Parliament is broken, we say in India. These days they say it more often in fair Britain, now looking distinctly less so. This week’s goings-on have left sober Britons scratching their heads to remember when they had last fallen so low, crying like Viola, what country, friends, is this? In monumental humiliation, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated by 230 votes. She then scraped through a no-confidence vote. There are zero expectations of a better blueprint from opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, currently basking in schadenfreude, but otherwise wedded to socialism rather than solutions.
The original sin was a Brexit referendum marred by outright deception as well as breathtaking ignorance, with several Brits frenetically Googling what the EU was hours after voting to leave it. They went down a rabbit hole like Alice, never considering how to get out again. This has been a rude awakening back in desh as well, for everyone who has envied the erstwhile colonial masters their enlightened electorate or dependable leaders. Our netas, no matter how much they blunder, have a reputation for never apologising, let alone resigning. May is clinging to the PM’s chair even after over a third of her own party voted against the Brexit deal. She has gotten herself Indian-style thick skin.
One thing she is right about: while the vote made it clear the House does not support the Brexit deal it said nothing at all about what it does support. Just chanting no no no is familiar in India – it’s what Indian opposition parties habitually do. One possibility that has opened up is a hard Brexit, which could lead to Scotland and/or Northern Ireland exiting the UK itself. Thus Brexit may accomplish a dis-United Kingdom, less than a century after the brutal partition of India. What goes around comes around.