“Com­mit­ted fed­er­al­ists in the EU want Bri­tain out as quickly as pos­si­ble, be­cause Bri­tain has long given cover for oth­ers to re­sist deeper in­te­gra­tion”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Even the 48% of Bri­tish vot­ers who voted “Re­main” might re­ject such hu­mil­i­at­ing terms. Bri­tain would thus be stuck in limbo – like Nor­way, but with­out the oil wealth or so­cial co­he­sion. As the Labour Party’s trade spokesman has aptly put it, a semi-per­ma­nent tran­si­tion pe­riod based on the “Nor­way model” would turn Bri­tain into a “vas­sal state.” It would still pay large sums into the EU bud­get and ad­here to EU laws, but it would have no say over how that money is spent or how those laws are made.

In the months ahead, the Bri­tish pub­lic may start to fore­see this hu­mil­i­at­ing endgame. The Nor­way model will sat­isfy nei­ther Bri­tain’s el­derly, provin­cial Euro­phobes, nor the young, ur­ban vot­ers who want to pre­serve the rights of EU cit­i­zen­ship that they have taken for granted all their lives.

With this de­press­ing prospect set­ting in, Bri­tish vot­ers could change their minds about Brexit be­fore their lead­ers go through with it. But for such a Da­m­a­scene con­ver­sion to hap­pen, the coun­try would have to ex­pe­ri­ence a po­lit­i­cal or eco­nomic cri­sis large enough to shake pub­lic opin­ion out of its fa­tal­is­tic com­pla­cency. As things stand, Bri­tons have been em­u­lat­ing that beloved na­tional slo­gan, “Keep calm and carry on.” Be­fore things can get bet­ter for Bri­tain, they will prob­a­bly have to get much worse.

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