It is a big unknown whether Brexit will deliver the goods and prosperity that its proponents claim it will to all British people. However, what is not uncertain is that the British democratic tradition is going to be an asset for the government of Theresa May in trying to make Brexit a success.

A single individual, the fund manager Gina Miller, took the government to court and legally forced the government to gain the Parliament’s approval to start the process of leaving the European Union. The opposition Labour Party, which campaigned for remaining in the EU, did not exploit the government’s weakness and supported the government in the House of Commons to gain this approval.

The House Lords, on the other hand, defied the government on the issue of EU nationals’ right to remain in the UK and voted against the government’s position. It asked to reconsider this element of the exit agenda. But this will not derail the government’s mandate to negotiate a deal. The leave campaigners now have no excuse not to start the Brexit process on time by triggering Article 50 by the end of this month.

Relations with the EU, on the other hand, do not look as rosy in the run up to triggering Article 50. For starters the EU Commission claimed that the UK has to continue to contribute to the EU budget after it leaves and until 2023. The sum of such payments is estimated to be a staggering €60 billion.

This is just one of many issues that campaigners had not properly examined in estimating the cost of leaving. Red tape and the extra requirements at the UK borders for goods leaving for the EU is another issue leave campaigners have ignored.

Clearly, the cost of Brexit has not been satisfactorily estimated and debated and is going to be a major headache in the coming months and years. Ex-prime ministers from both sides of the political spectrum, Tony Blair and John Major, have raised their voice publicly in warning against the economic and political damage Brexit is going to cause.

Blair even argued for a new referendum now that the costs of Brexit are better known. The sense of an irreversible historical change in British politics and economy after leaving the EU has been slowly sinking in the elites’ psyche. Although since the referendum last year, the British economy has been doing extremely well, contradicting predictions of economists. But the depreciation of the sterling has made the British poorer and the sustainability of consumer spending-driven economic growth is a big question mark.

With the expected interest rate increase in the US and increasing inflation in the UK, cost of borrowing is likely to increase in near future with a high probability of dampening consumer spending. The results of major UK banks for 2016 did not look very promising either, with HSBC and RBS suffering and Barclays barely doing well because there are no fines to be paid to US authorities this year.

Only Lloyds Group showed improved profitability due to increased consumer borrowing. The probable increase in interest rates is likely to hurt Lloyds and therefore sustainability of its good performance is a question mark. Banks are usually a good barometer of an economy’s current and future performance. The results for 2016 do not suggest a healthy economy in the UK in the near future.

Increasingly, the deteriorating financial conditions of hospitals, care homes for the elderly and prisons make daily headlines, demonstrating the fact that positive picture in the wider economy is not translating into increase in tax revenues needed to provide a first-world public service in essential needs.

Local councils are increasing their rates to provide the required services to the population, which will eventually hit households’ disposable income. The democratic traditions in the UK allowed the government to have a strong political mandate to negotiate Brexit with the EU.

However the structural problems in the UK economy are not caused by the EU membership and they are likely to hurt the British even more due to increased economic uncertainty over the real cost of leaving and the kind of trade deals the UK will be able to negotiate with the EU and the rest of the world.

Chickens are coming home to roost after Article 50 is triggered.

The writer is with the University of Manchester.