TORONTO - These are the last words uttered by and attributed to Jesus Christ as he hung on the cross surveying the crowd that had accompanied him to Golgotha for his execution.
It may have been the inspiration for the European Leaders to give prime Minister Theresa May a two-week extension on the march 29 Brexit deadline.
Britain can still revoke the invocation of Clause 50 that authorizes the country’s withdrawal from the European Union. PM May can also call for a second referendum, or better still an election.
This option may be imposed on her if she loses yet another vote in the House of Commons on her Deal. Her party seems determined to poison every chance to find another solution.
A slew of European, American and Multinational corporations has already started to plan for an exit, fearing that the consequent labour mobility restrictions, market access costs to Europe and various and sundry anti-competitive measures that will kick in will not balance oª the gains, if any, of a new stand-alone British economy.
Britain’s political class is divided and timorous. Scots, Northern Irelanders Londoners are “Remainers”. Last weekend they launched an online petition to abandon the Brexit initiative.
Close to five million people signed on in 48 hours. A further one million took to the streets to implore prime Minister May to pull back from the brink.
Pro-Brexiters have been flaying about with all the certainties one expects from charismatic, quasi-religious zealots. The world knows them through the utterings of Nigel Farange and Boris Johnson, a duo that rivals the duet of Donald Trump – Kim Jong Un for discordant notes.
They have caused the unleashing of ethnic and racial hostilities that will provoke the forced exit of hundreds of thousands of Europeans who have yet to register for Permanent residency.
Until the Brexit vote of June 2016, they hadn’t felt the need to do so because the Shengen Agreement guaranteed unrestricted (free) labour mobility among member states in Europe.
Some estimates place the number of ex-pats from Poland under threat of removal from Britain at close to one million residents; Portuguese at 400,000 and Italians at about 500,000.
The popular press has documented some particularly disturbing displays of odium targeting Poles. Europeans have been put on notice that “unregistered” aliens will be subject to removal the day after Brexit. Shades of Canada’s “undocumented workers”! But Canada’s Immigration Minister is as immune to capitalizing on this opportunity as he is to resolving the domestic issue prevailing in Canada.
On the flip side, long-time residents/ citizens in a lesser Britain are looking to salvage whatever benefits accrue to membership in the EU by seeking citizenship (wherever allowed) in a second country.
A dual citizenship with an EU member state would permit them to apply for, and receive, a European passport and enjoy the benefits such a passport will provide on the continent. Brits of Irish descent who can prove their ancestry originated in the Republic of Ireland dating back to their grandparents may apply for Irish citizenship and passports.
The UK Guardian reports that 100,000 di so in 2017, a further 200,000 followed suit in 2018. Irish authorities have had to increase the number of consular intake officials to deal with the demand. Applications are apparently pouring in at a rate that suggests last year’s total will be easily surpassed.
They will be busy for a while yet. There are an estimated 6,000,000 with Irish ancestry who may legally take advantage. It is expected that they will “vote with their feet”.