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Brexit: Well, That Only Took 1317 Days!

by John Brian Shannon

 

After a gestation period that would’ve impressed a Brontosaurus (44-months, or 188-weeks if you prefer to measure time by the week, or 1317-days, or 31,608-hours) the UK government finally kept its promise to Britons who voted for Brexit on June 23, 2016.

So, after bobbling the ball for 3.5-years, the UK government finally got it right (Thanks, Boris!) and at 11:00pm GMT on January 31, 2020, the UK left the European Union. And not a moment too soon, as if the dithering on the UK side had continued much longer the UK would’ve been thrown out of the EU  — instead of leaving of its own accord! Yes, the frustration with successive UK governments grew to record highs over the past 3.5-years…

Anyway, that was then, and this is now, as they say.


What Next for the UK?

According to the terms of the Brexit agreement with the EU, the parties have 11-months to agree a trade deal to govern the future trading relationship, unless the parties decide to extend the trade deal negotiating period for another year, or longer.

I feel positive about getting a trade deal with the EU as it’s so obviously in the interests of both parties to arrange a fair-to-both-sides trade agreement, that there will be a signing ceremony before the end of 2020. Let’s hope!

Of course, the EU isn’t the UK’s only trading partner, so a trade deal with the Americans is important for the UK, And that too, must be concluded in a reasonable timeframe if the UK is to capitalize on its economic prospects following its departure from the European Union.

Let’s hope that Boris Johnson’s team sees the value of signing onto the CPTPP agreement — to become a member of the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership agreement — which is a huge trading region headed by Japan as the leading economy in the bloc.

Subsequent deals with Commonwealth of Nations countries — I’m hoping for a massive agreement between all Commonwealth nations, on par with the excellent CPTPP trade agreement. And, why not? The UK has ignored the Commonwealth for far too long now and huge opportunities await UK companies within that 2.5 billion member bloc (2.5 billion citizens/consumers in the Commonwealth of Nations countries by 2022) and further, the economy of that bloc consists of rapidly developing economies whose citizens are now beginning to enjoy real growth in their disposable income. Disposable income that could be used to purchase UK goods and services if you take my meaning.

Yes, huge trade opportunities await the UK, and not a moment to lose going after it. Because if the UK doesn’t go after that business, some other country or bloc will snap-up all of it and could completely displace UK trade in each country. That’s the punishment for taking too long to agree a trade deal.

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her government found out what happens when it takes too long to accomplish something really important to the UK people, and those excessive delays are the only reason that Boris Johnson is now the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. So… fast, fast, Boris, on the trade file!

And thanks for getting Brexit done.


Putting the UK – EU Relationship in Context

All in all, the UK – European relationship has been a good one when measured over the past 107-years.

In that time, the UK fought to bring peace to the continent in WWI and WWII, it was a solid contributor to the NATO alliance during the Cold War, the UK participated in operations like the Berlin Airlift, the fall of the Wall/reunification of Germany, and in missions in the Balkans to try to prevent genocide and enforce International Court of Justice rulings against non-state actors there, and it invested trillions of pounds sterling in the continent in the 20th-century.

The UK helped to bring peace and prosperity to Europe and was an early supporter of a unified Europe from the time of former UK Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill — although Winston often said that the UK did not belong “in” continental Europe, but rather, that it should support a unified continent from “outside” continental politics.

Having played a pivotal role in the creation of a peaceful and prosperous European continent, the UK can now leave with its head held high, having accomplished all of its long-term objectives there, knowing that the ongoing peace and prosperity on the continent will continue for decades to come, due in part to the UK’s huge commitment to continental Europe since 1913, or thereabout.

Although the Brexit process might have frazzled nerves on both sides, there’s no doubt that the United Kingdom and the European Union will continue to be allies sharing a similar worldview and will continue trading with each other on an epic scale. While some tears have been shed over Brexit, the special relationship with our continental friends will endure for centuries to come, of that there’s no doubt.

Now, let’s make it easy on ourselves and quickly agree a fair and comprehensive trade agreement, so that both parties can continue to build on the successes of the previous century — as befits true neighbours, friends, families, and allies — thereby setting the bar for how countries can and should work together to create a better world.

And I wouldn’t expect anything less from Prime Minister Boris Johnson or from EU President Ursula von der Layen. In fact, we’ve only just begun!


Thumbnail image courtesy of www.ft.com

Third Time Unlucky for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement

by John Brian Shannon

After the national humiliation of missing the loudly proclaimed and government supported Brexit deadline of March 29, 2019, it’s helpful to carry out some kind of postmortem to, in retrospect, ascertain where failure has occurred.

And there’s no doubt that after flogging her Withdrawal Agreement / Political Declaration / Joint Instrument three times in the space of three months, and failing each time, it must be acknowledged — even by Theresa May, who has become over time, overly married to and overly fond of her contraption of a deal — that her deal is dead, dead, dead.

It’s time to move on, Prime Minister. Your deal died a historic death on January 15, 2019 by 230 votes, then again on March 12, 2019 it died by a margin of 149 votes, and even with you promising to leave politics you lost again by a margin of 58 votes on March 29, 2019 on the day the UK had been scheduled to Leave the EU.

The vote that got the highest level of support… was to get rid of you!
Which should tell you something very profound, Prime Minister.


Three Strikes and You’re Out, at the Old Ball Game!

PM May arranged that she’d write the Withdrawal Agreement almost single-handedly, carry it the entire distance, deliver it herself, and then receive all the credit for Brexit — thereby setting the stage for her to win the next two-or-three general elections. And that was a fine plan, Theresa.

Unfortunately, her deal wasn’t good enough to receive enough votes in Parliament three times in a row, and she now wants to try to ram her deal through the House of Commons for an unprecedented fourth time, which would’ve been beyond the remit of either former Prime Minister Winston Churchill or former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — let alone the comparatively unaccomplished but no doubt well-meaning — present Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May.

I’ll remind you that it took only 2044-days to beat the Nazis in WWII, and that as of today, it’s taken 1010-days to get exactly nowhere on the June 23, 2016 referendum result.

Watch the video below; See the imbroglio that has been created by this Prime Minister’s handling of what was a very clear and simple referendum result in 2016, and decide for yourself whether Theresa May should resign or stay on as UK Prime Minister.


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