The British people and their politicians face a daunting task of creating a democratic balance amidst the worst political crisis facing their Country since the end of the Second World War.
With 103 days left for the deadline on March 29th, 2019, when Britain is supposed to be leaving the European Union, Therese May has still not been able to convince her own party members, let alone the rest of the members of the British parliament, as to what is the next course to be taken.
This month, more than a third of the Tory lawmakers voted against May in a tightly fought contest of a no-confidence motion. She survived, and fortunately the Brexiteers in her party cannot mount a similar coup for at least another year. Amidst this febrile and frantic political climate, the British Prime Minister needs to steer her country towards a more predictable future, as uncertainty spells a bad future, not only for Britain but for the entire Europe at large. It is no doubt that with Britain in the EU, the EU will be far stronger and so will Britain.
Mathematically speaking, she needs at least 320 votes in favor of the deal that she has struck with the European Union leaders. When the deal is put up for approval in the British parliament, at least 117 of those who voted against her during the no-confidence motion are most likely to repost their no to her proposal and deal. The Labour Party is equally hostile and would most likely reject the present deal, so it is impossible to imagine that this deal will get the required approval in Parliament. An election remains Labour’s preferred option after Theresa May’s Brexit deal is rejected. This option could further jeopardize and throw the country into further chaos and confusion, so it is likely that this dismal scenario could be ruled out for a while by those who do not belong to the Labour Party.
A fresh second Referendum on Brexit sounds more plausible and could be held only if the government legislates for one and a majority of the parliament members in the Commons support it. With the British parliament gridlocked on a Brexit deal, and time running out before the March 29 deadline, a second referendum is the correct democratic measure, which could save the entire population of the EU from an impossible impasse.
Brexit should be put to a second referendum because the British people have seen the circus of how difficult it is to disentangle a country from an extensive and exhaustive collaboration, which has lasted for 40 years now. Secondly, the demography of the country is changing and an increasing number of new first-time voters whose future will be affected by Brexit, actually want to remain in the EU. The majority vote for Brexit was passed marginally because the oldest voters voted for Brexit in the largest numbers, while the young voted to remain in the EU. Similarly, the majority of those living in the big cities voted to remain while those primarily residing in the rural areas voted to leave.
The only good Brexit is no Brexit. The economic uncertainty, falling house prices, increasing unemployment, and other issues ought to be discussed before a final decision is taken on such an issue. If and when the parliamentary vote for a second referendum comes, a few adjustments have to made by the EU leaders, as well. Article 50 would have to be extended for a year, so that Britain can manage another referendum in peace and tranquillity. A proper debate on British citizens’ rights is necessary because the EU has offered a written guarantee of their rights. Citizens living in a country with no written constitution have had their rights guaranteed vis-a-vis the EU laws and EU charter of fundamental rights.
Business and former political leaders are calling for a final say on Brexit, with a majority of business firms in Britain now backing a second referendum, which would give voters a choice between Theresa May’s deal and staying in the EU.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra beer, born in a Zoroastrian Parsi family in India, is spearheading a campaign for a second referendum. In 2008, Karan Bilimoria was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award by the President of India. He said that the Brexit process was like “watching a train crash in slow motion. People are now waking up and seeing that this emperor has no clothes. It’s happening day by day.”
Two million British citizens are working in other EU countries and three million EU citizens are working in Britain, and their lives and living conditions are immediately going to be affected by the fast approaching deadline on March 29. They live under constant uncertainty and many Britons have started changing their passports and taking up citizenship in their country of residence.
On September 22, 2018, I wrote a blog in the Times of India, asking the following question: ‘Should there be a second Brexit referendum?’ I hope that the British people and their politicians decide in favor of the second referendum, as it might be the only way out of the profound political crisis facing the country. India has an equally huge stake in Britain’s future, as it is the country that understands India’s position best in the EU, and it is historically connected to us in a very special way. It is time for India to help diffuse the crisis in Britain by making it clear that a Britain within the EU will be of much better help to India than a country constantly mired in the quagmire of uncertainty.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.
via TOI Blog
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