Eleanor Service |
Brexit. By now I’m sure you’re all well aware of what Brexit is, and that it is a source of great uncertainty for Britain and its future. Yes, it is a hugely important decision, an historical one even, but headlines have been so saturated by the topic for so long, that many people, myself included, have rather lost interest. Amidst so much confusion, conflicting stories and charismatic manipulations from skillful politicians on both sides, the facts of the matter become murky. And so, I have decided to delve deeper into the matter, and try to create a comprehensive, and simple guide to Brexit.
If we are to truly start at the beginning, we must move further back than June 23rd 2016, the fateful day of the EU Referendum that altered Britain’s political landscape forever, and instead start in 1975. This, was the last time British voters had a voice in our European relations, when Britain voted to stay in what was then known as the European Economic Community. But, of course, in the coming years things didn’t stay the same.
From the moment the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, which created the modern EU, was signed, there have been many clamoring for a vote that considered how different things now are. Those opposing the EU as a construct claimed that being part of the EU gave an unnacceptable level of power to Brussels. The controversial topic even caused divide within the Conservative Party itself.
But fast forward twenty years and, thanks to the long economic boom, up until the financial crash in 2008, the issue had been ignored. But alas, the issue eventually returned, despite David Cameron’s best efforts during his 2010 election to focus on domestic issues.
A long string of political events followed, bringing the issue back to the forefront, particularly the influx of immigrants in the early 2000s. These were originally welcomed, but after the 2008 financial crash, living standards fell and resentment built. The public began to complain that no political party was responding quickly or efficiently enough. A period of political unrest ensued, spearheaded by Ukip’s surge in popularity.
Ukip’s success lead many Tory MPs to worry that Ukip would take enough seats to ensure Labour victory, and demanded that Cameron give them something to defend themselves with. That something was the EU Referendum.
Despite his reservations, Cameron agreed to hold the EU referendum by the end of 2017, but, due to drastic changes in circumstance, he was eventually driven to holding an early election. All in an effort to try and reduce the referendum’s hold on the political agenda. That backfired spectacularly, the issue has had a stranglehold on the nation’s attention for years.
Fast forward a couple of years, and results day has arrived. The leave vote has won with 51.9%, and Cameron suddenly announces his resignation as Prime Minister. The nation is shocked, and speculation is rife around who will lead next. What will this mean for Brexit? Will they try to stop it? Will they try to speed the process up? The nation’s answer is given with the announcement of the next PM of Britain, Theresa May.
So, where does our new PM stand on Brexit?
Initially. May was against Brexit, being of the opinion that we were better off in the EU. However, over the length of her term, her opinion has changed and she now favours leaving, saying it’s what the people want. And so, on the 29th of March, she began the two year long process of leaving the EU, with talks finally starting on the 19th of June.
For one week every month, the UK and EU negotiating teams are scheduled to meet to discuss the terms of Britain leaving the EU. Up first are the issues of the rights of EU and UK citizens after Brexit, what happens to the Northern Ireland Border and coming to a conclusion on how much it will cost the UK upon their leaving.
This is Brexit’s story so far, but there is still so much more to be established, and the people of Britain have been left uncertain about their fate. As the talks progress, we will keep you updated on the developments and consequences of the Brexit negotiations. But one thing remains certain, Britain will never be the same again.