Now what? Was that it? Practically 3 years just after the Brexit referendum, and just about two years considering the fact that separation negotiations in between the European Union and the United Kingdom officially started, has absolutely everyone reached the finish of their wits? Is a “brutal divorce,” as France’s Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau place it, a foregone conclusion?

The truth is: No a single knows.

For a second time, the British parliament has rejected the really hard-won withdrawal agreement in between London and Brussels. For Prime Minister Theresa May possibly, it really is definitely no consolation that she was “only” 75 votes — rather than the 116 she faced back in January — shy of a triumph. She gave the members of Britain’s Home of Commons a selection: My deal or chaos. The members of parliament opted to flirt with disaster.

In the days and hours just before this most up-to-date showdown, May possibly and her loyal adherents had accomplished every little thing in their energy to win more than fickle parliamentarians. Following weeks of stagnation in post-negotiations in between London and Brussels, the EU threw the British but one more — while admittedly tiny — bone.

May possibly Did not Maintain Her Guarantee

EU negotiators had agreed to add 3 legally binding annexes to the final withdrawal agreement. The most essential a single assured the British that Northern Ireland could not be indefinitely forced into the customs union with the EU thanks to the so-named “backstop” — the emergency answer for the border in between Ireland and Northern Ireland. According to May possibly, this had been the mandate of the British parliament. And she had delivered.

What she failed to mention was that, facing just about specific defeat, she had promised British members of parliament a great deal additional than that back in January. At the time, she stated she would travel to Brussels, reopen the withdrawal agreement and replace the backstop with an option answer. The Brexit hardliners in her celebration had been delighted. Now, nevertheless, just after May possibly has neither reopened nor replaced something, they are disgruntled. When once more, the clumsy tactician was unable to preserve her guarantee.

What is additional, weeks just before, she had frivolously relinquished the only indicates of exerting stress she had left in her arsenal: the ticking clock. The impending deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, March 29, could have in all probability convinced even some of the most reluctant British parliamentarians to vote for May’s deal, lest they danger pushing their nation off the proverbial cliff unchecked. But May possibly informed parliament ahead of time that they would be in a position to vote for an extension of the Brexit deadline should really her deal be voted down. And so quite a few of the most diametrically opposed members of parliament did not budge.

The EU’s Goodwill Has Run Out

It is no longer feasible to use prevalent sense to predict what will come about in the increasingly ludicrous carnage of Brexit. It could be that parliament votes in the coming days, as anticipated, 1st against a withdrawal devoid of an agreement — a so-named no deal Brexit — and then for an Post 50 deadline extension. But then what? May’s ideal: “Voting against leaving devoid of a deal, and for an extension, does not resolve the challenges we face.” Additionally, that would leave the British irrevocably dependent on the goodwill of the remaining 27 EU member states.

But that goodwill has been applied up. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker created that a great deal clear on Monday evening. He stated that Britain had been offered a second likelihood, but that there would “be no third likelihood.” Juncker place the kibosh on any prospect of additional negotiations. Nonetheless, the EU is unlikely to refuse a delay — the most up-to-date speak was of a maximum of two months.

Even though why the EU should really agree to an extension of the existing misery beneath the offered situations is not apparent at 1st glance. It may well even behoove the EU to block such an interim, emergency answer. Then, the Brits would be pushed to the edge just days from now and forced to stare into the abyss. And it really is all but specific that they would not like what would be staring back at them. Only the most starry-eyed political pipe-dreamer, like former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, could nonetheless be convinced that a no-deal Brexit is the “only secure route out” of the EU.

Who knows: Perhaps adequate parliamentarians would see the writing on the wall. It would admittedly be a higher-danger approach. But if there is a single factor the final hours have created clear, it really is that great words alone are not adequate to deal with the chaos on the island.