Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party won the elections. UK is sure to leave the European Union [EU]. The British PM has his task cut out in 11 months to adapt to changes that would define the newly independent United Kingdom.
After a three-year-long Brexit stalemate, the United Kingdom will definitely be leaving the EU on 31 January 2020. The UK went to polls just two weeks ahead of Christmas with MPs, Boris Johnson of the Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn of Labour nip and tuck! A Labour majority would have meant a second Brexit referendum, but team Boris won with the highest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher.
Not a moment has been wasted since, with the Withdrawal Agreement having been passed among the Members of Parliament on the 20 December. With little over a month left for the official Brexit and despite normalcy in London, what looms ahead in the new decade is uncertain. The Prime Minister has less than a year (by 30 December 2020) known as the ‘transition period’ by which he needs to negotiate the Brexit deal with Brussels. Desperate to not delay the exit further, the UK still stands chances of leaving the EU with a ‘no-Brexit deal.’
What it means for UK quitting EU
The International Department of Trade has declared that 49 per cent of the UK’s imports are from the EU, putting trade right on top of the negotiation list. Without a fair deal, goods from the UK entering the EU could be tariffed. Team Boris is confident that the economy will do well post Brexit as it provides an opportunity to negotiate deals with the United States, Australia, and even India, opening a whole new political trading battleground.
One of the major attractions of the EU is free movement and employment among the countries if you are an EU citizen. After Boris Johnson’s most recent win, the UK Home Ministry will implement stringent border control that would be points-based. The existing 2.3 million European families in the UK may not experience any drastic changes but would have to apply for ‘settled status.’ Security, healthcare, data protection, and privacy are some other dominant areas that would need negotiation and streamlining all in parallel with trade deals and focus on economic stability.
Decisions taken at a political level will affect the day-to-day lives of the Britons. Without proper trade agreements in place, medical and grocery bills will rise as will the prices of electricity and gas. Travel from the UK to European countries will become more expensive with stringent rules at border control (even though visas may not be required). British citizens living outside the UK need to worry about taxes and healthcare.
The future ahead
It is evident that the British government has set out on a mammoth goal to achieve in what seems like a flash! 11 months is too short a transition to adapt to changes that would define the newly independent United Kingdom. Nevertheless, if negotiated well, it could mean the future of the European Union in itself and if other countries (such as Italy, Hungary, and France) follow suit. If not, the learning curve for the United Kingdom would be steep with uncertainty.
Even in these testing times, the tubes are crowded as ever, the pubs are overflowing and a melting pot of cultures continues to walk the streets of London and the United Kingdom. How much will the UK change? Will it lose its culture, its essence and its place as a global superpower? We have to wait and watch!