A coalition United Kingdom government that re-enters Europe. How’s that for a radical approach to the future of U.K. politics?
We, U.K. citizens, seem to have finally chosen two reasonably-sensible, stable leaders to run the two major political parties in the country. After the clownish antics of Boris Johnson, and the communist yearnings of Jeremy Corbyn, exacerbated by the political stupidity/naiveté of David Cameron in calling a referendum on Brexit when he didn’t have the result rigged, it’s a relief to look at Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer. And therein lies an opportunity.
I read an article this week on the problems with the U.K. rejoining Horizon, the European Union’s, and the world’s, biggest collaborative research program. The U.K.’s membership lapsed when Brexit happened, and attempts to rejoin, which would be to everyone’s benefit, have been stymied by arguments over the problems with Northern Ireland under Brexit.
British scientists are clamoring to get back into Horizon as soon as possible, and their European colleagues seem equally anxious for them to rejoin.
The political arguments for not immediately rejoining are almost a mirror image of the arguments for not abandoning the stupid and fraudulent experiment of Brexit. They are: (1) Value for money, (2) Retaining British control of its own research, and (3) Dislike among hardline Brexiteers for any closer links to the EU.
None of these arguments stand up to scrutiny in the case of Horizon and, I would propose, none of them stand up to scrutiny in terms of Brexit either: The Economist article makes the first point, and I have added my extension of the second.
“Researchers and universities say the delay over rejoining Horizon has already had a cost in lost grants and weaker cross-border collaboration. Rejoining would help attract investment and talent from abroad. Going it alone would not. If Mr. Sunak is serious about supporting British science, he should stop dithering and sign up to Horizon without delay”. So says the conclusion of The Economist article.
I submit that the exact same argument applies to Brexit.
Almost all the recent reports on the U.K.’s economy recently have shown that it is in crisis. That’s hardly surprising when you put your biggest trading partner – the EU – behind tariff barriers created by Brexit. Many businesses are crying out for employees, which is also not surprising when you cut off your former access to massive EU labor.
Its time to admit Brexit was a mistake, and take the necessary steps to correct that mistake.
If I may be blunt, we may have to eat a little bit of humble pie to get back into the EU, but we can then work on regaining our leadership role in an economic block that can compete worldwide. The U.K. Brexit strategy of “I don’t like what you are doing, so I am taking my ball and going home” is regressive and stupid. In addition, our younger generation has completely outgrown the old British adage of “We don’t like or trust foreigners because they are foreigners”. That adage can be left to the aging, and hopefully dying off, Tory Brexiteers.
I have a suggestion.
Why don’t Sunak and Starmer quietly get together and create a coalition government for a few years to correct all the idiocies of Brexit, and put the U.K. back on a true, and productive, development path. Once that temporary step is done, both parties can go back to party politics, but the current situation demands a drastic step. The U.K. has done it before in national emergencies, why can’t it do it again?
The majority of the country have finally realized that they were conned by Boris, and so may be willing to see such a government as an interim solution that will put the country back on track.