by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Britain is suffering a political meltdown as it struggles to make good on a historic vote in 2016 to leave the European Union. The decision for a so-called Brexit was a stirring statement of independence and self-government by a people who have defined themselves down the centuries by their stiff-necked resistance to anyone — whether overweening monarchs or continental tyrants — who would threaten either.
That was before London ran up against the bureaucracy of the would-be European super state based in Brussels, and before it was led, if that’s the right word, by Tory Prime Minister Theresa May.
Presiding over a divided party, facing a pro-Remain British establishment and negotiating with a hostile EU, May never had an easy task. She has nonetheless not only failed to rise to the occasion but been crushed by it.
May has just pulled her Brexit deal from a parliamentary vote that she was going to lose in an embarrassing drubbing that might have loosed her increasingly precarious grip on power.
She has negotiated abysmally, giving away leverage right at the start when she prematurely invoked Article 50, beginning the process of Britain’s departure with no realistic fallback plan if talks with the EU failed. She ended up with an agreement that would effectively leave Britain within most EU rules, with no means of influencing them anymore. The London Spectator calls the deal “Remain-minus.”
There’s a reason that resignations of her Brexit negotiators have become a semiregular event.