it wants its own currency and now wants its own defense forces. Well, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a country,” Lord David Owen, a former foreign secretary, said afater the vote.

The British High Court ruled 03 November 2016 that the power to trigger Brexit lay with parliament and not the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Theresa May had insisted that the government had sole responsibility in deciding when to trigger Brexit. However, Lord Chief Justice John Thomas gave the ruling of the High Court, rejecting May's arguments, that no Prime Minister had the right to invoke Article 50 to leave the EU without involving MPs and peers. The historic legal action was brought to the High Court by Gina Miller, an investment manager, in a bid to stop Brexit from happening. Government ministers have already announced that they will appeal the decision at the Supreme Court. Technically it is possible that parliament might vote not to trigger Brexit and remain in the EU, but members of parliament would potentially risk a huge backlash if they voted against the will of the people.

Prime Minister Theresa May signalled in a speech 17 January 2017 that Britain will make a clean break from the European Union and not seek to remain "half-in, half-out" following the June 2016 “Brexit” referendum. May delivered her speech to an audience of British civil servants and international diplomats at London's Lancaster House, a Georgian mansion that has hosted international summits over the decades. Theresa May’s 12-point plan for leaving the EU

  1. Provide certainty about the process, and give parliament the final say on the final deal.
  2. The UK to control its own laws, to be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
  3. Strengthen the Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom.
  4. Deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland.
  5. Control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe.
  6. Protect rights for EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU.
  7. Protect workers' rights set out in European legislation, we will build on them.
  8. Free trade with European markets through an ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union.
  9. New trade agreements with other countries outside the EU.
  10. The best place for science and innovation, with continued collaboration with European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.
  11. Co-operation with European allies in the fight against crime and terrorism.
  12. A smooth, orderly Brexit.

She made a new announcement that parliament would be given a vote on the final terms of Britain’s exit, seen as a steadying influence.

British Prime Minister Theresa May moved significantly closer on 08 February 2017 towards her goal of triggering Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty by the end of March and starting two years of negotiations concerning Britain's divorce from the European Union. After three days of debate, the House of Commons overwhelmingly approved May's Brexit bill, with 494 MPs voting in favor and 122 voting against. Almost two-thirds of British lawmakers backed the losing "Remain" side in the June 2016 referendum vote. However, the majority said they would vote to trigger Brexit out of respect for the voters' wishes, 52 percent of whom voted to leave the EU after four decades of membership.

No country has ever left the European Union. British PM David Cameron said 20 February 2016 that the long-planned referendum on his country's EU membership will take place on 23 June 2016. The announcement came after an EU summit secured Britain a special status in the bloc. The package of concessions to Cameron include giving Britain the right to restrict benefits and welfare payments to workers from other EU nations who come to Britain for jobs; and guarantees that Britain will not be penalized for continuing to use the pound currency instead of switching to the euro.

David Cameron tried to persuade the EU member states of the need to reform. Cameron appealed to fellow European Union leaders for a "live and let live" relationship to keep Britain in the EU. Cameron promised to renegotiate Britain's position in the EU in response to pressure from Euro sceptics in his Conservative party and the swelling popularity of UK Independence Party [UKIP] the growing new party that wants Britain out of the EU. The campaign for Britain to leave the EU gained momentum in Britain, with 65 of the 330 members of Cameron's Conservative party in the parliament wanting Britain to opt out of the bloc.

On 21 February 2016, London Mayor Boris Johnson [aka the blond bandit] broke with Cameron, declaring he was joining the campaign calling for Britain's exit from the European Union. Johnson, one of Britain's most popular, but unconventional politicians, became the highest profile Conservative to split with fellow Conservative Cameron's view that Britain is best off staying in the 28-nation European Union.

Johnson said it brought him "a huge amount of heartache" to split with Cameron, but said he thinks the European Union is "in danger of getting out of proper democratic control." He had for decades, in newspaper and magazine columns and then as a lawmaker and mayor, attacked the Brussels-based European Union, saying he wanted Britain's ties with the bloc to be based on "trade and cooperation" and not "a political project."

The Leave campaign arguments were based largely on immigration, and the belief that Britain has handed control of its borders to a European super state. Andrew Rawnsley wrote : "For decades, the Outers have been telling us that the EU is a wicked plot dedicated to the ruination of everything that is precious about this country and claiming that Brussels spends every waking minute scheming to ban us from drinking tea and any other conceivable outrage against the liberties of our proud island race."

According to a poll published 03 May 2016 by opinion poll firm ICM Tuesday, 45 percent of voters were in favor of Brexit, against 44 percent who believe Britain should remain in the 28-member bloc. A separate poll for the Observer newspaper showed the campaign to stay in the EU had a one percentage point lead over the those who wanted to leave. A similar poll published a week earlier by ICM found 44 percent of voters wanted to remain in the EU compared with 46 percent who wanted to leave.

If British voters decided to leave the EU, a so-called "Brexit," former Soviet states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would have good reason to question European unity, the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Europe, Alexey Gromyko said. "I think for the Baltic states and for Poland it would be much more difficult to press forward with this staunch opposition to any kind of easing in relations with Russia".

A British vote to exit the European Union would likely have negative consequences for Britain in the short term and in the long term, according to the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of England and foreign investors. "A vote for exit would precipitate a protracted period of heightened uncertainty, leading to financial market volatility and a hit to output," the IMF said 13 May 2016 in its latest report on the British economy.

  1. The primary factor in the Brexit vote was alientation of lower income and less educated voters from the elites who had overplayed their hand in recent decades, taking all the gains for themselves and "just covering their ears when anyone else talks". The British journalist Tom Ewing, in a comprehensive Brexit explanation, said the same dynamic driving the UK vote prevails in Europe and North America as well: “the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact.” n an interview with the New Statesman, the political philosopher Michael Sandel also said that the dynamics driving the pro-Brexit sentiment were now dominant throughout the West generally: “A large constituency of working-class voters feel that not only has the economy left them behind, but so has the culture, that the sources of their dignity, the dignity of labor, have been eroded and mocked by developments with globalization, the rise of finance, the attention that is lavished by parties across the political spectrum on economic and financial elites.
  2. Uncontrolled immigration: The intellectual case for Brexit is mostly focused on economics, but the emotional case for Brexit is heavily influenced by immigration. EU law guarantees that citizens of one EU country have the right to travel, live, and take jobs in other EU countries. Brexit would give the UK a chance to make decisions on the level of immigration from the EU and on what skills workers must have before they come in.
  3. An EU army: “No one is talking about an EU army,” say the Remain camp. No one except the people running the EU. President Jean-Claude Juncker has made very clear that he wants an EU army. And the European Commission describes it as a “strategic necessity”.
  4. The EU is strangling the UK in burdensome regulations Critics like Johnson say the EU’s regulations have become increasingly onerous: "Sometimes these EU rules sound simply ludicrous, like the rule that you can’t recycle a teabag, or that children under eight cannot blow up balloons, or the limits on the power of vacuum cleaners. Sometimes they can be truly infuriating – like the time I discovered, in 2013, that there was nothing we could do to bring in better-designed cab windows for trucks, to stop cyclists being crushed. It had to be done at a European level, and the French were opposed." Brexiters argued that EU regulations cost the British economy "£600 million every week" ($880 million). (Though this figure is disputed - this figure ignores a rebate that’s automatically subtracted from the UK’s contribution)
  5. The EU entrenches corporate interests and prevents radical reforms. This left-wing critique of the EU is part of a broader critique of elite institutions more generally. "The EU is anti-democratic and beyond reform," said Enrico Tortolano, campaign director for Trade Unionists against the EU, in an interview with Quartz. The EU "provides the most hospitable ecosystem in the developed world for rentier monopoly corporations, tax-dodging elites and organized crime," writes British journalist Paul Mason.
  6. Rule by Euro judges: The European Court of Justice has got hold of massive new powers. It recently said we couldn’t deport Abu Hamza’s criminal daughter-in-law as that would violate her son’s rights as an EU citizen.
  7. More integration: Voting to stay in means agreeing to the closer union that the Eurocrats want – from common taxes to common welfare rules. The EU will carry on becoming like a single country, with its own foreign policy, passport and anthem. This is probably the most common argument among intellectual-minded people on the British right, expressed by Conservative politicians such as former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Minister Michael Gove. Over the past few decades, a series of EU treaties have shifted a growing amount of power from individual member states to the central EU bureaucracy in Brussels.

Who had the thickest finger on the pulse of the United Kingdom? The bookies? They cannot afford to be completely off like the polling institutes can: They earn their money taking bets. And bookmakers such as Paddy Power were giving "Stay" voters 1-7 odds - that means you'd have to put up 100 pounds to get just over 14 quid back should Brits stay as expected.

The day before the vote, polls indicated it would be a tight race but bookies were giving the "remain" camp a higher probability of winning. Many voters remained undecided and bookies and investors appeared to be betting that they would settle for the status quo. Stock and currency markets had known about a possible Brexit for months and had time to adjust their holdings.

To some there were marked differences in tone between the two camps — the Remainers came across as shrill, prickly and bitter, and the Brexiters surprisingly sunny, relaxed and optimistic. Those on the left characterised the right as 'fascists', 'racists', 'bigots', 'Kippers' (uttered in tones of scorn and hatred) and 'Tories' (ditto). Some Remainers were full of hateful, vociferous vituperation, never silenced by manners or consideration for the feeling of others.

Certainly, racism was a central part of the Brexit sentiment, but the function of racism was to organize an existing reservoir of anguish, resentment and bewilderment generated by the economic privation and social costs to much of the population visited by the credit crunch and its austerian sequel. John Lanchester described the “dominant note” of “bafflement, bewilderment and disorientation” in the country, the sense of having lost again and again, finally of having lost control of the country. The "leave" campaign got this, while the government-led "remain" campaign spoke in a technocratic language,

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Page last modified: 03-06-2022 18:14:44 ZULU