While the UK’s parliament debates the EU Withdrawal Bill, its government is pursuing a post-Brexit deal on the continent. On both fronts, the decision Britons took to leave the EU is under threat. Indeed, their government has precious little wiggle room to deliver, but it still has a few aces up its sleeve.
Rather than inspiring a constructive attitude to Brexit talks in Brussels, Theresa May’s Florence speech generated yet more calls for “clarity”, and that “sufficient progress” be made before talks could advance. This lacklustre EU position is not the result of sincere consideration of May’s proposals. Rather, it looks a lot more like a deliberate tactic to either prevent Brexit, or punish Britain.
In recent travels and public statements, Ireland’s new Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar has made clear he is no friend of Brexit. By toying with brinkmanship he betrays a shallow appreciation for his nation’s historically close relationship with the UK. Rather than cross his arms and lament the democratic choice of Britons, Varadkar needs to mature as a political representative and deal with his neighbours in good faith.
With Article 50 triggered and Brexit negotiations well underway, the UK government looks like it’s carrying out the instructions it received from 17.4 million voters last summer. Nevertheless, a growing threat hangs over Brexit Britain.
Having voted to leave the EU last June, the people of Britain have already made clear that they want their future to belong to them. In this regard they are several steps ahead of other member states. Now, the country must ensure that Brexit is timely, true to voters, and successful.
Many significant figures in business, politics, and the media openly campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU. Since June’s Brexit vote, elite pushback has persisted, if not accelerated, threatening the vote’s result. Rather than oppose the British people, these figures should focus on making the most of the opportunities presented by Brexit.