In Chicago, AWN Editor Catches Up With ‘Economist’ Editor to Ask: What’s Up with ‘Brexit’?

Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor in chief of "The Economist," chats with audience members Oct. 4 right after her remarks on Brexit's prospects to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. (AWN photo)

ON THE SCENE / M. Samuel Anderson
AWN Editor

(See You Tube video link at the bottom for all of the speaker’s remarks and this AWN writer’s question at about 53:30 into the program)

CHICAGO, Ill.—Zanny Minton Beddoes, “The Economist” magazine’s editor in chief, spoke to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs about “Brexit” at a luncheon Oct. 4. The Chicago press, as usual, was silent on a noteworthy speaker addressing the CCGA.

However, this AWN writer–while other AWN staff covered recent Simcoe-North MP candidate forums in Orillia—attended the Chicago program to get a closer look at Britain’s more than three-year-old attempt to exit the European Union—a matter that certainly has a bearing on the U.S. and especially Canada, since the latter is an extension of “the Crown.”

Regarding Brexit—the June 2016 decision by British voters to leave the European Union—Minton-Beddoes offered insights into the complexities involved in the UK and EU separating after years of integrating their economies and legal systems. That integration started in the early 1970s when British citizens voted to join what was then the European Economic Community.

The CCGA’s interviewer, Brian Hanson, started by asking his guest: “Why is Brexit so hard?”

Minton Beddoes replied: “Thanks to the creation of the European Single Market, which the British championed and were the great driver for creating, British manufacturing is incredibly integrated [with the EU].”

She also cited the “enlargement of the EU”—which The Economist champions—as another factor, along with heavy immigration.

“We’ve had a huge number of people come [to the UK] from other countries . . . . Brexit is like having a divorce after several decades of marriage.”

Another thing that complicates Brexit, she said, is that “parliamentary sovereignty”—where elected Members of Parliament make the decisions—was “outsourced” to the people in the form of “direct democracy” via the Brexit referendum.

This happened because an “element within the Tory [conservative] party” has never been cozy with Britain being in the EU, and former Prime Minister David Cameron had to placate that element for political purposes.

That, in turn, opened the door for “a very large, disgruntled group of Britons to exercise a protest vote,” as Minton Beddoes characterized it.

The actual UK exit from the EU is supposed to happen Oct. 31. However, the British parliament is stipulating that if there’s no written agreement in place to guide the Brexit process by Oct. 19th, then an extension beyond Oct. 31 will be required. And that, Minton Beddoes said, could lead to parliament issuing a “vote of no confidence” in new Prime Minister Boris Johnson and force a second referendum that could overturn Brexit.

This writer asked Minton Beddoes whether the current UK-EU military union, which ties the UK to the EU in a hard-wired, prolonged fashion, could result in a Brexit that’s only on paper, but which cannot be fully consummated regardless of the people’s views.

She replied: “You’re right. In many areas, we will want to maintain those links and the Europeans will also want to maintain those links but that will have to be rebuilt.”

From there, her reply became a bit convoluted. That may be because The Economist, like most of the British and world press, is so overwhelmingly opposed to Brexit that the editors get a bit evasive when asked unusual questions.

At any rate, for that extension to be valid, all 27 EU members must grant it.  The only way around that, a move Johnson may be considering, is to influence at least one EU member to oppose the extension. But the pressure placed against any EU nation which might entertain that option would be “enormous,” Minton Beddoes added.

Notably, the CCGA has scores of such highly informative programs annually. The silence of the Chicago press is especially odd for the Tribune. The CCGA recently renamed its meeting facility at 130 E. Randolph Street the Robert R. McCormick Foundation Hall, after the Tribune’s famous former publisher, Col. Robert R. McCormick (shown in photo at left) What’s even more ironic is that McCormick was an ardent “America-firster” who would oppose the globalism the CCGA promotes.

McCormick (1880-1955) even owned his own Canadian paper mill for publishing the Chicago Tribune back in its heyday.

YOU TUBE VIDEO LINK HERE: Below is the entirety of Zanny Minton Beddoes’ remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The Oct. 4 program was “on the record.” AWN Editor Samuel “Mark” Anderson asks Beddoes a question around 53-minutes, 30 seconds into the video.