According to one set of expected events, the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union (EU) in a little less than five weeks’ time. And under a separate set of circumstances, UK prime minister Boris Johnson is mandated under law to seek an extension of Britain’s marriage of 46 years with the political and economic bloc.
And with the still official deadline of October 31 looming, these two very distinct courses of events speaks of the divisive and raw nature of the Brexit debate.
For observers of British politics, these past weeks have witnessed events that together clearly show the UK to be in the midst of a grave constitutional crisis, one that strikes at the very nature of the British parliamentary system itself, the relationship between parliament and government, the powers of the prime minister, Johnson’s own political and ethical make-up, and the very real economic well-being affecting every person living in that disunited kingdom.
The current atmosphere in the House of Commons is toxic, where language is spiteful and centuries of political convention are being replaced in an atmosphere of complete division
Johnson’s leadership of the Conservative party and his tenure in Downing Street have been turbulent to say the least. To his supporters he has taken every step to ensure the UK will be leaving the EU on Halloween as planned in spite of the attempts of combined Members of Parliament to thwart that.
For critics, Johnson is a lame duck prime minister, a leader without a mandate, trying to govern from a position 43 seats short of a working majority, and one who was found by Britain’s Supreme Court to have misled Queen Elizabeth in seeking an unlawful suspension of parliament to shut down debate on Brexit.
The current atmosphere in the House of Commons is toxic, where language is spiteful and centuries of political convention are being replaced in an atmosphere of complete division. In effect, the UK is now being governed by the combined opposition alliance that is united only by its determination that the country won’t leave the EU without a deal in place.
Imagine the frustration across all other 27 EU capitals and at the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels itself with its inability to know what’s happening at the critical juncture in its history. That’s bad enough.
Now think about the frustration of every British business owner who needs to ready his employees and company for a departure whose nature is unknown and whose date is up in the air. The only inevitability is that UK will have a general election at some stage, maybe.