To Take A Stand
By Rafael M. Alunan III
While researching on the subject matter to understand the motivations behind it, I came across this piece from the Daily Pnut. Below is the abridged version of this amusing analysis.
“On June 23 Britain had a referendum on whether it should stay in the EU. Except for London, Scotland and Northern Ireland that voted to stay in the EU. The rest of England and Wales decided to leave.
Things have been crazy since then. David Cameron resigned. The Conservatives (aka Tories) elected Theresa May to be their next PM. The opposition party is descending into chaos and the British Pound fell to a 30 year low against the USD.
So far, there seem to be three theories explaining the vote for Brexit:
• Immigrants: Fears of rising immigration from White Englanders worried about their jobs and erosion of the English way of life. It was a revolt against unrestricted immigration from poorer Eastern European states, Syrian refugees residing in the EU and millions of Turks about to join the EU. The far-right UKIP subscribes to this.
• Elites: Faced with decades of economic malaise, stagnant real wages and economic destitution in former industrial heartlands, non-Londoners decided to revolt against the elite. This is an epic “fuck you” moment against everything that has happened in the UK since 1970. The left wing of the Labour Party subscribes to this theory.
• Bureaucracy: The English people decided to “take back control” of their country’s bureaucracy. Brussels has drowned them under a sea of incomprehensible laws and regulations that they want to be liberated from, to spark deregulation and an entrepreneurial growth miracle. Right-wing of the Tories subscribe to this view.
The Brexit drama has more colorful characters (and plot twists) than a Game of Thrones season. Here are the most notable:
• David Cameron
• Jeremy Corbyn
• Theresa May
• Boris Johnson
• Michael Gove
• Nigel Farage
Boris Johnson, who campaigned to Leave, has all but disappeared from public eye except for an op-ed he published which might as well read as a great case for why Britain should be in the EU. Bridiot! Boris, “like a general that led his army to the sound of guns, and at the sight of the battlefield abandoned the field.”
How does the breakup happen?
The EU is a bit like Hotel California in the sense that you can check out anytime you like but you can never really leave. For the first few years of the EU there was no formal mechanism to leave, they were that optimistic about the whole thing.
Then they added something called “Article 50” which lets a country initiate the exit process by just submitting notice. Once you give notice you have two years to figure out how you are going to break up, if you can’t figure it out by then you just get kicked out unless if everyone extends the process.
It is a bit like breaking up with your partner, then continuing to live with them for two years but they own the house and the furniture.
The UK and the EU will need to figure out a number of things during that time frame including:
• What access the UK will have to the EU’s common market.
• What rights British citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK will have.
• What this means for Gibraltar, the small British enclave long coveted by Spain.
• What this will mean for Scotland and Northern Ireland, both for which voted to stay in the EU and are now agitating to leave the UK and stay in the EU.
• Which European laws will apply in the UK if any.
Simultaneously the UK will need to figure out its role in global institutions like the WTO and negotiate trade deals with everyone that had a trade deal with the EU. The only clear winners here are lawyers that negotiate government deals.”
(Article 50 was invoked on March 29, 2017.)
Here’s the latest on Brexit from the BBC.
“The UK is due to leave the European Union at 23:00 GMT on Friday 29 March, 2019, after people voted by 51.9% to 48.1% for Leave in the 2016 referendum.
The UK and the EU have spent more than a year trying to agree on how the divorce — as it’s often called — will work in practice.
Mrs. May announced that a deal had been reached on Britain’s withdrawal including how much money will be paid to the EU, a 21-month transition period after Brexit day next March, and commitments on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU.
It was approved by her cabinet although the deal would also need to get the approval from the MPs and 27 other EU member states. Alongside the 585-page withdrawal agreement is a five-page “political declaration” setting out what future UK and EU relations will look like.
This is a broad outline and is not binding — the details of a trade deal will be worked out during the transition period with both the EU and UK hoping to have an agreement in place by December 2020.
An emergency EU summit is due to be held on Nov. 25, where EU leaders are expected to sign off on the withdrawal agreement and future relationship declaration.
It is difficult to see how the summit could go ahead if Theresa May loses a confidence vote in the next few days. If Mrs. May loses she will continue to be prime minister until the leadership contest is over but she won’t be allowed to take part in it.
She could opt to resign and hand over to a caretaker prime minister. In either circumstance, her version of Brexit, as set out in the withdrawal agreement and future relationship document, would be in doubt.”
What could happen next?
Well, good luck to all. I hope for an orderly exit and pray that any economic fallout between the EU and UK won’t have a contagion effect on the world.
Rafael M. Alunan served in the cabinet of President Corazon C. Aquino as Secretary of Tourism, and in the cabinet of President Fidel V. Ramos as Secretary of Interior and Local Government.