The Brexit stalemate continues…

Md. Sharif Hasan
Published : 00:54, Sep 14, 2019 | Updated : 01:03, Sep 14, 2019

Md. Sharif HasanBrexit has been at the forefront of British politics since the country voted in a referendum for a divorce from the EU on June 2016. There is no denying that Boris Johnson’s government is deeply divided right now. The British Parliament has been suspended for the next five weeks and his attempt to call a snap election led to a major setback as he only bagged 293 votes whereas he needed more than 430.
As it stands, it’s not what Boris Johnson wanted to ever happen. But he can still try to force an election. There’s no reason why he can’t bring a bill for a general election back either under a fixed-term Parliament act seeking the two-thirds majority he didn’t get last time. He could also pass a one-line bill saying notwithstanding the provisions of fixed-term Parliament act. Let’s have an election anyway and on that sort of vote, you would only require a majority of one.
Recent events in Parliament have shown, he may not get that too. There’s an ultimate irony that will be apparent to many UK citizens and British political observers, if they know Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Labour party and leader of the opposition party since 2015, for one thing. It’s that for the last two years, he’s been calling for an election. And, now finally when the government offers him one, he says no.
This is because in effect he is finding it all too hard to resist the temptation to play with the Conservatives as a cat plays with a dead Mouse swatting it around. Jeremy Corbyn is the man who’s meant to be the country’s alternative Prime Minister. HE has been asking for an election and he’s just paranoid that Boris Johnson will turn around on winning Labour’s approval and say we’re going to pick an Election day after October the 1st.
There’s one other possibility. The opinion polls suggest the Conservative Party is now some ten points ahead. It may be that Jeremy Corbyn having screamed for an election over two years now facing the realistic prospect of finally having one only to realize he might lose it. And, therefore HE doesn’t want to have it.
The European Union has tried to stay out of the UK's domestic political drama. It didn’t get too involved in the referendum campaign. In the past three years, it has tied to stay out. Analysts feel that the current political drama has too big of an effect on the EU leaders because for them the main question is: can there be an orderly withdrawal of the UK and if so when?
An anti-Brexit protestor holds a placard outside the Houses of the Parliament in London, Britain August 28, 2019. REUTERSAnd, all this drama at the moment the world isn’t any nearer to a resolution of the fundamental question around Brexit: is there going to be a deal, no deal or IS article 50 going to revoke. That is the fundamental decision that needs to be made and at the moment this political drama IS basically just kicking the can around !.
On another note, the economic consequences of no deal would be negative for both sides, far more so to the UK. It’s not anyone’s desire to want to see a no-deal outcome. The question may well be in terms of what length of the extension would be offered for a decision. The French for example were toying with the idea that an extension of two years could result in the Brits sorting out Brexit. Analysts are sceptical about how that would pan out. Certainly, the likelihood of once an extension having been granted. Any further extension would be conditioned upon some critical reason such as a general election or another referendum as it were.
Finally, No Deal scenario is the nuclear option and nobody wants to have that, neither the UK nor the EU. Nonetheless, very strange things have been happening in global politics in the past two years. People familiar with European Politics wouldn’t put it beyond this government to make sure that there could be a No Deal option simply because negotiations may get completely log-jammed, given the state of domestic politics at the UK, EU politics on the European stage and global events. It’s not impossible but the most disastrous outcome is still very much an option on the table.
Md. Sharif Hasan teaches international relations at the University of Rajshahi.

***The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions and views of Bangla Tribune.