Brexit is starting to look rather a lot like an “escape room” with no exit.
An escape room is an more and more common journey sport that requires contributors to unravel a sequence of puzzles earlier than they will depart the room and advance into one other one with extra riddles.
Brexit now appears to be a riddle that may’t be solved, after U.Ok. lawmakers voted down Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to depart the European Union. This means there’s no approach to “win,” but no clear approach to finish the sport that started with a 2016 referendum.
That’s dangerous information for the British. But primarily based on my research on international business, that’s dangerous information for U.S. companies and the “special relationship” between the 2 international locations as effectively.
This decades-long relationship, primarily based on frequent values and comparable views on international points, has been weakened by President Donald Trump and can deteriorate additional with out a post-Brexit plan.
The first escape room was comparatively straightforward to unravel, consisting of only one puzzle: depart or stay.
In June 2016, British residents narrowly voted to exit the union it joined in 1973, which moved the U.Ok. into the following room.
The second one was extra difficult, because it required the U.Ok. to resolve home divisions over Brexit. Citizens who wished to stay – majorities in London, Scotland and Northern Island – refused to take part within the sport any additional, aside from to induce fellow gamers to return to the primary room and reply that puzzle otherwise by holding one other referendum.
The remaining contributors, particularly the bulk Conservative Party led by May, started fighting among themselves whereas making an attempt to unravel the puzzle of what the U.Ok. wished from Brexit.
This room took the longest time to depart – over two years – because it required particular and prolonged negotiations on the phrases of Brexit with the EU. Having reached an settlement, the prime minister stumbled out of this room in November together with her supporters and offered the plan to Parliament.
That plan went down in a shocking defeat on Jan. 15 – May misplaced 432-202 within the biggest upset in parliamentary history – placing the U.Ok. in uncharted territory.
Opponents are pushing for new elections or one other referendum – again to the primary room – whereas May’s personal get together is discussing methods for Parliament to take control of Brexit. And the EU says the deal cannot be renegotiated earlier than the March 29 deadline.
Back in June 2016, earlier than the referendum, I defined why Americans ought to care concerning the vote’s final result, partly as a result of Brexit would damage U.S.-U.Ok. commerce and funding. But it’s clear to me now that the influence will prolong past enterprise to the essence of the “special relationship” between the 2 international locations.
U.S. firms still have no road map for methods to proceed. Uncertainty reigns on tariffs, regulations, whether or not to find workers within the U.Ok. versus Europe and numerous extra business-related points.
Business hates uncertainty. Foreign funding within the U.Ok. has already dropped 19 percent over the previous two years as firms have been cautious to put money into or develop their operations. Banks and different American firms seem more interested in closer ties to the EU’s single market than doing enterprise within the U.Ok.
This disinvestment is prone to speed up following the failed vote in Parliament. Sadly, it seems like Brexit is a sport with out a winner or, at this level, any apparent manner of quitting.