THE COUNTDOWN TO leave the European Union began in the British summer of 2017, but nobody in the country seemed to know in which direction they were headed. Those who voted to leave don’t know what kind of future they would like; those who voted to stay don’t know what they can do to stop the process they are certain will create only misery. British politicians from the two major parties – Conservatives and Labour – aren’t helping. The Conservatives are led by a Prime Minister who voted to stay and seems reluctant to leave the EU; Labour is led by a man who never wanted the UK to join the EU, and must somehow convince voters who wish to remain that he can strike a better bargain.
A decisive vote would have made the politicians’ job easier. But just over half (52 per cent) voted to leave, and nearly half voted to stay. Britain sees itself as a trading country – the EU began as the Common Market with free movement of goods, capital and people across national borders. Leaving would be easy, some politicians said; there would be new trade deals with the United States and China, as well as with the Commonwealth. Ministers spoke eloquently about re-establishing old ties with Commonwealth countries.
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