Boris Johnson rose to power despite his known weaknesses (integrity, incompetence, corruption) because of his fanatical support for Brexit. Without Boris Johnson and his lies there would be no Brexit, but also without Brexit there would be no Johnson as Prime Minister. Brexit is proving to be a toxic source of political instability and decline for the UK. Complete failure.
The changing attitude of the British people
The popular majority now believe that Brexit was a mistake. In a way Europe is now getting its revenge. There is, it seems, no political (and economic) future for Britain with the particularly hard Brexit that Boris Johnson and other Conservative party fanatics sought and ultimately imposed.
For this reason and just two years after the withdrawal – the only withdrawal of a country from the European system – an interesting debate has opened in the United Kingdom about the need for a “Soft” Brexit, a “Relaxer” Brexit and in the long term the full return of perhaps UK in the EU. Unbelievable and yet true. Indicative from this point of view is the article in the British press (The Economist, Financial Times, Gurdian, etc.).
As is well known, after strong pressure from the extreme wing of the Conservative party, which is made up of Brexit fanatics and toxic opponents of the EU, Britain chose the so-called “hard” Brexit. In other words, it cut ties with the EU and mainly left the single market and customs union and reduced itself to a simple trade relationship. This choice of implementing a “hard” Brexit forced them to negotiate a special status for Northern Ireland through a special protocol attached to the Withdrawal Agreement, in order to protect the “Good Friday Agreement of 1998” which solved the Irish problem.
With this protocol, Northern Ireland, unlike Britain, remains in the Single Internal Market and Customs Union, while the border with the Republic of Ireland also remains open. Instead an internal border is created between Britain and Northern Ireland, which has created other economic, trade and political problems. As a result, the UK unilaterally chose to amend the protocol with domestic legislation, which of course violates the rules of International law and has further poisoned the relations between the UK and the EU. The Republic of Ireland and all the other member states of the Union they consider the Northern Ireland protocol absolutely necessary. However, the call to pursue a softer Brexit stems from the finding that overall Brexit is proving to be multiply damaging for the United Kingdom.
Why is Brexit proving to be multiple damaging for the United Kingdom?
Even if the hardliners in the British Conservative party don’t dare to admit it, Brexit is proving to be multiply damaging for the United Kingdom in both economic and political terms.
In economic terms, Britain’s Gross National Product (GDP) was at the end of last year 5.0% lower than it would have been without Brexit, according to Trust Economics. While Brexit has shrunk the policy of laissez faire and the openness of the British economy, a situation that drags productivity and wages down. In addition, Brexit has contributed 6% to food price increases in the two years since its implementation. In general the country’s trade position has worsened, while sterling has lost 10% of its value against the dollar this year alone. As a result 45% of Britons feel they are worse off after Brexit and only 17% of the British people think they are better off.
From a political point of view, a main argument of the supporters of Brexit, namely that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU would cause a domino of successive withdrawals from other member states (a political failure of Brexit) was solemnly disproved.
Not only did such a thing not happen, but exactly the opposite, Brexit contributed decisively to the strengthening of the unity of the European Union. Neither country wanted to follow Britain’s pernicious example of seeking withdrawal. On the contrary, the number of third countries seeking to join the EU is increasing. Of the six countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
With the barbaric war that Russia is waging against Ukraine, almost all of the European Democratic countries are looking forward to joining the EU and NATO to secure the Security of their democratic values and prosperity. Britain remains the peculiar case, but even there the dynamic seems to be changing. Of course, the immediate pursuit will be a partnership and soft Brexit with the EU. However, the EU can reverse its position and demand full adoption of the euro against sterling by the UK and no “soft” or “loose” Brexit, rather than joining the Union.
In the meantime, Britain cannot be excluded from joining the European political community, an institution proposed by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron. To the political side effects of Brexit should be added the uncertainty that has appeared around the viability of the United Kingdom. Scotland has already announced a referendum on independence next year, while the recent election results in Northern Ireland (first party Sinn Fein) show the dynamics of its unification with the Republic of Ireland. Either way, the mere fact that a discussion has been opened in the UK about relaxing the hard Brexit is indicative of the failure of the project. Britain’s place one way or another is in Europe and nowhere else.