By Sajid Patel
Sad as it may sound; the House of Lords have given British Prime Minister Theresa May the go ahead. She will shortly trigger Article 50. Much talk and controversy focuses on the issue. In essence, it will signal the end of the British partnership in the European Union.
The original Referendum on the issue favoured Brexit by 52 percent to 48 percent for stay. London wasn’t happy because it is one of the most cosmopolitan centres in the world. It began in the third quarter of the eighteenth Century. South Kensington, Earls Court, Notting Hill Gate, Swiss Cottage, Kilburn, you name it, Central, North West and West London have been Continental and international retreats for ages. One can’t imagine Soho without French, Italian and Greek restaurants. It began in in the 1770s, some say.
Whoever hit on the idea of Brexit probably never thought of it from this angle. Many in Britain rejoiced at Brexit. Jobs for Brits, benefits for Brits, National Health Service for Brits. Some Scots also rejoiced. Not so much Northern Ireland or Wales.
The hard part will now begin. The separation will take time, probably years, both the links between the one and the other are dense and highly profitable to both parties. It’s absurd, but it’s so.
Vote on the evening of Monday at the edge of the Thames, which has seen many tragedies, allows the first Conservative Minister to trigger article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. The initial stage of exit for a Member State of the EU. Twenty-seven of the Union must be together on 6th April for a Summit intended to set guidelines of negotiations with London. The Monday night vote gives discharge to Mrs May to begin discussions with Brussels. These must be completed within two years.
The Monday vote was a formality. An overwhelming majority of the Lords – probably more than two thirds – are opposed to Brexit, but they feel bound by the results of the referendum of June 23, 2016 – almost 52% of British support from the EU. As if the task of Prime Minister May was not complicated enough, the first Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, made clear the same day that she intended to call for a second referendum on the independence of Scotland between 2018 fall and spring 2019.
If the United Kingdom’s fate is sealed out of the EU, then Scotland wants to leave the Kingdom. The separatists have lost a first consultation in 2014, but almost 60% of Scots voted against Brexit (as the Northern Irish). The prospect of a second Scottish referendum will weigh on the negotiation of Brexit, as also the outcome of the forthcoming elections in the Netherlands and France.
London to Brussels, the dominant feeling is that Britain and the Union of twenty-seven nations have a two year period to agree on three difficult subjects.
There’s the financial issue in case Britain departs from EU! There is also the issue of some three million EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom, and one and a half million Brits living on the Continent (right of residence, access to the work, care, studies, etc.). There is, finally, the nature of the commercial, cultural, scientific and diplomatic-military relationship as the Kingdom between Britain and EU.
The adjective that most often comes up for qualify …..: Nightmare.