By Alex Timoney
It has been more than a year since Britain voted to leave the European Union, yet the government can’t seem to decide upon an exit strategy. A recent poll reflected that, contrary to what the vote had shown at the time, a majority of Britons now want to stay in the EU. Many people fear that Brexit is weakening the economy instead of building it up and are concerned about the public disagreements over the terms of exiting. It is clear that both politicians and citizens are frustrated because of the slow process, but no one can seem to agree on any of the key negotiations.
Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, expresses concern that “they have no game plan. They weren’t clear what their strategy was going to be (...) [it’s] no good for the UK, and it’s no good for the European Union.” While some politicians think that Brexit negotiations should be enforced as soon as possible, others argue that pulling out so quickly could spark a trade war. With little to no progress concerning the negotiations, it is hard to know what if the Brexit is worth it.
Steve Bullock, a former UK representative for the EU expresses his extreme disapproval of the Brexit, saying, “Brexit would have been a terrible idea even if done as well as possible,” but the government “so blithely march[ed] the country towards consequences that they don’t even themselves understand.”
Many people, especially in small fishing towns, feel that the government is not following up with their promises to reform the economy. They voted in favor of Brexit because of fear of competition from other fishing cities, but fear that the economic situation will not improve.
The original terms of the Brexit stated that Great Britain would leave the EU customs unit and single market. Nevertheless, doing so completely could put a dent in the UK’s economy, instead of repairing it. Though the UK hopes to build up trade with the EU, the other countries as a whole do not want to give privileges belonging to countries of the EU away once Britain has left the union.
To even begin negotiating trade deals, the EU says that there has to be progress in citizens’ rights, the Northern Ireland border, and the terms of the Brexit. Trade plays a key part in those main points, as the Northern Ireland border is not manned. Additionally, conflict arose from Northern Ireland, as a majority of people voted to stay in the EU. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have always had very loose borders with no customs. If the borders suddenly start requiring passports, the border traffic would majorly increase, and the small businesses along the borders may not be able to keep up, adding to the country's’ growing financial problems. On the flip side however, keeping open borders provides an easy way into the UK from the EU.
There are many different opinions regarding this topic, and no one can really decide what the best solution would be. Some people stand by their vote to initiate Brexit, while others are concerned for the country and are having second thoughts.