Does anyone remember Nigel Farage? He led the UK
Independence Party and the 'leave' EU vote -- along with his last minute
ally Boris Johnson who hoped to push himself up to prime minister.
Farage is still around as a Member of the European Parliament
representing south-east England, a job soon to be redundant when Britain
leaves the EU. Boris is still in parliament ... and still unlikely to
be prime minister.
the meantime, there is no clear majority for any deal in the British
parliament. A major sticking point is Northern Ireland, an integral
part of the UK. Leaving the European customs union would mean a border
in Ireland separating the north from the rest. This is anathema to the
Irish who have become used to living with an open border. The Northern
Island MPs in Westminster will vote as a block against any deal that
does not maintain it.
the majority of Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives want out of
the EU customs union. Hence the deal she came up with, which was to
make the Irish Sea a border. It meant leaving Northern Ireland in the
customs union (i.e. an open border) and the rest of Britain outside.
Unfortunately for her, a parliamentary majority including the opposition
Labor party were against such a customs division within the UK that
might also in the future bring Northern Ireland closer to Europe.
of the principal motivators for Farage's UKIP and its allies is seldom
discussed. It has much in common with the reason for Donald Trump's
wall, and it was the reason the first British politician meeting the
newly minted. President Trump was Nigel Farage. Trump had in mind his
prospective wall, and after winning the 'leave' vote Farage had the
English Channel; both barriers for the unwanted: Escapees from the
chaos (often US caused as in Honduras) in Central America in one case;
southern and eastern European migrants in the other after the EU
embraced these new countries.
desperation of many of these migrants forced to remain on the Mexico
side of the US border was poignantly evident in a documentary broadcast
on March 12 by the Public Television network on its evening PBS Newshour
program. The processing slowdown engineered by this administration,
blamed on lack of staff, has caused waiting times in months. Little
children have to beg during the day and single mothers sell themselves
at night for families to have food to eat.
After losing the vote on the deal she had negotiated, Ms. May brought forward a vote on a no-deal exit. Amended to a no-deal ever, the motion was defeated, as was a subsequent one on a simple no-deal; this time by an even larger majority. The day following, she actually won a vote: the government won a motion to ask the EU for a Brexit extension from March 29 to June 30, if the May deal passes next week. Otherwise they will have to request a longer delay.
How fractious the issue is, was evident. Half of Mrs. May's Conservative Party voted against her including eight ministers; a Labor Party amendment for a second Brexit referendum was voted down 85 to 334 after many labor members including some shadow ministers voted against, tendering their resignations as a result. Parliament and the country are split on the issue.