Something historic is afoot across the pond, as, for the first time ever, a member state of the European Union is withdrawing from the European Union.
It came in the form of a letter sent from UK Prime Minister Theresa May, which was hand delivered by diplomat Sir Tim Barrow to European Council President Donald Tusk (not Donald Trump) in Brussels.
It’s the Article 50 process – withdrawal from the EU.
A referendum was held in the UK this past June 23rd. It was known as “Brexit”, a portmanteau of “Britain” and “exit”.
The Brexit vote was conducted in the United Kingdom (including England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the small British territory of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean).
For the voters on that fateful day, there was one simple question on the ballot: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
There were only two options: “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union”.
The Brexit vote was a hot topic in international news, with many prominent persons weighing in on it. There were dire predictions of what might follow a British departure. The globalist elite was certainly against it.
Our own President Obama (at the time) weighed in on Brexit, declaring in a visit that Britain shouldn’t leave the European Union.
Donald Trump, then a candidate, thought that Britain would be better off leaving the EU, but hastened to add that “I want them to make their own decision.”
(For more pre-refereundum details, see Will “Brexit” Lead to a British Departure from the European Union?)
Finally, the fateful day of decision, June 23rd, arrived, and the British people voted.
My family and I were vacationing in a colonial city in Mexico as the results were being announced on the television. It was exciting, and the “Leave” side won, thus calling for a British withdrawal from the EU.
(The Leave triumph in the UK gave hope that five months later, Donald Trump would be triumphant in the U.S. election. And that’s exactly what happened.)
Almost immediately after the UK referendum, some Remain supporters started to whine and call for another referendum. Why didn’t they just call for two out of three? At what point is a referendum valid?
Anyway, various things occurred before the actual withdrawal process began nine months later.
There was a change in leadership, as David Cameron, the pro-Remain Prime Minister, stepped down and was replaced by Theresa May in July of 2016.
Then the question arose as to what Parliament’s role in all this should be. It took until January 24th of 2017 for the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court to rule that yes, it needed parliamentary approval.
On January 31st, the UK government introduced to Parliament the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. By March 16th it had passed both chambers (the House of Commons and House of Lords), had been signed off by the Queen and was an official Act of Parliament .
Finally, on March 29th, 2017, the official letter from the British government addressed to the European Union was signed by Prime Minister Theresa May and delivered to EU headquarters by Sir Tim Barrow.
“Dear President Tusk”, it began, “ On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.” And it goes on from there for several pages.
So the two-year process of leaving the European Union began on March 29th, and thus should end on March 29th of 2019.
This has never occurred before and should be interesting. There is also anti-EU sentiment in continental European countries. Could any of them follow suit?
Also, there are complications within the United Kingdom.
There is an independence movement in Scotland, but paradoxically, support for the EU is higher in Scotland than in England.
So what if the UK withdraws from the European Union and then Scotland withdraws from the UK and rejoins the European Union?
And supposing that Scotland does leave the UK, would it still be correct to even refer to the entity as the United Kingdom? After all, the “United Kingdom” actually refers to the union of England and Scotland.
As I say, this should be interesting.
© 2017 Allan Wall – All Rights Reserved