Brexit Is Officially Happening (Kinda)
The quarrels and squabbles and cries of "Order!" are over. On January 31, the U.K. will officially be leaving the European Union.
Yesterday, the government -- led by everyman of the people, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson Esq. -- passed a withdrawal agreement drawn up by Johnson et al. through the House of Commons, meaning that the agreement is now destined to become law. There's no need for concern, though. The agreement itself is just boilerplate stuff about the "divorce payments" that the U.K. will be making to the EU, the rights that'll be kindly afforded to EU citizens living in the U.K., and the future relationship between the U.K. and Ireland -- which if handled incorrectly, could kickstart The Troubles II: IRA Boogaloo.
So what happens next? Well, Nigel Farage is currently seeking permission to hold a rager outside Parliament on January 31, while MP Mark Francois wants the bells of Big Ben to ring out on the precise minute of B-Day. There's only one problem, though. Big Ben is currently undergoing renovations and having the bells rebuilt specially for the occasion would be a massive, expensive pain in the arse for the benefit of no-one but a few jingoistic weirdos. Much like Brexit, really.
On the plus side, though, that's it. This is the end of a long, tiresome process that consumed four years, three prime ministers, two elections, and an entire country, and speaking as a U.K.-er, I couldn't be happy that our national nightmare of being under the thumb of the EU -- and having nothing to show for it, save a functioning currency -- is over.
Except, it's not.
After B-Day hits on January 31, the U.K. will enter an eleven month-long transition period during which time they'll no longer be a member of the EU ... but will still have to follow its rules and pay its membership dues. This period is also when the government has to negotiate any trade deals it wants with the EU. If it fails to negotiate anything before the end of the year, the country crashes out of the union without a deal, something which every economist says will be a very, very bad thing.
But don't worry, though. We're dealing with the crack team which took three years to negotiate the starting paperwork past its own government, and is now helmed by a man who apparently doesn't even know the number of children he has. How could this go wrong?
Ummm, does anyone have a spare passport?