BREXIT

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016, in a purely democratic sense, is something beyond appraisal or criticism. It is what the people of the UK desired for themselves, which found its expression in the Referendum 2016. Besides, this decision corroborates the assertion that the UK was never a natural part of the original European integration plan envisaged in the 1950s. Even when the UK decided to join the EEC, it was for more practical reasons which were more economic than any political integration with Europe. And it was no surprise that the first referendum on Brexit came only two years after the UK became a member of the European Economic Community (Martill & Staiger, 2018).

However, this euro-skepticism culminated in another referendum 2016, this time with a decisive result. But the simple majority of 52 percent yes votes have since shaken the British politics and its first victim was its own executioner: David Cameron, who resigned as PM the following day of the referendum (Glencross, 2018). The succeeding PM Theresa May since has been struggling to materialize people’s will into reality, which is perhaps harsher than anticipated. Her first major decision to seek reelection in order to gain a clearer majority simply backfired. More trouble awaited her in the days to come. The hard-earned Brexit Deal which she finalized with the EU leaders in November 2018 caused her the ultimate humiliation at home when she put it in the Commons for voting. The Brexit Deal was defeated by a colossal margin, making it the heaviest parliamentary defeat by any prime minister of a democratic era (Stewart & Boffey, 2019).

However, the aftershocks of Brexit continue to jolt internal politics as the recent Local Elections of England suggest in which the two leading Westminster parties (Conservatives and Labors) suffered heavy losses. The unfolding of these events, perhaps led the PM May to reiterate her renewed emphasis on wrapping up the Brexit Deal as soon as possible and to “move on” (Theresa May: Voters want Brexit to be resolved, 2019). The internal revolt of the Conservatives against the PM May since her Brexit Deal’s defeat in January has made it clear that she has little or no future in politics, But it has helped little in clearing the mist surrounding the future of Britain. Not only Britain’s future vis-a-vis the EU is under clouds, but also is the future of the unity of the Kingdom if one keeps in mind that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar voted against Brexit (Hunt & Wheeler, 2019).

The Brexit has come with a cost which has recently been shared between the two major political parties of the Westminster, which have been taking turns for the government for almost a century. This Conservative-Labor Duopoly which has continued since 1922 (Audickas & Cracknell, 2019), seems to be perturbed, if not threatened, if this Brexit deadlock continues as the recent Local Elections of England suggest in which the ruling Conservative lost its 1334 seats. Interestingly, the Conservatives’ losses were not translated into Labor’s gains. Instead, Labor too suffered 100 seats. The two parties’ losses coincide with the remarkable gains by the Lib Dem party which secured 703 seats. Some cite these gains of the Lib Dem as the reversing trend of Brexit, implying the need for another referendum on Brexit; while, this claim could be neutralized by citing the UK Independence Party’s 145 seat loss is considered (Kuenssberg, 2019).

In any case, the tumult that Brexit is causing in the internal politics of the UK is undesirable and particularly damaging to the bipartisan nature of British politics. Both Conservatives and Labor parties have been at the center-stage in the political context for the last 100 years. By and large, this two-party nature has rendered political stability to the British system, which Brexit stalemate could affect in an undesirable way for both major parties. It is high time that there should be a consensus on Brexit Deal by both parties in order to effect the withdrawal arrangements, since the people have given the verdict, and the voice of the people is the voice of the God.