epa07290678 A handout video-grabbed still image from a video made available by UK parliament's parliamentary recording unit showing the MPs leaving to vote in the House of Commons in London, Britain, 16 January 2019. Britain's Prime Minister May is facing a confidence vote in parliament after she lost the The Meaningful Vote parliamentary vote on the EU withdrawal agreement on 15 January.  EPA/PARLIAMENTARY RECORDING UNIT HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT: PARLIAMENTARY RECORDING UNIT HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
MPs queuing to vote in the House of Commons last week after Theresa May faced a no-confidence motion. Parliamentary handout / EPA

Brexit is a crisis of timing, not direction



Metaphors about the British departure from the European Union often compare the process to a runaway train.

While all signals may be flashing "danger ahead", it does not follow that the tracks are set in the wrong direction. This is a crisis of timing, not direction. For that reason, a Brexit disaster on March 29 could yet be averted.

Ending the 46-year European project was never going to be easy. More than two years after the 2016 referendum backed leave, there is still no workable solution and instead, a paralysing crisis persists.

Little consideration has been given to the question of whether London is quitting at the right moment. The rapid integration the EU has experienced since the financial crisis a decade ago makes it difficult to withdraw until the political circumstances are right.

Reacting to its own problems in the eurozone, Brussels has extended its remit too far for the ever-sceptical Britons. The European regulations rolled out in recent years form a body of laws and practices that will be very difficult for newly independent lawmakers in London to unwind in any coherent way. Its influence over large parts of finance and services industries, where the British economy is strongest, is strongly entrenched.

The embedded nature of the integration of the British economy with Europe has bedevilled Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiations to leave. Pressure to keep car plants and other factories functioning without interruption led her to negotiate what could be dubbed a supply-chain Brexit.

Such was the focus on frictionless trade (not to mention the spectre of border issues in Ireland) that the politics of Mrs May’s deal were unacceptable to the huge majority of MPs when put to the House of Commons last Tuesday.

It is possible to argue that Brexit would have stood a better chance had the country waited just a few years.

Politics in the bigger countries of Europe are fragmenting rapidly. The long-standing left-right divide has shattered in Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

The imperative of sharing a single currency means that all these countries need to integrate yet further to align politics and the economy. The impediment to this lurch to a tight European core lies in a raft of countries that won’t sign up.

Even in the throes of Brexit, French President Emmanuel Macron has pushed unsuccessfully for a cohesive European future. He tried but failed to get the Germans to agree to a single European budget.

He has also promoted the idea of a single European defence initiative. To get that up and running will require not only alignment with Nato but also some partnership with Britain that cannot at the moment be easily defined.

The changing politics of European states makes it hard to define which countries will be inside and which will baulk. There are countries like Poland and Hungary where the ruling parties would dearly like to have more autonomy and that list is bound to grow. Add to these other states that are not in the EU, such as Switzerland and Norway, and a two-tier framework could yet come into view.

Brexit came at an inconvenient and unplanned moment in the slow-moving breakdown. The trauma of rejection for Europeans left little bandwidth to rise to the challenge of a well-managed Brexit. The shock on the British side is well-documented and left Westminster aiming for the narrowest possible bridge to a new future.

The moment of truth is now at hand and the chances of halting Brexit at the 11th hour is sharpening the debate.

One reason for pause is a second vote on the whole Brexit process. This initiative has powerful backers and a slick campaign behind it but makes no sense. It is a proposal without clear purpose. It would either plunge Britain into an immediate withdrawal on very bad terms or maintain British membership as if nothing had happened.

The effect on British politics in either outcome would be catastrophic and a second referendum result would not stand the test of time.

Exercising the right to withdraw the notice to leave the EU and cancel the current flawed approach to a negotiated departure can still work.

Westminster would regain control over a situation that spiralled into chaos for no real reason. Europe would gain from the move by showing that stability and strategic thinking remain the continent's strongest assets. It was in that spirit that German leaders wrote in a letter to the Times newspaper on Friday, telling the British people they would be missed if they left the European Union.

To put the sentiment into action, it is necessary to hit the emergency brake on the Brexit train. Solutions await just a little further down the track.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

'Will of the People'

Artist: Muse
Label: Warner
Rating: 2.5/5

Mica

Director: Ismael Ferroukhi

Stars: Zakaria Inan, Sabrina Ouazani

3 stars

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: N2 Technology

Founded: 2018

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Startups

Size: 14

Funding: $1.7m from HNIs

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

GOODBYE JULIA

Director: Mohamed Kordofani

Starring: Siran Riak, Eiman Yousif, Nazar Goma

Rating: 5/5

Race card:

6.30pm: Maiden; Dh165,000; 2,000m

7.05pm: Handicap; Dh165,000; 2,200m

7.40pm: Conditions; Dh240,000; 1,600m

8.15pm: Handicap; Dh190,000; 2,000m

8.50pm: The Garhoud Sprint Listed; Dh265,000; 1,200m

9.25pm: Handicap; Dh170,000; 1,600m

10pm: Handicap; Dh190,000; 1,400m

EA Sports FC 24

Developer: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Publisher: EA Sports
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 3.5/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

Profile

Name: Carzaty

Founders: Marwan Chaar and Hassan Jaffar

Launched: 2017

Employees: 22

Based: Dubai and Muscat

Sector: Automobile retail

Funding to date: $5.5 million


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos