Sunday 3 July 2016

The Brexit mess was predictable

In his post "The five routes to a Brexit: how the UK might leave the European Union" published quite exactly two years before the referendum, Tim Oliver concluded quite neatly:
"This all begs the question then of what ‘out’ means. As noted at the start, a Brexit is a means to an end and not an end in itself. For each of the above scenarios, ‘out’ is a difficult concept. A referendum or unilateral declaration of withdrawal cannot compel the EU to give the UK what it wants beyond an official withdrawal. What ‘out’ the UK then secures will be shaped by what the rest of the EU and other powers such as the United States are willing to grant it in terms of new or recalibrated political and economic relations."
Others like Fabian Zuleeg (for the European Policy Centre) have also predicted in 2014 the rise in nationalistic rhetoric that the UK has experienced throughout the referendum campaign but especially in the days since the Leave side won:
"While it is unlikely that the UK would become a “failed state,” there is a probability that a much more strident nationalism could develop with a negative impact on inter-European cooperation"
Funny enough, while it seemed unlikely the UK would become a failed state, it now very much looks like one, at least when it comes to top-level politics.

I'm not saying nobody told about this during the referendum campaign, but the post-referendum mess and the lack of a plan and the messy situation are not necessarily something you couldn't have seen coming already two years ago…