Britain spirals faster and faster into the Brexit crisis.
On Tuesday, the British Parliament again overwhelmingly rejected the U.K.-EU agreement for an orderly transition. That vote puts Britain on the path to crash out of the European Union on March 29.
Party leaders are scrambling to improvise some kind of cushion against the hard landing of a no-deal Brexit. Could Britain ask the EU for an extension of some weeks or months? Could Britain cancel its withdrawal from the EU altogether? Is there time for a second referendum, or new elections?
It’s chaos not only because so many British people intensely disagree with one another. It’s chaos because two key British people do not disagree nearly intensely enough. Prime Minister Theresa May wants the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. And so—probably even more so, and certainly over a much longer span of his political career—does the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn has long viewed the European Union as a detestable neoliberal project that impedes hopes for socialism in the United Kingdom. Videos of Corbyn’s speeches from before he became leader of the Labour Party in 2015 record him denouncing the EU as a “European empire” and a “military Frankenstein,” and vowing to “defeat” the EU, the International Monetary Fund, and the international bankers they supposedly both serve. Corbyn absented himself from the 2016 Brexit referendum, even taking a holiday in the middle of it. He refused to share platforms with then–Prime Minister David Cameron to present a bipartisan case for EU membership.