Those declared dead live longer. This also applies to British Prime Minister May: in Brussels, her downfall was predicted last summer – and now she has, surprisingly, completed the first phase of Brexit. Still, May’s got a problem.
For one, the Tory boss has little backing in her party. Brexit hardliners and supporters of a soft exit are in an open battle; the last word could be had by the House of Commons.
On the other hand, she underestimated the EU’s unity. No country wants to follow the UK and leave the club – and no-one pulls out from the mandate for the Brexit negotiations.
It’s 27 to one – that’s a problem even for a big country like the UK. London had to endure a dictation of the terms from Brussels – and they are so tough that Brexit certainly won’t become an example.
There’s not much to the single market
That doesn’t mean that Great Britain is going down soon and shrinking to ‘little England’, as critics predict. At least, the dark crash scenarios have not come true so far.
If both sides agree on a reasonable transitional phase (two years are planned), the country is likely to emerge from the Brexit adventure somewhat economically unscathed.
There’s not as much to the membership in the single market as is often claimed, anyway. In the UK, the single market has only brought in an additional per capita growth of 1% of GDP – in 25 years!
Neither examples nor partners
The real problem lies elsewhere – in politics. Brexit leads Britain into no man’s land, it’s a road to nowhere. Because there are no examples or partners.
Norway, Switzerland or Canada are hardly suitable as examples for the future of the country, even if they are now mentioned as possible examples for the second phase of the negotiations.
And for the most part, the US drops out as a partner. May underestimated the unpredictability of US President Trump – even the British can’t stand him.
No solidarity with Trump
Okay, now we’ve phoned them again and Brexit was discussed, too. Trump and May want to agree on free trade agreements shortly after the EU exit, reports the BBC.
But they’re at odds over important foreign policy issues, such as the status of Jerusalem. The ‘good’ old days when Blair and Bush Jr. walked through fire together is over.
The American world order lies in tatters and the UK will soon be pretty much alone out there. Will London turn east, to India and China? Wait and see…