If you follow the news (or comedy) from the BBC, the past two weeks have produced all manner of uproar and bitter controversy, leading up to two critical votes in the House of Commons. One was the failure of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, followed by the failure of the Labour Party to toss her out of office on a vote of no confidence. Now, at least for the time being, they are stuck with the same Prime Minister who is dead set on leaving the European Union, no deal in sight, and a rapidly approaching deadline (March 29) which will see them exit the EU and launch into uncharted territory.
The mood in the British press I mentioned above has seemed to change as the reality of the current situation sets in. A lengthy editorial from The Sun reflects that shift this week. (Worth noting that The Sun is a more right-leaning, pro-Brexit publication.)
IT is a monumental, historic and catastrophic defeat. Yet somehow Theresa May is still standing. If nothing else her resilience and determination are admirable and remarkable…
Even then, the scale of defeat looks insurmountable. And the EU is vanishingly unlikely to help: It has wanted a second referendum all along and now believes it’s coming.
Mrs. May’s dramatic Commons speech in favour of her Withdrawal Agreement was well crafted and delivered, a stark contrast to the gripes Jeremy Corbyn read falteringly from his script.
But The Sun could never have supported the deal as it stands.
The editors of The Sun go on to declare that the only good thing about May’s deal was that it would have allowed the government to keep their promise to the nation and finalize their departure, defeating the machinations of “a Remainer hardcore [seeking] to reverse our referendum verdict.”
They complain about the threat of May’s deal leaving the EU with a potentially limitless ability to handcuff Great Britain over the Irish backstop, constraining their ability to negotiate their own trade deals. Further, the deal would have led to the immediate collapse of the Conservative Party government since their minority relies on the Irish DUP to keep them in power and that coalition would have evaporated.
These are all valid complaints, but I’ll return to the same point I was making last year when this outcome first began to look inevitable. The hard, No Deal Brexit will almost certainly lead to some months of chaos and temporary inconvenience. There will likely be an economic downturn through the rest of 2019 as a result.
But the key word here is temporary. None of the underlying realities of the British and continental European economies or their traditional ideological bonds are changing one bit after March 29th. The Brits still have needs that can only be met through trade and the market deplores a vacuum. Similarly, Great Britain has goods and services which will remain in demand across the channel. There’s also the matter of defense. Britain’s military is among the strongest and most capable in Europe and her allies still have need of her.
What all this means is that trade, migration and defense deals will be reached after a period of haggling and posturing. Life will gradually return to normal. All of these countries somehow survived for centuries, if not millennia before the European Union came along. They will do so in the future as friends, much the same way that best friends slowly glide back into each other’s orbits after a particularly unpleasant argument.
Be of good cheer, Brits. You’re doing the right thing and the sun will indeed come up tomorrow. It just might be a bit cloudy through the spring.