LONDON—The week ahead will be one of the most dramatic in British politics in decades. A sequence of parliamentary votes will decide the future of the British economy—or perhaps plunge it into chaos.
The government of Theresa May will one more time submit to Parliament an agreement to transition out of the European Union over the next two years. That agreement is widely disliked in Parliament and could well lose again.
In that case, Parliament will face the prospect of crashing out of the EU without a deal on March 29, which terrifies just about everybody.
The likeliest alternative then would be a humbling request to the EU for a delay of the March 29 deadline to allow Britain more time to get its act together.
Or very possibly something entirely different could happen—a heart-stopping game of roulette with the world’s sixth-largest economy. (It was fifth, just a year ago, but the post-Brexit collapse in the value of the pound against the euro has elevated France ahead of the U.K.)
As Britain and Europe brace against the future, maybe it’s worthwhile to reassess how they arrived at this impasse.
In the background of Brexit loom the economic troubles that have discredited elites across the Western world. The financial crisis of 2008 hit the United Kingdom even harder than the United States—and did damage that has proved more enduring. As of the end of 2018, average wages in the U.K. remain well below their 2007 peak.