Brexit has caused divisions in parliament, in government and in Theresa May’s cabinet – more notably, it has caused serious polarisation among the general public in Britain. As the representatives of the British public struggle for a way out despite the many different votes that have been tabled in parliament so far, the supporters of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ have stood out against each other, having hit the streets on different occasions to prove their numerical strength, only to confuse the situation further. As of now, there is no way out of the crisis that the kingdom has been stuck in since 51.9 per cent of Britons said ‘yes’ to severing a 45-year-long association with the European Union nearly three years ago – on June 23, 2016 to be exact.
Thrice has the Commons rejected Prime Minister May’s withdrawal agreement reached with the EU, but she has not given up. Even though there is little hope that any more than a handful of those opposing the PM’s deal will ultimately side with her, she wants to bring the Brexit deal back to parliament for a fourth time – on Monday – while trying hard to convince all that a deal is the least worst of all the options. Her oft-repeated warnings of the looming no-deal default option have so far had no significant impact.
What is more likely, therefore, is a fourth rejection of the withdrawal deal. Even more troubling is the fact that the options that are available – seeking a longer extension on Breixt after April 12; a second referendum to provide the Britons with a chance to rethink; and a general election – do not solve the puzzle either. While Brexit has put Britain in a spin, it has highlighted the perils of unchecked populism that has been on the rise globally.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2019.
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