Tag: great britain

After a Rejected Brexit Deal, What Comes Next?

Rufus Coombe | UK

Theresa May lost the vote on her Brexit deal this week with 202 votes in favor and 432 against. This is the largest commons defeat for a government since 1924, with 118 of Theresa May’s own MPs voting against her. Britain’s future relationship with Europe is once again uncertain but one thing is now clear: May’s deal is dead. There are three popular alternatives which we may see in the coming months.

The 585-page agreement, which Theresa May brought back from Brussels, received criticism for being both too ‘hard’ and too ‘soft’ a deal from both sides. A soft Brexit maintains many ties with the EU, whereas a hard Brexit severs many.

The Failed Brexit Deal of Theresa May

A sticking point in the deal for both remainers and leavers alike was the proposed Irish backstop. This is a plan to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open at all costs. However, to do this the deal proposed to have EU law bind all of Ireland. Instead, there would be a border between Northern Ireland and the UK. This would effectively force the UK to split and create a border within its own territory.

The deal also included a £39 Billion payout to the EU (roughly the defense budget for a year). The deal asserted that Britain would keep ‘equivalent standards’ to the EU on employment, regulation, and the environment. This means that Britain would not be able to compete with the EU by becoming a tax haven. Many ardent leavers see this as a breach of sovereignty.

Additionally, the backstop agreement does not allow the UK to leave unilaterally. Rather, they must remain in the EU until the EU gives them permission to leave. This means that EU nations could hold the government to ransom. It seems difficult to negotiate a fair deal when the EU has huge power over our land. One Conservative MP repeated the apt proverb: “You cannot reason with a tiger with your head in its mouth”.

Others opposed the deal as they said it went too far. For example, it included taking Britain out of the single market and customs union. The government also acknowledged that it would make Britain worse off.

Britain leaves Europe, with or without a deal, on the 29th of March, 2019. The questions thus become: who will try to obstruct Brexit in the next few months? How successful will their operations be? There are many rival factions within Parliament but the main three are the following:

A Second Referendum

Around 125 Members of Parliament from all sides of the house support this notion. It would involve another vote by the British people. It is a position that almost exclusively remainers support. As a result, many see it as an attempt to reverse the previous vote. Most Conservatives and the leadership of the Labour Party strongly oppose this. It would mean that Britain would have the option to go back to the EU.

A No-deal Brexit

Not a single MP supports this publicly as a first option. However, fervent Brexit supporters would support a no-deal over delaying the leave. These individuals are small in number but nonetheless very vocal. The government has refused to rule out a no deal Brexit.

Experts predict that a no-deal scenario would be disastrous for the economy. Thus, businesses and Parliament alike widely oppose the plan. Its supporters are often dismissed as zealots and ‘extremists’. Despite this, do not underestimate the possibility of it occurring. This is the default position on the 29th of March if Parliament has not ratified a deal.

A Norway Option

Currently, Norway is not a member-state of the EU, but the two groups have close ties. Some in Britain believe that the best way forward is to adopt a similar policy.

This would include the negotiation of a new deal which would keep Britain in the customs union and single market. It would also mean that EU rules and regulations would apply to Britain. However, much like Norway, the country would not have control over the creation of these rules.

Britain would also be unable to set its own immigration policy. It is possible that a majority of Parliament could support this notion, but negotiations would likely delay Brexit, which the government opposes. It would end up being popular in Parliament but not with the people. Brexit supporters may see it as a sell-out. On the contrary, remainers might consider it a waste of time and still fight for a second referendum. The division between these two factions will probably appear soon.

The Most Likely Scenario

The MPs who threw themselves behind Theresa May will now have to find a new option. Many will stick to the party line, which indicates that no-deal may be possible. With the gridlock in Parliament, we may find ourselves walking into a no-deal Brexit.

The next important vote in Parliament will probably be an attempt to rule out a no-deal or an attempt to delay Brexit. If the conservatives can hold the line on these votes, then no-deal becomes much more likely. If the government loses these votes, we will likely get a deal ‘softer’ than the one the house just rejected. It is unlikely that there will be another referendum unless the Labour Party changes its position. 


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The EU is Flawed, but Not How I Previously Believed

By Owen Heimsoth | United States

Over the past several months, my beliefs on foreign policy have drastically changed. In fact, I wrote this article critiquing a proposed United Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I am still opposed to this idea, but for different reasons.

My opinion on the European Union and general foreign policy has basically taken a one-hundred-eighty-degree turn. I have become sharply more internationalist and pro-globalism. This has been caused by a careful mixture of more research on global affairs, and also life experience.

Quite simply, I made several straw-man arguments in this anti-EU article.

First up was an argument about a potential cultural collision.

Each country in the EU has its own culture. Obviously, some of the better run governments are run in homogeneous countries. In this situation, there are twenty-three different cultures and histories that are to be mashed together. This would become a melting pot bigger than the United States. This doesn’t even include the cultures of different regions of a country.

First off, there is no statistical proof that homogeneous governments are so-called “better off.” In fact, the USA is the melting pot of the world, yet has the highest GDP out there. Culture mixing exposes others to new ideas and teaches those to be more accepting of others. Yes, there may be some cultural clash, but Europeans are also raised having more multiculturalism than Americans like myself.

Next up, I argued that language would become an issue. This ignores the fact that most Europeans, especially those in the West, speak two or more languages.

My last major argument was about religion and the three countries in the EU that have a state-endorsed religion.

Religion would also come into play. There are three countries in the EU that have a recognized state religion-The UK, Denmark, and Greece. There are also multiple countries in the EU that favor a religion but doesn’t list it as official. In the formation of the “United States of Europe,” religions would clash and states would likely leave because of this. State secularism would have to be adopted and many countries would be opposed to this.

This is ignoring the fact that people are increasingly staying away from religion. Actually, being non-religious is the second most popular affiliation in both the UK and in Denmark. This lack of religion is becoming more popular among young citizens.

To finish my article, I argued about 2 failures of the EU. I noted EU-imposed austerity measures as a problem causing the debt crisis, but this is just factually incorrect and simply not the cause of the crisis.

The EU, of course, is not without fault. In fact, there are a number of key issues with it. That being said, straw-man arguments against the union are very common. Despite clear flaws, all government deserve a proper and fair evaluation. By doing so, we can begin to focus on the problems that do exist and further liberty worldwide.


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Stop Making A Big Deal About The Royal Wedding

By Nick Hamilton | United Kingdom

In case you weren’t one of the over 29 million Americans to care enough about the Royal Wedding to tune in, Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle, an American, were officially married in England this weekend, just outside of London. The Royal Wedding is cool and all, but as Americans, why do we care about two public figures getting married?

Keep in mind, Prince Harry isn’t a political figure. He has virtually no political power as of now. He’s not a Prime Minister. Also keep in mind that England spent about $43M on this wedding, which is going to come back to bite the taxpayers across the pond when they can barely afford to keep their healthcare system up and running. You may recall that a few weeks ago, the UK Government mistreated Alfie Evans, a toddler, by barring him from leaving the UK to seek medical assistance in Rome. The hospital made a decision to take Evans off life support, without the consent of his parents. A UK court then agreed with the hospital. And now, this same government is putting on this Royal Wedding, spending a bit less than $43M.

What’s also quite concerning is that the guards were, you guessed it, armed. Yes, a nation that has taken as many weapons as they can from their people is now arming guards who protect the Royal Wedding. But I thought guns weren’t good for defense, England? I have no problem with the Royals being protected the best they can be, but it’s just another example of the hypocrisy of the UK Government. It just further proves that the United Kingdom doesn’t exactly care about their people, but they’ll do anything for the Royal Family.

Also, if you were to criticize Islam at this wedding, you better think again. Remember, criticism of Islam is illegal in the United Kingdom because the United Kingdom doesn’t believe in free speech. Don’t forget that just a couple of months ago, Canadian right-wing journalist Lauren Southern was denied entry into the United Kingdom because of her criticisms of Islam. I happened to enter the UK that same day, and I guess call me lucky that I didn’t get denied access because I’ve criticized Islam many times. Britain has arrested its own citizens on numerous occasions for criticism of Islam but doesn’t seem to care when people criticize Christianity. We should be celebrating acts of freedom and liberty in America, not a country that doesn’t seem to represent American values.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I honestly hope they do well for this planet, and I hope they’re happy. But honestly, why should so many Americans care. The UK has a past of not advocating for freedom, so why are we jumping all over this?


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Theresa May Isn’t A Fan Of Cryptocurrency

By Nick Hamilton | USA

Cryptocurrency is increasingly looking like the next big investment trend, with skyrocketing numbers. However, British Prime Minister Theresa May and the British Government aren’t huge fans of it.

The Prime Minister spoke at Davos, an economic forum in Switzerland that United States President Donald Trump also attended. She voiced concerns about criminals using cryptocurrency because of the way that it works. Attacking Bitcoin, May said the following during her speech.

“Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, we should be looking at these very seriously, precisely because of the way that they can be used, particularly by criminals.”

May also took shots at tech companies, saying it’s up to them to step up their game in dealing with harmful online activity. She added that these companies are very smart, having “some of the best brains in the world,” so they need to clamp down on the spreading of terroristic content, child abuse, or modern slavery. She feels that these companies should give the British Government backdoor information. By doing so, they could see coded messages from criminals, but at the cost of user privacy.

Despite May’s concerns, there is little to no risk of this occurring. In fact, app developers physically cannot decode this end to end encryption. That’s how these attacks get planned without setting off alarms.

At this point, nobody is certain if the British Government wants to ban cryptocurrency altogether. They may instead take steps similar to South Korea, creating hard regulations on anonymous cryptocurrency accounts. However, CoinMetro CEO Kevin Murcko asserted that regulations from the British Government could actually benefit cryptocurrency. He insists that people would feel safer investing in cryptocurrency, therefore more people would invest.

Either way, after May’s speech on Thursday, Bitcoin’s price plummeted. It fell from a peak of $11.6K to $10.5K per coin.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond also had some comments on Thursday about Bitcoin. He said that the Bank of England has interest in bitcoin, but they need to regulate it to prevent danger.

(Image from metro.co.uk)