That’s it: the path is clear. Article 50 will be triggered on the 29th of March, and the divorce proceedings between the UK and the European Union will finally begin.
In such cases, the potential for things to turn nasty is high. Let’s face it, it will be long and complex. However, the optimistic in me believes that where there is a political will, you can make anything happen. There will be threats on both sides, but if both parties work in good faith I believe that we should get there in the end. Onwards and upwards, as they say over here.
As you may know, I am lucky: I applied for a British passport as soon as I could, and managed the applications of all the family. Yes, it was an expensive process, but for me it was a priority: I didn’t want my children not to be able to come back to the country where they were brought up. It must be said that we were the exception rather than the rule: most of my European friends didn’t bother applying for a passport when they could have. Some of them had been living here for decades, and I am still struggling to understand why they didn’t become British after all this time. I know that some of you disagree, but if staying in the UK was so important, then surely they should have taken every possible precaution to make sure they would be able to stay. Of course EU citizens came to this country because they were legally allowed to do so. It was their right. To me, it was also a privilege. It felt a bit like being able to stay at friends’ house indefinitely. You have their permission to stay, but after a while, the decent thing to do is to get your own place. As my (French) grandmother used to say: ‘My House, My Rules’. And sometimes, rules changed. Anyway, that’s just me. And don’t get me wrong: I feel for fellow European Citizen who haven’t had as much luck as I did.
No divorce is easy of course, and this one will be made even more difficult because it is led by the French. In case you don’t know: we French are sore losers. We are immersed in our own history and have been taught to believe that France has set the norm for democracy, philosophy, justice and savoir vivre. The European Union is pretty much a French creation. Let’s be honest: we don’t know much (if anything) about other countries. The British will not be seen as equal. The French will prolong discussions as much as they can and remain intransigent. OK, I’ll say it (and I can because I happen to be French): we believe that we are intellectually superior to any other nationality (especially the British). Oh, and we French don’t do sarcasm.
On the other hand, humour is considered as one of the most effective weapon in the British arsenal. Self depreciation is commonly used, and the French don’t get it. To make matters even worse, the British never say ‘No’ to your face. Instead, they will use expressions such as ‘it’s a good idea, BUT…’ or ‘I don’t disagree’ (this means that they disagree, otherwise they would have said that they agree). The British will be guided by compromise and common sense.
I wonder how things will pan out. Divorce is traumatic, but I hope that, for the UK and the European Union, it will be an opportunity to build a new life. So what about you, what are your latest thoughts on Brexit?