Two years, four months and a few days ago, on 23rd June 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU. The date of the UK leaving is currently set at 29th March 2019 – almost three years after the vote. It could be postponed further. In the case of a transitional arrangement that could last until at least the end of 2020, possibly even beyond the general election in 2022. That would be an enormous six years after the historic vote.
EU mandarins as well as Whitehall mandarins will tell you it must be this way because the relationship the UK has with the EU is too complex to untangle sooner.
However, history offers a different angle. World War I lasted four years, World War II lasted six. Perhaps it’s easier to conquer and then lose an entire continent than to separate two jurisdictions peacefully?
Instead, look at Czechoslovakia, the country where I was born, but a country I never think of as my birthplace. That is because before I even went to school, it had not only transformed from a socialist republic and a Soviet satellite to a liberal democracy, but it also split into two nations. All I have ever known, therefore, has been the Czech Republic. All the turbulent history – Václav Havel elected President, the Velvet Revolution, the first free election, the beginning of economic transformation, Václav Klaus elected Prime Minister, the Velvet Divorce – happened within the first six years of my life.
Against the State: An …
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The curious thing about this is the Velvet Divorce. Let me just briefly remind you of the timeline: the pivotal elections that took place on 5th and 6th June 1992 saw Václav Klaus’s party in the Czech Republic and…