You probably haven’t heard much about it but the United Kingdom has officially parted ways with the European Union, terminating a relationship that began back in 1973. Now, a (ten month long starting Jan. 2020) transition period is about to end. But believe it or not, four years after that momentous and unexpected Brexit vote... both sides are still arguing on the terms of their divorce. Today, we update the story we first covered in our travels across Europe more than a year ago.
Sharyl: On our trip to London, Political analyst David Cowling told us the British vote to leave the European Union in 2016 was a stunning slap in the face of the establishment:
Boris Johnson in Parliament: Right here, right now.
David Cowling: We’ve had the most unprecedented revolt against the entire political class I think in our history.
Sharyl: Three years after the vote, in July last year, British Prime Minister Theresa May was forced out of power by her own party for failing to actually close the exit deal.
Boris Johnson in Parliament: And our mission...
Sharyl: Boris Johnson replaced her, campaigning on the platform of getting it done.
Boris Johnson: For the purpose of uniting and reenergizing our great United Kingdom and making this country the greatest place on Earth.
Sharyl: Naysayers fought Brexit, calling the vote a fluke and insisting on a do over, but Johnson staked his political future on the promise to “get Brexit done.” The exit deal was sealed last November when he won an overwhelming victory in parliament.
So you might think the United Kingdom was well out of the EU. But today, for all intents and purposes, the country remains bound by EU rules and regulations. Breaking up turns out to be very hard to do. Both sides have tried to work out all the small, but important details on how they will interact when it comes to trade, tariffs, and legal systems. But they’ve been unable to come to agreement.
Johnson says if terms are not finalized by October 15, the UK will depart without an agreement.
A continuing concern; the fact that no deal has been made as to what exactly will happen regarding trade and border checks on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain and exited the European Union, but Ireland remains in the EU.
There are fears that the split will spark a return to the sort of border violence seen decades ago in clashes between Protestants and Catholics.
Ian Marshall is a politician and farmer on the northern side of the Irish border. Like many farmers and businesses, he relies on seamless trade across the border.
Ian Marshall: What we have, we’ve got seamless, frictionless trade across the border. People move and travel backwards and forwards on a daily basis. And we've forgotten what the implications of having border checkpoints and controls were.
By the way, Marshall lost his seat in the Irish senate since we first spoke