Only very, VERY rarely does a situation result that covers and includes several of the available options, regarding the ways in which it could all have turned out.  Brexit is such a situation, and that is why it is such a storm, as the end result (or next installment) can still go in any direction, or in every direction.

In my last post,[1] being number 3 of 4 to date,[2] in this Brexit series, I had summed things up into three alternative options.

First, I had said that there could possibly be a change in UK prime ministers, as well as a second Brexit Referendum.[3]  The prime minister did indeed change, with Theresa May being replaced by Boris Johnson,[4] and this pending election for December 12, 2019,[5] will essentially count as a second Brexit Referendum due to PM Johnson’s deep and longstanding commitment to “[…]Get Brexit Done!”,[6] the very public election strategizing of Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party,[7] and the state of public discourse.

Next, I had also said that there could be a Hard Brexit, which PM Johnson also tried to force when Parliament did not give him the votes he wanted.[8]  He was, however, sternly rebuked by the UK Supreme Court for trying to usurp the rights of his fellow British lawmakers,[9] and he has now had to accept this December, 2019 general election option as a combined confidence and referendum vote.

Finally, I had said that the Europeans “might” cave-in on the Irish backstop and give the UK some additional concessions.[10]  This was an outside possibility [11] and it remains very much outside, because even though the Europeans did give the UK the very minor concession of some additional time to get its Brexit act in order, by extending the deadline for it to leave the EU under Article 51 from (originally May 29, 2019, first to October 31, 2019), and now to January 31, 2020,[12] they are getting quite tired of the UK inability to act decisively one way or another on leaving or staying,[13] and a hard Brexit is still very much an option if the next deadline comes and goes without the acceptance by the UK of a deal already and conclusively negotiated with Europe.[14]

What will the election bring, and will it finally solve the Shakespearean question of whether the UK’s future is “[t]o be, or not to be [in Europe]?”[15]  At this point, I will not even hazard a guess on that; but I can say that there tends to be a messy result if you either take roughly 50% of a nation out of the place where they want to stay, or keep roughly 50% of a nation in a place where they do not want to be.  You could have incessant and relatively peaceful actions as in France; a slow-rising chaos as in Hong Kong; or a multi-sided outburst of rage that refuses to be sated – whether any or all are sparked by the final Brexit decision itself, or the aftermath of that Brexit decision.

This realization, may well be the true reason why the UK lawmakers do not want to act decisively one way or another.  A decision, either way, might lead to unrest – the kind of unrest that the Europeans, whether or not the UK is in Europe (and whether or not the UK asks for assistance), may be forced to act on, so as to restore and maintain order in the British Isles, protect their own citizens there, prevent spillover, or a combination of these.[16]  So, a final Brexit move is a proverbial and problem-fraught trigger that nobody wants to pull.  However, this constant delay and playing for time will not make it go away, and nerves are fraying all around.[17]  The election may finally force the matter, as a continued near stalemate in supporters and opponents of leaving once all ballots are counted, is really quite unlikely.[18]

So, let’s wait to see whether these poll results will lead to the final chapters, or again, a next installment.[19]

 

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Author:

Ekundayo George is a lawyer and sociologist.  He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and gained significant experience in programs, policy, regulatory compliance, litigation, and business law and counseling.  He has been licensed to practise law in Ontario and Alberta, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America.  See, for example: https://www.ogalaws.com.  A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, eCommerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Energy, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other services, and Environmental Law and Policy; working with equal ease and effectiveness in his transitions to and from the public and private sectors.  He is a published author on the national security aspects of Environmental Law, has represented clients in courts and before regulatory bodies in both Canada and the United States, and he enjoys complex systems analysis in legal, technological, and societal millieux.

Trained in Legal Project Management (and having organized and managed several complex projects before practising law), Mr. George is also an experienced negotiator, facilitator, team leader, and strategic consultant – sourcing, managing, and delivering on complex engagements with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  Team consulting competencies include program investigation, sub-contracted procurement of personnel and materials, and such diverse project deliverables as business process re-engineering, devising and delivering tailored training, crisis consulting, and targeted engagements through tapping a highly-credentialed resource pool of contract professionals with several hundred years of combined expertise, in: healthcare; education and training; law and regulation; policy and plans; statistics, economics, and evaluations including feasibility studies and business cases; infrastructure; and information technology/information systems (IT/IS) – also sometimes termed information communications technologies (ICT).  See, for example: https://www.simprime-ca.com.

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not intended or deemed legal advice, business advice, the rendering of any professional service, or attorney advertising where restricted or barred.  The author and affiliated entities specifically disclaim and reject any and all loss claimed, no matter howsoever resulting as alleged, due to any action or inaction done in reliance on the contents herein.  Past results are no guarantee of future success, and specific legal advice should be sought for particular matters through counsel of your choosing, based on such factors as you deem appropriate.

 

[1] Ekundayo George.  Calling the Brexit end-result at this point, is a guessing game!  Posted March 11, 2019, on ogalaws.wordpress.com.  Web: <https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/calling-the-brexit-end-result-at-this-point-is-a-guessing-game/>

[2] See e.g. Ekundayo George.  Analyzing the 2016 Brexit: A Classically Complex Conundrum.  Posted June 30, 2016 on ogalaws.wordpress.com.  Web:  <https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/analyzing-the-2016-brexit-a-classically-complex-conundrum/>; See also Ekundayo George.  Analyzing the 2016 Brexit: The UK Exit Plan is Revealed, Promising a “Hybridized” End-result. January 20, 2017.   Web: <https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/analyzing-the-2016-brexit-the-uk-exit-plan-is-revealed-promising-a-hybridized-end-result/>

[3] Supra note 1.

[4] Charlie D’Agata / CBS News.   Boris Johnson to be next prime minister of UK, replacing Theresa May amid Brexit turmoil.  Posted July 23, 019 on cbsnews.com.  Web: <https://www.cbsnews.com/news/prime-minister-boris-johnson-amid-brexit-turmoil-boris-johnson-to-be-next-prime-minister-of-uk-replacing-theresa-may/>

[5] David Reid.  UK set for a December election as opposition Labour party backs calls.  Posted October 28, 2019 on CNBC.com.  Web: <https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/28/boris-johnson-loses-vote-to-hold-uk-general-election-on-december-12.html>

[6] BBC Politics.  Bercow warns Johnson against disobeying Brexit law.  Posted September 13, 2019 on bbc.com.  Web: <https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49683797>;  See also ITV Report.  Boris Johnson unveils new battle bus as Tory general election campaign hits the road.  Posted November 15, 2019 on itv.com.  Web:  <https://www.itv.com/news/2019-11-15/well-deliver-greener-vehicles-insists-pm-as-he-unveils-battlebus/>

[7] David Reid.  Trump-ally Nigel Farage offers Boris Johnson a Brexit election alliance.  Posted November 1, 2019 on cnbc.com.  Web:  <https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/01/trump-ally-nigel-farage-offers-boris-johnson-a-brexit-election-alliance.html>

[8] Jill Lawless, The Associated Press.  Johnson suspends U.K. Parliament after latest Brexit defeat.  Posted September 10, 2019 on thestar.com.  Web:  <https://www.thestar.com/news/world/europe/2019/09/10/johnson-suspends-uk-parliament-after-latest-brexit-defeat.html>; See also Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot and Peter Walker.  Cornered Boris Johnson suffers triple Commons defeat: MPs block bid to call snap election after vote on bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit.  Posted September 4, 2019 on theguardian.com.  Web: <https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/04/cornered-boris-johnson-suffers-triple-commons-defeat>

[9] Estelle Shirbon and Michael Holden, Reuters.  Boris Johnson illegally suspended British parliament, U.K. Supreme Court rules.  Posted September 24, 2019, on Nationalpost.com.  Web:  <https://nationalpost.com/news/world/boris-johnson-illegally-suspended-british-parliament-u-k-supreme-court-ruled>

[10] Ekundayo George.  Calling the Brexit end-result at this point, is a guessing game!  Posted March 11, 2019, on ogalaws.wordpress.com.  Web: <https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/calling-the-brexit-end-result-at-this-point-is-a-guessing-game/>

[11] See Infra, note 13.

[12] Silvia Amaro.  EU agrees to give the UK a Brexit extension until January 31.  Posted October 28, 2019 on cnbc.com.  Web: <https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/28/the-eu-discusses-three-month-brexit-extension.html>

[13] Ibid. This extension, giving extra time to finally gain proper Brexit approval by the UK parliament, was only granted on the condition that the UK “actually” leave the EU based “solely” on the deal already negotiated with the EU by prime minister Theresa May (the Withdrawal Agreement), and which includes that already highly contentious deal to split the Irish mainland (leaving the Republic of Ireland in the EU but also keeping Northern Ireland – after Brexit – still beholden to EU customs rules and thereby complicating the efforts of an otherwise freestanding UK to negotiate its own trade agreements elsewhere), in case the EU and UK cannot timely reach a post-Brexit customs deal.  Considering everything, that may or may not, be the end result we actually see.

[14] Id.

[15] William Shakespeare.  Hamlet.  Act 3, Scene 1, line 57. (emphasis added).

[16] Indeed, Article 3 of the North Atlantic Treaty may simply be interspersed with the Responsibility to Protect (as a purely pre-emptive act under the last clause of its paragraph 39), so as to enable an armed incursion under Article 4 of that same North Atlantic Treaty, and whether with or without the request or consent of any standing, barely standing, or exiled UK government at that time.

 

The North Atlantic Treaty

Washington D.C. – 4 April 1949

Article 3

In order more effectively to achieve the objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

Article 4

The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.

See The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  The North Atlantic Treaty.  Visited November 18, 2019.  Web: <https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_17120.htm>

 

Responsibility to Protect:

138.  Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means. We accept that responsibility and will act in accordance with it. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the United Nations in establishing an early warning capability.

 

139.  The international community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In this context, we are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate, should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. We stress the need for the General Assembly to continue consideration of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and its implications, bearing in mind the principles of the Charter and international law. We also intend to commit ourselves, as necessary and appropriate, to helping States build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and to assisting those which are under stress before crises and conflicts break out.

 

140.  We fully support the mission of the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide.

 

See The United Nations Organization (UN).  The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.  Visited November 18, 2019.  Web: <https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/about-responsibility-to-protect.shtml>;  See also Andrew Sparrow.  Former MI6 boss says Brexit makes UK more vulnerable to attacks like Russian novichok poisoning – Politics Live.  Posted October 19, 2018 on theguardian.com.  Web:  <https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2018/oct/19/brexit-may-summit-tory-brexiters-would-vote-down-extra-payments-to-eu-for-longer-transition-says-rees-mogg-politics-live>

[17] Ray O’Hanlon.  Irish nerves frayed amid little reassurance from Washington.  Posted September 6, 2019 on irishecho.com.  Web: ..<https://www.irishecho.com/2019/09/irish-nerves-frayed-amid-little-reassurance-from-washington/>  The government and citizens of the Republic of Ireland remain concerned about being “forced out of” the EU after a chaotic Brexit, due to a perceived inability to control their borders with Northern Ireland so as to prevent illicit and customs-flouting trade from the UK.  But see contra, supra note 13.  The government and citizens of the UK are likewise concerned about Northern Ireland being “forced to remain within” the EU after an orderly Brexit, due to interim imposition of the Irish Backstop on delayed trade negotiations with the EU.

 

Also fraying nerves, of course, and all around, is that little “Yellowhammer” matter.  See generally, Reality Check team BBC News.  Brexit: What does Yellowhammer say about no-deal impact?  Posted September 12, 2019 on bbc.com.  Web: <https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47652280>

[18] Rather than clarity on the path forward, this election may actually add unquantifiable additional complications, such as if there now develops a 3-way power split as Conservative supporters tired of Brexit delays, vote in large numbers for the Brexit Party.  At that point, Conservatives (including those previously resigning or rejected from the caucus) will be forced to choose between the hard Brexit of Mr. Farage, the orderly Brexit of Mr. Johnson (assuming Mr. Johnson not only retains his own seat, but also remains as prime minister), or be overcome by an outright cancellation of the whole Brexit exercise if the Labour Party gains or assembles a Parliamentary majority – maybe with or maybe without yet another Referendum and pleas or attempts, for even more re-negotiations with the EU.  See e.g.  Election 2019.  Labour Party manifesto 2019: 12 key policies explained.  Posted November 21, 2019 on bbc.com.  Web: <https://www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50501411>  For the second of these twelve points listed, a victorious Labour Party intends to “renegotiate a new Brexit deal within three months, and hold a referendum on the deal or Remain within six months.”  One must remember, however, that the EU is under no obligation whatsoever to let every successive British political leader, or British political party “have a go” at remaking that existing Brexit deal after riling-up the public and highlighting perceived flaws in the most recent version.  Eventually, they will just say no.

[19]Reserved

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