Wednesday , 20 June 2018
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    Will Europe accommodate Britain?

Best of times … Worst of times …
Will Europe accommodate Britain?



Syed Nasir Ershad

There are diverse views on the future of the U.K. in the greater Europe: some positive others negative and some are mixed. According to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the U.K. could stay in a reformed European Union despite the Brexit vote. Blair recently said every alternative for the U.K.’s future should be made clear to the British people, which would sensibly include the option of negotiating for Britain to stay within a Europe itself prepared to reform and meet on the half way.
He said the victory of Emmanuel Macron in France had changed the political dynamics of Europe and reform is now on Europe’s agenda, adding that European leaders are willing to consider changes to accommodate Britain, including around freedom of movement. The former Labour leader admitted that Brexit will happen if the will of the British people remains as it was last June. But he said as the British people know more about what Brexit means, their ‘will’ changes.
He also emphasized the importance of the single market and why Britain should stay in it, saying that doing so would mean the economic damage of Brexit will be limited. In one statement, released alongside polling on whether people in the U.K., France and Germany consider themselves part of the political center, Blair didn’t hold back on the state of British politics. There is a slightly anarchic feel to our politics intensified by the realization that the government is weak and drifting.
He had some kinder words for current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying that the June election result was remarkable. He paid tribute to Jeremy Corbyn’s temperament in the campaign, to the campaign’s mobilization of younger voters and to the enthusiasm it generated. It may be noted that normally Blair is a Corbyn critic, but he appeared to appreciate the later in this instance. The Corbyn campaign was a positive factor in the election result; but the determining factor was the Tory campaign. However, he said a Corbyn-led government after Brexit would leave the country flat on its back. If a right-wing populist punch in the form of Brexit was followed by a left-wing populist punch in the form of unreconstructed hard-left economics, Britain would hit the canvas, flat on its back and be out for a long count, he thought.
Some people thought that all those who voted Labour voted to make Corbyn prime minister, or that they supported the body of the program rather than its tone. There was a message of warning that the Tories would not make the same mistakes in future campaigns. Blair said the Labour Party would need to fill the progressive center with a radical policy agenda. In any case a weaker Europe will not be a good sign for the global economy in the long run. The sooner all the relevant stakeholders realize this issue as a hard reality the better it is for Europe and for that matter for the world.

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