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Brexit: compromise or chaos?

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LONDON - The saga of Brexit continues, stretching now possibly months ahead to the last permitted exit date of Oct. 31.

Is there any end in sight, with so many entrenched and differing views, both sides of the channel, in both major U.K. political parties and at every level of public opinion?

The answer for once is a cautious “yes.” As Parliament took a short break for Easter there was a distinct whiff of compromise in the air. It could yet blow away, but at least it is there and it is coming from all three of the key sources where there has to be movement for anything positive to happen — the U.K. official Labour Party opposition, the Conservative diehards with their 10 Irish allies (Prime Minister Theresa May’s precarious majority), and the European Union in Brussels itself.

No movement means, of course, stalemate. And stalemate means drifting on toward the United Kingdom exiting the EU with no deal at all, massive dislocation to business, trade and administration not just in Britain but throughout the whole integrated European system — a major amputation, if you like, without anesthetic.

It could also mean the U.K. being obliged to participate in the European parliamentary elections, due in late May — a further confusing disruption.

The logjam up to now has been dismally solid. It has all seemed to add up to a British Parliament that can decide nothing and agree nothing. But actually that is not quite correct. The Parliament has indeed agreed by a large majority on one positive view —........

© The Japan Times