The British Establishment wants to protect the expanded privileges it inherited from Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal legacy but appears clueless about how to deal with an increasingly rebellious British public, as Alexander Mercouris explains.
By Alexander Mercouris
Special to Consortium News
Donald Trump’s recent trip to Britain – happening against the backdrop of the sweltering heat of an unusually protracted summer heatwave – took place at a time when Britain’s political system is closer to breakdown than at any time in my memory.
The immediate crisis centres on a Brexit plan which British Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled to her top ministers at a closed meeting at Chequers (the British Prime Minister’s official country residence) earlier this month.
It is fair to say this plan ( two years in the making and details still to be worked out), which proposes a relationship between Britain and the EU similar to those agreed by Ukraine and Moldova, satisfies no-one.
The hardline Brexiteers, who account for a significant minority of the elected members of Parliament (MPs) of May’s Conservative Party and an overwhelming majority of the Conservative Party’s membership and supporters in the country, are unhappy because they are not getting the clear break from the EU which they expected and which they believed they had been promised after Leave won the 2016 referendum.
Opponents of Brexit, made up of the overwhelming majority of opposition Labour Party MPs and its membership, as well as a small number of Conservative MPs, the bulk of the civil service, the business community and the labour unions basically don’t want Brexit to happen and want Britain to remain in the EU. They are unhappy because despite the continued connection to the EU Britain would still be leaving the EU.
As for the EU itself, it has remained uncharacteristically quiet since the plan was published, but its senior officials have made clear they will probably reject it because it crosses too many of its red lines.
How did Britain – two years after the question of Britain’s exit from the EU appeared to have been answered in the June 2016 referendum – end…