UK Politics

Article 50: What happens next?

Written by Callum Williams

Wednesday, March 29, 2017: for some a glorious independence day; for others, a day we will remember as one of the darkest in our history.

It was the day the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, maybe not so ‘united’ in the future, triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally notifying the European Union of the UK’s intention to leave the EU.

So what happens yet?

The UK now has exactly two years to agree its separation agreement. Theresa May has stated that we should have a trade deal within that time frame, alongside the separation agreement. However, due to the complexity of EU law and the upcoming elections in Europe, during which EU countries will be pre-ocupied with their own populist movement, most political analysts agree that the completion of the separation agreement within two years is unlikely.

After two years, if we still have no deal with Europe, Britain will leave the EU in a state of economic and political meltdown. If this happens we will be forced to rely on World Trade organisation tariffs which would be detrimental to our economy. If that wasn’t bad enough, the UK would probably be taken to the International Court of Justice, as previously indicated by leaked German documents.

Could Article 50 be reversed?

Maybe, but we don’t know. It would be up for debate in the European Court of Justice. However, even if it was legally possible, it wouldn’t be politically. European countries would be resentful of the UK if that situation occurred.

We are effectively doing what we did to the Commonwealth, turning our backs on them but still expecting a good deal. Sadly, it seems to be that the UK just flip-flops in its decisions because we believe populist theories and personalities who always let us down.

Unfortunately, there is more bad news: Nicola Sturgeon is arguing for a second Scottish independence referendum. Despite what she constantly says, the fact is that the UK is currently weak, losing Scotland will damage not only Scotland – when it fails to join the EU because of EU instability and Scotland’s failure to meet the requirements – but the UK as a whole. Yes, the UK future is not looking good but we have to maximise that future by sticking together – so we can make the best out of a dreadful situation. However, the disenfranchisement felt by the Scottish people has grown due to the result of the Brexit referendum. Perhaps inevitably, this will lead to the collapse of the Union and the weakening of every country in the Union.

For now the UK lies in huge economic and political uncertainly. The next few years are going to be a bumpy rollercoaster. At the moment we are driven by a leader who seems only to care about her own agenda, and we are heading for a direct collision. The damage will be catastrophic.

In centuries to come, students will be taught in their history classrooms how the March 29, 2017 caused the downfall of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

About the author

Callum Williams

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