Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I shared the documentary Tea With the Dames. Becky read Charlotte Brontë’s second published novel, Shirley, and a middle-grade World War II story, How I Became a Spy. Sim celebrated Lynn Redgrave’s birthday with a review of her first starring film role, Georgy Girl, which is based on a book by Margaret Foster. Jean reviewed the memoir, Stet, by Diane Athill, long-time book editor in London. Jean also read Elidor, expecting a Welsh connection that took some research to find. Gaele shared six books with us: The One Who’s Not the One, The City of Second Chances, Goodness, Grace and Me, My Summer of Love and Limoncello, The One Saving Grace, and Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop.
March 29, two weeks from today, is the day that Brexit becomes official. If a deal is made between the UK and the EU, a transition period will begin on March 29 to allow time to hammer out a comprehensive trade agreement. Without a deal, there is no transition period or agreement, and March 29 will begin a fair amount of chaos, at least temporarily, while trade deals and other agreements are made in a less orderly fashion.
The major sticking point is the border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (part of the EU). You can read my take on it from October and November. Or you can watch this helpful video, including a map, from the BBC.
So, we’re down to the wire with the multiple votes in Parliament in recent days.
On Tuesday, Parliament rejected the current Brexit deal that Prime Minister May negotiated with the EU.
On Wednesday, Parliament voted that the UK can’t leave the EU unless there is a deal.
On Thursday, yesterday, Parliament voted to delay Brexit and voted against a second referendum for the entire citizenry to weigh in on whether they still want to Leave or Remain.I went to this talk last night by James Croft (self-proclaimed “British person”) and learned a couple of new things. Yesterday’s votes to delay Brexit and against a second referendum aren’t binding. In particular, the delay of Brexit will only happen if EU members unanimously agree.
What happens next is all a big question mark. Maybe a delay and a new attempt to reach a deal that, somehow, solves intractable problems. Maybe one or more EU members won’t support the delay (and, apparently, there are some Brexiteers lobbying for that) and the UK crashes out of the EU on March 29, in spite of Parliament’s desire for a deal.
There probably won’t another referendum — and James made a good argument that if you ask the people what they want, and they tell you, it’s an enormous breach of trust to not implement it. He also made a good argument for not governing by referendum when you have a functioning representative democracy. He showed a chart of the polling in the UK about leaving or staying in the EU over the last 40-some years and it ebbs and flows. Taking a snapshot and basing an entire nation’s future on it is not good governance.
James also requested that we all be kind to the British people we know because this is very stressful. Perhaps, by offering them a cup of tea.