The June 2016 Brexit referendum was a source of enthusiasm for many of us. A major nation was finally allowed to say No to the creeping neo-Marxist totalitarianism – the European Union edition of it which is relevant for half a billion people.
On the other hand, the subsequent 30 months have been a great disappointment. Why does it take so long? Why can't you negotiate a simple deal right away? Czechoslovakia needed 6 months to negotiate everything – since the mid 1992 elections – and it was dissolved flawlessly, starting with the beginning of 1993, while the "optional" split of the currency union had to occur as well and did occur just 6 weeks later, flawlessly again.
At Zerohedge.com, Tyler Durden reposted a text by Martin Pánek, a top politician in a Czech Libertarian party who compared the Brexit with the Velvet Divorce. I would sign every line of that article – it should be a textbook material. Yes, that comparison fills me with the superiority complex. ;-) In some respects, the Velvet Divorce could have been simpler. We were dividing a country where most people were "simple" and they didn't have too complex interests, assets, let alone derivatives.
The Western European societies are more complex and structured than a Soviet bloc country that had been liberated from the simple-minded Marxist egalitarianism just for 3 years. Stalin and his disciples were capable of turning whole nations into dull piles of a šitty working class. So why couldn't one divide a country into two, especially if many things were "de facto" already separated?
On the other hand, Brexit should have been simpler because it's meant to be just the exit from a transnational organization – something that should affect (and I still think that it does affect) only a small portion of the Britons' life. On the other hand, the Velvet Divorce was a full-blown dissolution of a country.
The federal president, government, Parliament, and tons of other things literally ceased to exist and their roles had to be transferred to the existing or new Czech and Slovak successors. These things seem largely absent now. Almost no major body is being abolished in the process of Brexit. There should be just a couple of changes that existing political organs in the U.K. and the EU will embrace.
But it took 30 months and today, the leaders of the EU member states have approved the existing text of Theresa May's Brexit deal (over 500 pages). It's not her victory yet. She will have to persuade the British House of Commons to vote Yes, probably on December 11th. A simple majority is needed.
With the knowledge of the incredible tensions in recent 30 months, I would personally find it utterly irresponsible to vote No. To responsibly vote No means that you have a reasonable idea about a better scenario that is likely enough. It seems very difficult. If there were enough consensus in the U.K. that the country should threaten carpet bombardment of Brussels and adjacent places in order to get a better deal, it would be a different story. But lots of the Britons would scream that it violates human rights even if you just nuke a few cities full of apparatchiks and similar bastards. After all, even the Brexit itself fails to be supported by a robust enough majority. So if you think that nuking Brussels is a better alternative – and it's a perfectly fine alternative proposal by itself – you should realize that it's not enough for you to want this solution. You need to gain the political power to execute it. And that's the hard part.
So I think that the Tories – and even Boris Johnson, the UKIP, and other people, perhaps sensible Labour Party folks – should endorse the Brexit deal in December. If there are some serious glitches, they may be hopefully fixed later. In recent days, Spain screamed that it wanted more power over Gibraltar. These are cheeky chicos, indeed. Basically everyone in Gibraltar agrees that they want to be British just like they are now. Why the hell would Spain even dare to create obstacles? But even if May's deal creates some problems for the U.K. in Gibraltar or the border with Ireland, it's not the end of the world. If it's bad enough, Britain may always perform a military operation against Ireland, Spain, or any other cheeky chico in Europe.
I sincerely hope that the U.K. will regain the sovereignty over the great majority of asylum, immigration, and related vital decisions. On the other hand, I hope that most of the trade will be capable of continuing under comparable circumstances. A serious evaporation of the trade with the U.K. wouldn't be deadly for my country but it would be noticeable (my homeland is arguably the ultimate prototype of the average EU country in these matters and most other matters). If you study some data about Czechia's economy, you will see that France and Britain are tied as 4th and 5th export markets of Czechia, at 5.2% each. They follow Germany, Slovakia, and Poland at roughly 32, 8, and 6 percent. On the other hand, imports from the U.K. are negligible for us.
In fact, I would even claim that the British export market is the top shop window of ours. It's the U.K. where the car jokes used to be synonymous with Škoda jokes and where Škoda recently won so many awards for the most reliable, more resilient carmaker producing the happiest drivers. And it's not just the cars. Nevertheless, even if we lost the U.K. buyers altogether, the Czech GDP would surely not drop by 5.2% right away – most of the products would just find other markets.
In recent months, I saw some positive hints indicating that the EU fanatics realize that they can't really afford to treat the U.K. as a naughty child and "punish" it as much as they would like to. It's totally fair that the Britons want to regain their sovereignty over many issues; and with this assumption, it still makes sense for both parts of the gradually dissolving EU to preserve a relatively free trade with each other.
Theresa May's behavior has been disappointing – it's not just her problem: the referendum simply didn't guarantee that the voters' will would be aligned with the political class' expectations and plans (I want to say that much of the misery in recent 30 months was due to the unavoidable inherent flaws of the hybrid Parliamentarian-referendum system; another cause of trouble was the hostile EU bureaucracy, of course) – but the people who grew into her passionate critics should realize that if they are going to sink her arguably tolerable deal and extra bad consequences will follow from such a non-constructive attitude, these bad consequences will be mostly their fault, not May's fault.