So Boris Johnson has his Brexit. Johnson had a choice of supporting the Leave or Remain campaigns. His support for the Leave campaign was driven by the hope – eventually realised – that it would help him in his ambition to become British Prime Minister. He also assumed that the Remain campaign would prevail. He had no particular vision of what he would do if he eventually became Prime Minister, and that seems to be the situation that continues to this day.
The Leave campaign was supported by a technique developed by a certain company who I won't name, with personal data provided by various social media operations, used to target individuals who had expressed certain biases. Large sums of money were provided for ads aimed at these individuals. The source of the money and the ads (possibly Russian) was removed from the social media sites very soon after the ads went to air, ensuring that ads' origin remains obscure. The social media sites have refused to identify those sources, something they could easily have done. This is illegal under British electoral law, which requires political advertisers to declare their identity.
Ultimately, these ads were critical in the Leave campaign's victory; thus, the Brexit Leave vote was basically based on illegal advertising. Nobody has ever been prosecuted for this.
48% of the British public now wish they had not left the EU, as against 29% who are still happy Britain chose to leave.
It's also worth noting that the expansion to include Eastern European countries –the free movement of whose nationals became one of the prominent issues raised by Brexiteers – was largely a British initiative.
So where are we now?
Johnson's deal with the EU is, by most accounts, a worse deal than that presented by Theresa May two years earlier, and there is little doubt that Britain will suffer financially from leaving the EU.
Johnson mutters about doing 'free trade' deals with other countries now that Britain is free to do so, but the reality is that other countries will be far keener to have a free trade deal with the EU (450 million residents) than Britain (65 million residents). This includes the USA, China and even Australia.
What is the EU's future attitude towards Britain likely to be? Certainly, the EU desperately desires to avoid further defections; preventing other member states from following Britain's course will likely be its first priority.
The EU also does not want a large, economically successful Britain on its doorstep. It would much prefer a diminished, perhaps impoverished, Britain. There are several ways in which the EU may seek to ensure such an outcome, including subtly 'white anting' the English relationship with Northern Ireland and Scotland, with the objective of destroying the Union.
If the EU creates financial advantages for the Irish republic, for example, which flow over into Northern Ireland, it will probably take little effort to 'persuade' Northern Ireland to leave the Union and join the Irish republic, something that in any event makes common sense. It should also be noted that the Irish republic is in a much stronger financial position now than when both the UK and the Irish republic joined the EU forty-three years ago.
Regarding Scotland, the EU could make it clear that joining the EU would be straightforward once the former had separated from England and Wales. Scotland voted strongly for the Remain campaign and there is a substantial and popular ongoing campaign for Scottish independence. Already Scotland is asking for 'subsidies' or 'bonuses' from England to compensate it for losses it will incur as a result of Britain leaving the EU, and this is likely to continue.
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