Religion & Liberty Online

Alejandro Chafuen in Forbes: The uncertainties of the Brexit debate

Acton’s own Alejandro Chafuen recently returned from a visit to England, and today in Forbes he offers a few of his impressions and analyses of the contentious Brexit process. The political machinations of the current situation are seemingly endless, but its ramifications are more than just political. As Chafuen points out, for instance, the ongoing saga brings uncertainty for anyone who does business in the UK.

“We have many issues that go to a referendum in Switzerland. But after the results come in, and we know who won, the government immediately works to implement the decision. It has been three years since the Brexit vote. What is going on?”

I had the privilege of spending several days in London recently, and the above question by a friendly Swiss journalist to our host at a dinner helped confirm my views of what has been taking place in London: a concerted effort to negate the results of the June 23, 2016 election.

The dinner was a memorable moment and at a historical place: the Houses of Parliament. I was invited by a committed conservative, a member of the House of Lords who has direct knowledge of the situation, processes and players. He is also uniquely familiar with the talents and character of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. I received the invitation before anyone knew how critical the week would be. There were only four of us at the table during that hectic evening, during which our host had to leave four times during drinks and dinner to go and cast votes. His manners and demeanor made it all easy, despite the sad fact nothing is easy in contemporary British politics and business.

The acute discussions also revealed to me that there are other battles beyond Brexit. In the first interview after her resignation, former Work and Pension Minister Amber Rudd emphasized the word “moderate” several times. Whenever there is a mention of the 21 members of Parliament who were expelled for voting with the opposition to delay Brexit further, the word “moderate” never fails to appear. One side is depicted as “moderate, moderate, moderate” while those who intend to enact the will of the majority are portrayed as radical clowns who do not play by the rules.

The goal of the anti-Brexit conservatives is to undermine Boris Johnson and to take the conservative party back to a John Major-David Cameron line.

But beyond London, in the regions favorable to Brexit, it is a different world. The conservatives who do not support Boris Johnson know that they are walking a fine line. At the moment they might like being portrayed by the establishment as putting “country over party,” but they know they could soon be portrayed as putting “the European Union and London over country.”

Read the entire article here.

(Homepage photo credit: Alejandro Chafuen.)

Joshua Gregor

Joshua Gregor is International Relations Assistant at the Acton Institute. Before coming to Acton he received a BA in philosophy from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome and an MA in linguistics from Indiana University.