By Raz Koroh
British Prime Minister Theresa May finally managed to get some sort of victory at least domestically when the House of Commons approved with a slim majority (but still a majority) over a so-called Brady Amendment that cleverly brought over to her side most hardcore Tory Brexiteers and a few Labour MPs, who rejected May’s offer in the recent meaningful vote. Sir Graham Brady, a Tory MP, proposed that the so-called Backstop provision in the Withdrawal Agreement offered to British MPs by the European Union, should be replaced by a soft border alternative to the Irish border issue, that essentially will exclude the UK from a custom union with the EU indefinitely, as suspiciously offered in the EU-approved agreement, but at the same time allows unimpeded flow of goods and people across the Irish-Northern Irish border. Remember that when the EU was asked if they would reconsider amending key elements in the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU retorted back that they would not unless the British side knows full well what it wants. Well, the simple majority with which the Brady Amendment was passed sends a strong signal to the EU that this was what British Parliament wants and now the ball is in the EU’s court, so to speak. Unfortunately, the EU cannot be trusted as with what they promised earlier, but nevertheless they would still have to carry it out, albeit dragging their feet.
Here are two factors to consider.
BREXIT IS FUNDAMENTALLY AGAINST EU EXISTENCE. The majority in the UK see themselves as being disadvantaged by leaving the EU, and this is largely due to the lackadaisical preparation by the British government to cope for a post-Brexit trading environment when British businesses would potentially face difficulties in moving goods and services across the UK-EU borders. Even though this should only be a short-term difficulty and will undoubtedly be in the interests of both the UK and EU to solve quickly in the case of a No Deal exit, the fear of businesses are real and cannot be underestimated. However, few in the UK and most in the EU know that the potential for a successful British exit will be catastrophic for the future of the EU. For the UK is the single most important nation that keeps the various countries on the European continent agreeing to be glued together. This is due to the important historical legacy that was left by British leaders like Winston Churchill, without whose influence and together with US military might, France and the rest of occupied Europe would never be liberated from the Nazis during the Second World War. Similarly, without British diplomatic interventions in so many European crises, a peaceful European continent is hardly possible today. This is the stark reality and a British exit will unravel and return the European continent to their warring past. The reality is still that, for countries like France and Italy, European integration was never intended to be an economic but a political project. Economically, everyone knows that only Germany and a handful of adjacent countries really benefit from integration and in truth their governments secretly wish that they can instead unshackle themselves from German regional economic hegemony, and trade freely with the rest of the world. A successful UK economy post-Brexit is deeply feared by Germany as it will trigger the unraveling of the EU.
THE EU WILL MAKE IRISH ISSUE THEIR BUSINESS. It is plain logic that the EU should not interfere with the Irish border problem as the issue is a UK-Ireland matter. But EU leaders know very well that the Irish issue if the so-called Achilles Heel of present day UK. For instance, they know that Northern Ireland can never be politically separated from the rest of the UK; they also know that Northern Ireland cannot be physically separated from the Republic of Ireland. This knowledge alone is sufficient to make EU leaders confident of the fact that the UK and the Republic of Ireland cannot be economically separated, and it is precisely by ensuring that the Republic remains part of the EU that is inevitable that the UK will have to be inside the EU. Thus the doomsday fear of most Europeans are extinguished by this knowledge alone. The EU strategically uses the Republic to do its bidding to keep the UK shackled to the EU, even after Brexit, including using the Republic of Ireland to remind the UK of its commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.
In the end, there can only be one final outcome. As Britain is a model of world democracy, and as its citizens voted albeit narrowly for exiting Europe, the British Parliament rightly will carry out the wish. A No Deal exit it will be if the EU refuses to heed the simple majority that was obtained for the Brady Proposal. The EU will play hard ball, in trying to avoid removing the UK from a post-Brexit custom union, but British MPs will unite to force Brexit regardless, and it will be up to the EU to accept a Deal or a No Deal Brexit.
Either way, the outcome will be a long-term downward slide for the EU. In contrast, despite a chaotic but short-term post-Brexit outcome for businesses, the UK will prosper in the long-term through its newly-found global trade, with a potential to equal and even possibly surpass its pre-war golden era!