Forbes - To Brexit, Or Not To Brexit?

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To Brexit, Or Not To Brexit? That Is Now The Question

It’s been an exciting week in Brexitland. Prime Minister Theresa May was finally forced to admit that she hadn’t a snowflake’s hope in hell of getting her horrible deal through Parliament. Clean out of both ideas and support, she announced her resignation on Friday, May 24 – the day after the European Parliament elections, in which the U.K. participated only because of her failure to deliver Brexit.

May’s departure was suspiciously timely. Although the election results weren’t published until three days after the vote, it was evident from exit polls that the Government was going to do very badly. Like her predecessor, David Cameron, she resigned rather than face the inevitable backlash.

The European Parliament election turned out to be a bloodbath. Both the ruling Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party were trashed by an electorate thoroughly fed up with Brexit. Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party soared, topping the polls with 32% of the vote. And the Liberal Democrats and Green Party, both of which campaigned on a “Stop Brexit” ticket, also saw enormous gains at the expense of Labour and Tories. In another form of protest, only 37% of eligible voters even bothered to vote. Many people simply didn’t want to vote in a election they saw as completely pointless.

But the two main parties have only themselves to blame for their trouncing. They barely bothered to campaign. This left the field clear for parties that identified themselves by their stance on Brexit. The election became in effect a second referendum. And it is proving every bit as divisive as the first.

Both sides claimed victory. Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party ended up with the most MEPs, but Remainers said that this was largely due to the fragmentation of Remain parties: they claimed that collectively, Remain had beaten the Brexiters hollow. Electoral statistics didn't exactly clarify the situation. Europe Elects cheerily announced a large majority for Remain.

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