• The Outcome The EU Least Wants

    Theresa May’s resignation as British Prime Minister, whatever else it may signify and whatever the identity of her successor, undeniably brings closer the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.  Her most likely successor, Boris Johnson, has already indicated his readiness to implement Brexit, with or without a deal.

    That simple fact alone strongly suggests that the EU has made, and has continued to make, a serious misjudgment of the phenomenon that is Brexit.  Given that a no-deal Brexit is the outcome least wanted by the EU, we must assume that they continue to believe that another (and, to them, more acceptable) outcome is possible, and might be achieved in the aftermath of May’s failure.

    The outcome to the Brexit saga that would be more acceptable to the EU is, of course, that Brexit itself is forestalled and avoided.  But the prospect that Brexit can, or will, be abandoned exists only in the realms of fantasy – and it arises only because the EU has allowed itself to be systematically misled by the siren voices of those within the UK who continue to harbour (and work for) the delusion that the Brexit decision was a mistake from which the British people will in due course recover and resile.

    The subterranean (and largely unspoken) conversation that has taken place between British Remainers and the EU, has been conducted by a series of nods and winks.  The deal they have agreed and worked upon through that process of sign language is that the EU will make the process of exit as difficult as possible, in the hope that the difficulties of leaving will discredit the concept of Brexit itself, or at the least delay its implementation, thereby providing time and opportunity for Remainers at home to press for measures, such as a second referendum, that might offer the hope of reversing the decision taken in the referendum three years ago.

    It is a tragedy that the EU has allowed itself to miscalculate in this way.  Instead of accepting the definitive nature of the British people’s judgment on 40 years’ of Euro-membership, and focusing on the best way, in the post-referendum situation, of constructing the best possible future relationship with the UK, they have instead concentrated on demonstrating to British opinion just how intractable are the shackles that membership continues to impose.

    Any expectation, either within the EU or in Remainer opinion, that a second referendum would produce a different result fails to take account of the impatience with EU intransigence that is now felt, after the tribulations of recent months, by a large section of British opinion.  The Euro-elections, while of little importance in themselves, should at least  serve as an unmistakable  guide to the true state of that opinion.

    The triumph of the Brexit party, which didn’t exist a few weeks ago but has emerged as the largest party, and the loss of support suffered by the major parties should tell us (and the EU) all they and we need to know.  The Conservatives have been punished for failing to deliver Brexit, and Labour have similarly suffered for fudging their support for the Leave decision.  The proponents of a second referendum should not only recognise how damaging to democracy a second referendum would be but also how unlikely it is that the outcome would be anything other than a reinforcement of the original decision.

    The irony of the situation from the EU viewpoint is that their uncooperative stance is likely to produce the very result they least want.  But they have no one to blame but themselves – and the British Remainers.

3 Comments

  1. T. brex says: May 28, 2019 at 12:47 pmReply

    While I don’t want anybody to sabotage Brexit, and while May was a Remain campaigner, nobody should trust Johnson. He took a large donation from someone and then impregnated his wife. He was sacked for telling lies about the EU when he was in journalism. The Bertie Wooster stuff is an act. He’s a psychopath — you can’t rely on him not to betray Leavers, not to mention implement a free-market lunatic version. I really wish May had held on, people like Johnson need to be kept down.

  2. JOHN SLEE says: June 8, 2019 at 8:31 pmReply

    Hullo Bryan Gould.
    You may remember me; Weir House 1957/58. I well remember discussions with you and others, I think in those days your views were somewhat right of center. But it was a long time ago, and my memory may be wrong.
    After living and working in various countries I have fetched up in the US, where my children have married and produced US citizen grandchildren. So I am pretty much stuck here.
    I participate in a discussion group which meets twice a month, one member leads with a specific subject . I am doing Brexit next week, and I propose to use your excellent blog of May 26. Best wishes John Slee

    • Bryan Gould says: June 16, 2019 at 7:47 pmReply

      John, yes, I remember you well. And you are right, I was in Weir days a right-winger, especially on international matters such as, I recall, Suez. My views have matured since those days! Bestwishes, Bryan