Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 1: Red Queen Theresa’s Race

Months of frantic efforts, take the UK more or less nowhere. Reflections on Brexit as Easter brings calm — but not for long

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, APRIL 29, 2019 | RE-POSTED HERE MAY 7, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 7, 2019

For months, the United Kingdom’s chaotic efforts to set up its departure from the European Union (Brexit) saw almost daily twists and turns. Tension mounted and the British moved ever closer to crashing over the cliff-edge and out of the EU, with only the flimsiest of parachutes.

Members of the British Parliament were under round-the-clock pressure. They were the target of torrents of abuse. Several received death threats — taken seriously since MP Jo Cox was murdered by a right-wing extremist during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign.

Exhausted and stressed-out, they struggled mentally and emotionally to make rational decisions as over and over they debated and voted on the same issues.

Finally, early on April 11, for a second time the EU agreed to postpone the date of the UK’s exit. It was originally March 29 under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union — which governs an EU member’s departure — two years after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered it.

The UK is now scheduled to leave the EU by October 31. Theresa May wants to do it by June 30, so that newly-elected British members of the European Parliament won’t have to take their seats. The chances of achieving that now look slim, but not completely impossible.

Then, a strange calm descended. MPs took a much-needed Easter break — this year April 19-22, and the week leading up to it.

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 1: Red Queen Theresa’s Race”

Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 4: is the Prime Minister the problem?

May’s failure to discuss Brexit’s complexity at all meant the trade-offs were kept out of a poorly-informed and deteriorating the public debate

By Peter Ungphakorn
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE101.WORLD, MAY 2, 2019 | RE-POSTED HERE MAY 7, 2019 | UPDATED MAY 7, 2019

For months, the United Kingdom’s chaotic efforts to set up its departure from the European Union (Brexit) saw almost daily twists and turns. Tension mounted and the British moved ever closer to crashing over the cliff-edge and out of the EU, with only the flimsiest of parachutes.

This is the fourth of five parts on thoughts on what happened in the last couple of years and on what lies ahead. Several have been discussed before. They all contain new developments:

4. Theresa May’s handling worsened divisions

Continue reading “Five thoughts as Brexit takes a mini-break. Part 4: is the Prime Minister the problem?”

If we’re to understand the Brexit talks, the media must do better than this

The notion that the EU was uncompromising was as absurd as the claim that Brussels had buckled. Brexit has entered a negotiating phase. We need to understand negotiations and to spot the flexibility in the noise

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED APRIL 1, 2017 | UPDATED APRIL 1, 2017

Perhaps we should not be surprised, but should we be concerned? After Donald Tusk presented the EU–27’s draft negotiating guidelines for Brexit on March 31, 2017, the headlines showed widely different interpretations.

They ranged from fact and conciliation to confrontation and capitulation, all based on the same document: Continue reading “If we’re to understand the Brexit talks, the media must do better than this”