BREXIT DAY MARKS THE START OF A PROLONGED AND PAINFUL SEPARATION
United Kingdom leaving European Union in the midnight of January 31, has been the most consequential event in recent British political history.
While Boris Johnson’s yes men are proud of their leaders’ achievement and claim that it would usher UK into new and sunny future, academics and experts are not ready to subscribe to their narratives. According to them, extreme hard days are awaiting UK on the march towards reshaping of the future of the erstwhile world ruler.
Candles were burnt, music was played in the night, but amidst this English jollity, the lingering shadow of uncertainty haunts the people. Questions have already started floating in the political and social circles: what will Britain do now? What happens now? Where to go from here?
Irrespective of what the UK government says or claims, the fact remains that Brexit is far from ‘done’. Johnson and his ilk have no alternate blue print for monitoring and shaping the future of UK. The Conservatives are not clear about the social and economic priorities. What is shocking indeed the Britons do not expect any miracle from Boris!
They are not sure who will guide them through the difficult times and what should be the next step in the negotiations. The brute fact is much of what Brexit actually means will be defined over the coming months. People of Britain are aware that Brexit day is not the end of Brexit. It is the day only for rituals and celebration of fulfilment of Boris’s desire.
Britain’s leading daily The Guardian has described the departure as the tragic national error. Little doubt, Boris, purely with the motto of serving the rightist forces, has rushed with the Brexit. He rushed without setting up any formal mechanism to serve the country. It can also be argued that he even ignored the interest of the people. It is still opposed by more than half of the population, by majorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and London, and by most young people, all of whom are just as patriotic as those whose cause has won the day. It is a defeat to be mourned and learned from.
Undeniably, Britain is still part of Europe. The EU remains by far the largest trading partner. The fact remains Britain must face up to a changed political future. The Brexit vote was a revolt particularly against rulers of UK. They had messed up the entire governance. And, to evade their own responsibility they were raising the accusing finger towards EU. How could the EU turn out to be threat to Britain’s sovereignty?
As usual, the people fell into the trap of the rightist forces and confused the entire situation. The peoples’ discontent provoked by spending cuts, regional neglect, declining real wages, job insecurity, migrant labour, and gross inequalities in wealth found the soft prey in Brexit. The politicians projected it as the panacea for all malaise. The liberal elites and the rulers used the situation to their utmost advantage.
It is worth mentioning that a survey carried out barely days ago found that 61 per cent of the Britishers who responded to the survey were dissatisfied with the functioning of democratic system. They nursed the view that the successive governments have failed to serve the country and its people. Boris effectively exploited the situation and used the election to carry the day on behalf of Brexit by offering it as a relief from the past, not as a bright inspiration.
No doubt the Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also owes an explanation. How could he miss these issues and fail to put Boris in deck. Boris presented Brexit in such a manner that Jeremy even could not project the pro people issues in proper perspective. Yet another reason for his failure has been his obsession with his Leftist ideas. It is absolutely clear that he failed to win the trust of the huge mass of population who were feeling alienated.
Boris must refrain from frittering his gains. He must remember Brexit is not over. The terms are yet to be finalised. Boris must not ignore the basic fact that he was standing on a slippery ground. The challenges ahead of reshaping and rebuilding Britain are arduous. Boris must keep in mind that Brexit is a process of rule-making, not just a slogan. Britain has already out of the race for global power. Though out of EU, it must maintain the bond of umbilical cord with EU.
Until at least the end of December 2020, the UK will remain in the EU’s single market and customs union and continue paying into its budget; people, goods, capital and services will continue to move freely across the bloc – including the UK – as before. But UK under Boris will have to strive for rebuilding its image and this is the tough proposition.
Once again Boris Johnson has claimed that Brexit will lead to national revival. But it certainly cannot liberate UK from isolation. The EU leaders have warned him “strength does not lie in splendid isolation”. The sense of uncertainty would not have afflicted the Britishers if Boris had shown some amount of political maturity. His action clearly manifests more of his cunning than immaturity.
Nearly four years after the Brexit vote, Britain has left the European Union, closing an acrimonious chapter in the country’s history and beginning another viewed by some with optimism and others with scepticism and dismay. Just an hour ahead of the historic development Boris had confessed “there are many who feel a sense of anxiety and loss” but promised it would bring about the revival of the UK’s “power of independent thought and action”. What is significant is he did not set a time frame.