For those who remember New Year’s Eve 1999, there was far less celebration and far more trepidation. If you listened to the alarmists of the time, as the calendar flipped from Dec. 31, 1999 to Jan. 1, 2000, planes would instantaneously fall from the sky, computers would crash, people would be stuck in elevators, traffic lights would no longer be in sync and bank accounts would be catastrophically emptied. Bunkers were being built as safe havens, food and cash were being stockpiled and end-times preparations undertaken. We were warned the technological world as we then knew it would cease to exist and in essence, chaos and darkness would fall upon the globe.
Of course, thankfully, none of that happened.
Yet there was an entire year of predictions and hysteria as we all waited for that moment. The world collectively held its breath — and saw nothing of such dire consequence come to pass.
Similarly, listening to those who oppose Brexit the past three years, you would think the U.K. and Europe as we know it will instantaneously crumble on Feb. 1, 2020 if a full exit from the EU is implemented by the U.K. We’ve been told there will be food shortages, medicines will be unavailable, health care non-existent, longtime residents evicted, university students sent home and lines at the borders will effectively put a screeching halt on all travel between the U.K. and the rest of the EU nations — whether by air, train or car.
Much like the world spent the totality of 1999 preparing for Y2K, the whole of the U.K. and Europe is preparing for something that will ultimately happen in one form or another, but will not wreak the havoc we are told. Perhaps this is the U.K.’s Y2K moment. For them, and for the world, we certainly hope it is equally anti-climactic.
As the United Kingdom went to the polls just two weeks before Christmas, the sentiment globally was a shared one — can you please just sort out this Brexit situation so we can ALL move on?! Since 2016 the U.K., and in a lesser way, the world, has been in a holding pattern. Over three years ago the U.K. voted to leave the European Union and for the past three-plus years Parliament has been trying to prevent that from happening. Those sent to Parliament by the people were not implementing the will of the very people they were elected to serve. As the world watched and wondered, speculated and criticized, the U.K. continued to “hang their dirty laundry out” in public for the world to see — and cringe at — and sometimes even chuckle at.
In a bold move, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a general election to hopefully break the stalemate of the people vs. the Parliament. He knew he couldn’t get Parliament to budge, so he was hoping the voters would give them a nudge. On Dec. 9, just three days before the U.K. general election, Johnson released a parody of an iconic scene from the popular 2003 British movie “Love Actually” where he used a series of sign boards to make his final plea to the U.K. voters to put their confidence — and their vote — in him on Dec. 12. In the video, as he walks away he implores one final time, “Enough is Enough. Let’s Get This Done.”
And three days later the voters did just what he asked.
In spite of last-minute warnings that the polls were tightening and there was true fear of a Jeremy Corbyn led government, the voters turned out en masse to give Johnson a historic victory — and a huge majority in Parliament which will allow him to move forward with a true Brexit exit plan. And if Boris is truly brave, he will keep chipping away at the current agreement with the European Union and negotiate an even better deal which further favors the people of the U.K. and puts their priorities first. Leaning on the strength and momentum of a large conservative majority provides additional backing for all Boris has pledged to do. Let’s hope he fully flexes that muscle.
Jan. 1 will ring in more than the new year. it will also bring in long-awaited freedom for the United Kingdom once again. It will usher in the opportunity to once again control their own courts, laws, immigration, borders, trade agreements and fishing waters. If Boris can negotiate a better deal, they won’t have to say “Mother, May I?” to the EU powers that be for every little decision the U.K. wants to make. The freedom to create a bright future for the U.K. will once again rest squarely in their own hands.
Looking at the unprecedented economic growth in the United States over the past three years, the U.K. has a lot to look forward to as the alliance between our two nations and two leaders continues to strengthen and they find additional opportunities to trade, collaborate and align for mutual benefit. This partnership and friendship will be an example to the world that supranational bureaucracies like the EU are not needed in order to foster trade, cultural exchange, intelligence and security support and cultivate mutual success and prosperity.
Yes, of course, there will be hurdles to jump and obstacles to navigate as the U.K. leaves the EU early next year, but just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t the right and best thing to do. A few years from now, after the dust has settled on the road to British sovereignty, I trust the world will look back on the predictions of doom and catastrophe over Brexit with the same clarity and reality with which we now see Y2K.
A Happy New Year is wished to a nation that will once again be sovereign and independent, prosperous and successful, starting the moment they truly, and finally, exit. Cheers to our friends in the U.K. Here’s to 2020!
Peggy Grande (@Peggy_Grande) is the chair of World for Brexit and author of “The President Will See You Now: My Stories and Lessons from Ronald Reagan’s Final Years.” She was the executive assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1989–1999 and serves on the national board of the Royal Commonwealth Society of the USA.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.