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The Brexit Saga

The inextricable political situation in which the UK finds itself over Brexit is the direct result of the inability of its executive to find a solution to the problem it created.

Britain's political elite is no longer what it once was.

From the very beginning the referendum of 23rd June 2016 was but a palliative, designed to solve a problem internal to the Conservative party. From a historical point of view, dividing the country to this degree, a country which invented parliamentary democracy to distinguish between its different political trends, might be likened to a criminal act.

As soon as negotiations over the withdrawal agreement began Prime Minister Theresa May got everything wrong. It has to be said that turning a result, which is necessarily populist, into sensible, rational propositions is probably impossible! But the way she did it highlights a colossal misunderstanding of both European and international reality. By setting her "red lines" (exit of the customs union, the single market) which no one asked of her, she deprived herself of all room to manoeuvre, whilst Turkey for example has a customs union with the EU, and Norway, access to the single market!

At the outset, with all guns blazing and unprepared, negotiating nothing less than divorce with 27 Member States, after 43 years of shared life and legislation, she over-estimated the savoir-faire of her own teams, who literally exploded mid-flight. In truth, from the beginning to the end, the British were absent from this negotiation, unable to deliver the slightest proposal of any real substance, whilst the European negotiation team, skilfully led by Michel Barnier, revealed itself to be of an exceptional quality, as often is the case in Brussels, with the best legal and administrative experts in the world.

Finally, more seriously, consultations should certainly have been held in the UK itself, in Parliament, to try and translate into fact the confused results of an illegible referendum, and to establish a minimum consensus regarding what Britain really wanted. Today our neighbours across the Channel do not know what they want of Europe. But they don't even agree about what they do not want!

Westminster avenged itself of this unforgivable omission and sharply humiliated the leader of government. The House of Commons has taken back control. 

In all likelihood it will press for the postponement of Brexit's effective date. No one yet knows whether it will change the mind of the Prime Minister, who is sticking decidedly to her guns, but the members of parliament will certainly want to prevent the last serious error of a disorderly, brutal, no-deal exit from the European Union. In view of the last few months, the risk of the worst scenario is still on the cards.