Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

To Brexit or Not to Brexit

A year after the Referendum in the UK, Theresa May proposed a hard Brexit. The latest general election results, which boosted the Labour Party’s standing in the parliament can only be interpreted as a major loss for the Prime Minister. Now, the only certainty is uncertainty.

Facebook Twitter Share

Image from Express

Left Voice’s second issue, “Women on the Front Lines”, is now available for purchase. For every magazine sold, we are donating $1 to a worker controlled factory in Argentina.

The June 8th UK general elections were called by Prime Minister Theresa May of the Conservative Party with the aim of further strengthening her government – which already had an absolute majority – in the Brexit negotiations. “Brexit means Brexit,” the prime minister repeated over and over again, asserting that it was better to have “no agreement” with the European Union (EU), rather than “a bad one.” She saught a mandate to negotiate a hard Brexit, leaving the EU with or without a deal on key issues such as the free movement of people, leaving the EU single market etc.

Polls leading up to the election favored May, but what seemed an assured victory vanished in a few days. The Labour Party turned the elections on its head and delivered a strong defeat to the conservatives, who lost their absolute majority. Corbyn was the winner of the last elections, attracting the support of large sectors of youth and workers, behind a reformist program that promises to end austerity, recover public services for “the people” and stop governing for the establishment elite. The elections represented a steep fall for Theresa May, who stood at 54% at the time when she called the election, compared with 15% for Corbyn. After the huge upset in which the Tories lost the absolute majority in the Parliament, the Corbyn phenomena just kept growing.

You may be interested in The Significance of Corbyn’s Rise in the British Elections

The fire at the Grenfell Tower in London, fueled the discontent and anger of sectors of the population who blame the government for the lack of fire saftey and the lack of company control. More and more people blame the budget cuts, austerity and other government policies for the fire. The government’s slow response fueled public outrage, leading more people to look to Corbyn, who suggested housing the victims of the fire in the empty apartments of the wealthy in the surrounding area.

In a poll released Friday, Corbyn was the leading candidate for the next Prime Minister of England. Buisness Insider reports that Jeremy Corbyn leads the polls for prime minister, with 35%, beating Theresa May who polls at 34%. Currently, in all age categories under 50, Corbyn is polling well ahead of Theresa May.

Theresa May, with high unfavorability ratings and the recent election upset, arrived to the Brexit negotiations, which began on June 19, in a weakened position.In addition to the recent turns in UK politics, Macron’s triumph in France served as a symbol of hope and strength for the EU. The election of the pro-EU candidate in France renewed optimism that the Franco-German axis could revive the European project.

Another important element in the push for EU consolidation has been the growing tension between the United States and Europe. Germany in particular has a pattern of watching out for its “own interests” and distancing itself from the United States and the United Kingdom. A few weeks ago, Merkel stated “Europeans have to take fate into our hands.” She went on to say, “The times in which we could depend completely on others, to some extent are over.”

Will Theresa May soften the Brexit?

The British election results meant a potential turn towards a softer Brexit. The Labour Party, liberals and Scottish nationalists are not the only ones seeking a negotiated soft Brexit that maintains relations with the EU. Within the conservative party, support for a soft Brexit has also been strengthened due to strong post-election controversy.

The clearest demonstration of this are Theresa May’s statements at EU negotiations in Brussels on Thursday, where she assured the public that the United Kingdom will recognize “equal rights” for European citizens who have more than five years of residence in the country. In return, the UK expects to receive a similar offer of treatment for British citizens residing in countries of the European Union, which face great uncertainty about their legal status.

In The Gaurdian, Timothy Garton Ash argues that although the only certainty is uncertainty, the UK is most likely to end up negotiating an “intermediate” status within the EU– a “second-class membership,” or a variant of the Norwegian model. Norway participates in the European Economic Area (EEA) and some institutions, without being a member of the EU.

Since the prime minister’s permanence at the head of the government throughout the negotiations is in serious doubt, all possibilities remain open.

The Brexit negotiations began on Monday June 21 and they will finish before March 29, 2019. There is still too much time to forecast the mood of the British public with regards to Brexit and which government it believes can effectively carry forward the separation.

There are still many issues under discussion: the status of EU citizens who live on either side of the Channel of La Mancha, leaving the EU single market, trade relations and the border of Northern Ireland.

Another problem is that the British economy has been hit with a major devaluation of the Pound. This affected domestic consumption and domestic market enterprises, while benefiting exports. However, several analysts predict that the larger impacts of inflation and consumption are still to be seen, which may aggravate the dissatisfaction of large sectors of the population with the government.

The succession of attacks on British soil in recent months sharpens the polarization of the political climate, generating a greater rejection of the government and its interventionist policies. The violent incidents reveal a trend contrary to “common sense” notion that the Brexit triumph guaranteed greater “internal security,” as claimed by its defenders a year ago.

The Theresa May government is in a very deep crisis. Behind the discussions between the sectors of the establishment is the profound discontent of the working class and youth in the UK with austerity plans and globalization.

Facebook Twitter Share

Josefina L. Martínez

Josefina is a historian from Madrid and an editor of our sister site in the Spanish State, IzquierdaDiario.es.



Berlinale: Filmmakers Say What the Rest of the World is Saying

At the Berlinale film festival, Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers called for equality and peace. German politicians want to ban such hateful talk.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 28, 2024

“Antideutsche”: The Aberration of Germany’s Pro-Zionist Left

As Germany persists in its unwavering support of Israel and the total denial of its genocide, the German Left is conflicted over the issue. While leftists all over the world are showing solidarity with Palestine, a segment of the German Left is historically pro-Zionist. How did this movement, the so-called Antideutsche (Anti-Germans) come to be?

Seb Zürcher

February 21, 2024

Why German Media are Lying About the Palestine Solidarity Movement at the Free University of Berlin

A rally in front of the Free University of Berlin had as many journalists as demonstrators. This is yet another example of the international campaign to defame all protests against Israel's genocidal military campaign.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 16, 2024

Protests in Germany: “The Whole Regime Is Shifting to the Right”

In Germany, over 1.4 million people took to the streets to protest the Far Right this weekend. Left Voice interviewed Inés Heider, a social worker in Germany and activist of Klasse Gegen Klasse, our sister organization in Germany, about the mobilizations in recent days and the current political dynamics in Germany.

Inés In

January 25, 2024


Black UAW workers, a black-and-white image, holding signs that say "UAW ON STRIKE."

To Achieve Black Liberation, Class Independence Is Key

A united, working-class party fighting oppression is our only hope for Black liberation.

Tristan Taylor

February 29, 2024
A banner reads "Real Wages Or We Strike" at a rally for CUNY, which is experiencing cuts from Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul.

CUNY Faculty and Staff Have Gone One Year Without a Contract — It’s Time to Strike

CUNY workers have been without a new contract for a full year and the university has yet to make any economic offers. It's time to take action.

Olivia Wood

February 29, 2024
Aaron Bushnell, who self-immolated in protest of the genocide in Palestine.

Aaron Bushnell’s Cry of Despair in the Face of Genocide

The media and international community was profoundly affected by the self-immolation of U.S. soldier Aaron Bushnell in protest against the genocide in Gaza. His death and desperate act of protest starkly shows the cruelty and brutality of U.S. Imperialism and Zionism.

Enzo Tresso

February 28, 2024
Florida governor Ron DeSantis stands at a podium that reds "Higher Education Reform"

U.S. Higher Education Is Being Gutted, but We Can Fight Back

Across the United States, higher education is being gutted through program eliminations and budget cuts. We must prepare to fight these attacks with everything we have.

Olivia Wood

February 28, 2024