It may sound crazy, but “Brexit has saved the EU”. Think about it. After the 2016 referendum, many sensible people thought Britain’s departure would spark a “stampede” out of the bloc. Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders schemed to duplicate the result in France and the Netherlands. Donald Trump’s promises of a “glorious” UK-US trade deal convinced many Europeans that the grass might really be greener. Yet now it has become dispiritingly clear that “Brexit will be a failure”. Both sides are largely agreed that whatever path we take – soft Brexit, no-deal Brexit or no Brexit – will lead to national “humiliation” and make Britons’ lives worse. Across the Channel this has not gone unnoticed. Support for the EU around the continent is at its highest since 1983, and talk of the bloc falling apart has all but vanished. Even the populists have been “quietly dropping” the promise of an EU exit from their manifestos. Indeed, the chaos of Brexit has probably helped stem the populist tide by highlighting the fact that the thing populists do best is sloganeering”. Whatever you feel about the EU, the Brits have shown that you can’t leave it. (Simon Kuper, Financial Times)
The EU was always going to make it difficult to leave. Of course. So why did the Brexiters fail to study the problem in depth and do their homework? Maybe because their emotions trumped everything. As far as I know nobody worked out the technicalities. Thus they are left with masses of egg on their faces: “Oh, we didn’t think of that! We didn’t think of unharvested farm produce, the Irish border, Gibraltar, long lines of trucks waiting all day in Calais, the effect on the pound sterling, the lack of interest overseas in special trade deals with the UK, flight of the banks”….One could go on, but I won’t. Brexit is a betrayal of the country by lazy-minded, incompetent politicians far too close to Putin and Russia for comfort. Yes, they will shift the blame (they are experts at that) but it is they who are solely responsible for the upcoming disaster.