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1653-days after the UK held a referendum giving Britons their first opportunity to vote on EU membership, the Conservative government of the United Kingdom has succeeded in Brexiting from the European Union and agreeing a basic free trade deal allowing mostly uninterrupted trade to continue between the two European neighbours.
While the timeframe (4.5-years!) seems a long time, keep in mind that it takes two to tango and that the EU seemingly did everything in its power to delay Brexit and a post-Brexit trade deal, and it only relented when British politicians showed the strength and resolve to get the job done.
Very noteworthy is that every time the UK government seemed to dither or lose confidence, the EU quickly ramped-up their effort to quash Brexit and the post-Brexit trade deal that followed-on a year later.
“Every day we teach others how to treat us.”
Indeed! Therefore, European Union leaders have taught United Kingdom leaders to firmly and resolutely pursue all future goals with the EU and to never, ever, show weakness or indecision.
I hope that lesson has been learned by UK politicians. If it hasn’t, someone has been busy studying far less important matters.
As Expected, There Have Been Some Delays at the Ports
Of course, this was expected. How could it not occur when both sides spent 4.5-years bickering, rather than solving problems?
But, you get what you pay for.
Perhaps if we paid UK Parliamentarians double the remuneration we do now, we’d be twice as happy with them? Hmmm…
Minor gripes aside, the Conservative government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has gotten the job done — and that, in the middle of an unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic! Well done, Boris!
Yes, some minor adjustments will be required. It’s been reported by the BBC that some Northern Ireland shipments have been turned back or refused, and UK residents will face more paperwork than ever if they want to visit the EU, especially if they want to bring their pets along.
In summary, the whole process could’ve been smoother, faster and more complete. But aside from the few things to be worked out, Brexit and its follow-on trade deal with the EU has been delivered as promised by the Prime Minister and his government.
Hearty Congratulations to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to his Conservative Party, and to other Brexit Supporting UK Parliamentarians!
Rather than suffering a failure of statecraft, the leaders of the United Kingdom and the European Union got the job done in the middle of a massive COVID-19 pandemic and they deserve a huge round of applause and our undying gratitude!
Finally, the UK can begin to maximize its opportunities and again become a full partner in the world community of nations.
Finally, the UK can forge its own trade deals with other countries and blocs.
Finally, the UK can design its own foreign policy to benefit the interests of the United Kingdom and its people.
Finally, the UK can create its own domestic policies to benefit Britons and visitors to the United Kingdom.
Finally, the UK can renew and re-energize its relationships with the other Commonwealth of Nations countries.
And the UK can begin to concentrate on what works best for itself and its people, instead of having to clear everything with a foreign power, first.
Even while we’re still under the shadow of the horrible Coronavirus pandemic, its clear to see that the UK’s future is going to be bright and prosperous. Just give it a few months and we’ll see a reinvigorated country — one that no longer hesitates to reach for better and produce better than ever!
Now the UK can Get On With Building a Better Britain!
Now that the EU restraints have been cast-off, the UK will have a free hand to solve its domestic and foreign issues, and to become all that it can and should be.
Brexit has occupied 4.5-years of time and effort, and there was precious little oxygen left in the room to discuss other matters needing attention.
First on the list must be to complete the campaign to eradicate COVID-19 from the United Kingdom, to further assist both individual Britons and those businesses hurtfully impacted by Coronavirus, and to reset the economy when it is safe to do so.
Second, the UK needs to level-up the incomes of those stuck in the bottom economic quintile — thereby ending homelessness in the UK. Maybe the government will create a programme to pay unemployed Britons a minimum wage (or better!) to plant 1-billion trees per year in the UK, neatly solving three problems at once; Homelessness, Unemployment, and helping the UK to meet its CO2 Reduction Targets via their natural photosynthetic process whereby trees store carbon for up to 500-years, in the case of oak trees.
Third, the UK needs to put a major push to become a major exporting country like Germany. I can hardly wait for that! However, it is inappropriate to spend money, time and effort on this in the middle of a major Coronavirus pandemic.
Fourth, the UK needs to finish the many projects still on the books — like HS2 and others. But closely following those projects should be a plan to reclaim 100-square miles from the sea surrounding the UK, annually. In a country of 68-million (as of last week) all the existing land will soon be spoken-for, and thankfully, much of the sea surrounding Great Britain is shallow and therefore perfect to build-up and fill. Beside the obvious benefit, is that seawalls at 40-feet above the high tide mark will build resiliency into the UK’s shorelines with easily available rock and gravel/soil. Doing so at-scale means creating half a million good-paying jobs and building dozens of scenic golf resorts and hotels, thousands of seaside homes, and themed communities to support them.
And that’s just the beginning of the benefits of Brexit, folks!
Thank you again to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to government negotiators, to the UK Cabinet, and to all MP’s and Lords who followed the instructions of Britons and voted for Brexit and a post-Brexit trade deal! Well done!
Written by John Brian Shannon
After years of on-again, off-again negotiations, the UK and the European Union still haven’t been able to sign a viable trade deal allowing uninterrupted trade between the two countries.
But the UK has faced far bigger challenges in the 20th-century and in every previous century, and wound up victorious every time — therefore, in regards to Brexit, it’s time to cut our losses and move-on, and Leave the European Union just as UK voters instructed their politicians to do back on June 23, 2016.
In fact, all the years of back and forth negotiations, all the friction that’s occurred between the two blocs since 2016, and the billions the UK has handed over in the meantime to continue paying more than their fair share of the EU budget, has resulted in even more needless emotional trauma to all sides.
It’s now patently obvious that a WTO-style Brexit in 2016/17 would have been better for the UK, it’s business community, and for ordinary Britons too, had Britain just ‘up and left’ without a deal and went straight to a WTO trading relationship (beginning January 1, 2017) with the European Union.
Had UK MP’s followed both the letter and spirit of those instructions, the UK would’ve left the European Union on January 1, 2017 (probably on WTO terms) and gotten straight to work on what matters most to Britons — and all of it without a 1389-day delay!
Think about it. 1389-days later (and counting) we’re no closer to a Brexit trade deal with the EU than in January 2017!
After all the gyrations, after all the negative publicity, after all the name-calling, and all that grief — and nothing to show for it 1389-days later. Which I many times predicted throughout the entire Brexit saga.
It isn’t good enough; It isn’t what citizens are paying their politicians for in either bloc. The entire shambolic escapade of (former UK Prime Minister Theresa May) trying to get a deal — while the EU was seemingly trying to not get a deal — has been a colossal waste of everyone’s life. And that translates into a lot of wasted time and money for everyone.
I understood the EU’s position perfectly, it’s just that others didn’t.
The European Union doesn’t want a sudden exodus of countries from it’s bloc and therefore, making the UK’s exit from the EU seem like the biggest ordeal in the world might deter some EU-member nations from leaving.
My point is, UK politicians should’ve known that. They shouldn’t have fallen for so many false narratives/red herrings/obfuscation. But they did — and that’s the problem.
And that disability is called naivety.
European Union leaders shouldn’t be blamed for trying to make Britain’s exit from the EU as difficult as possible; I can relate to that, because if my 2nd-best economic contributor was trying to leave my bloc/organization/family, I’d be tempted to make life difficult for them. But I would hope that I didn’t get too carried away with making them PAY, PAY, PAY! for wanting to leave and skip to the infinitely more important point of trying to arrange a workable new arrangement, ASAP.
And that ability is called maturity.
Therefore, I respectfully call on UK politicians to become much less naive with regard to the European Union’s position (a bloc now proven to not be working in the best interests of the UK — and why would it? It’s in business for the EU) and I respectfully call on EU politicians to begin thinking in much more expedient terms for the remainder of the year so that a viable trade deal can be arranged between the two parties — to benefit citizens and businesses on both sides of the English Channel.
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