TechnologyThese Brexit flowcharts show just how messy UK politics is
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Since the UK narrowly voted in June 2016 to depart the EU, many Britons have sought to make sense of all the convoluted ways Brexit could unfold.
Enter the flow charts. A cottage industry of them has cropped up in recent months and even years, to describe the dizzying array of Brexit outcome possibilities—spanning everything from votes on Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement in early 2019, repeated Brexit delays thereafter, another referendum, a general election, and much, much more.
One of the most well-known—and most comprehensive—Brexit diagram artists is Jon Worth, who publishes them on his personal blog. The latest, created after Boris Johnson became UK prime minister in July, features seven possible outcomes that can be reached after getting through a 10-plus-level decision tree.
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Former British finance minister Philip Hammond, who quit the government last week before Boris Johnson took over as prime minister, has held secret talks with the opposition Labour Party about how to stop a no-deal Brexit, a newspaper said. © Reuters/PETER NICHOLLS Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves Downing Street in London Hammond, who has long opposed leaving the European Union without a transition deal to soften the economic shock, met Labour's top Brexit official, Kier Starmer, shortly after he quit the government, the Observer said.
Overall, these Brexit charts range from professional-looking diagrams by media outlets, commentators, and government agencies, to, in some cases, non-linear cosmoses that move in a mystifying range of directions.
Been working on a flowchart to help (!) us understand what happens next week and beyond in Brexit. Anything I’ve missed? pic.twitter.com/S8dzYLkKvx
— Isabel Hardman (@IsabelHardman) August 31, 2019
Other charts eschew the digital route altogether. John Rentoul, chief political commentator for The Independent, has drafted hand-scrawled diagrams—featuring an understated “Complicated Bit.” A glue stick and Wite-Out have already been deployed for updates.
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Brexit flowchart pic.twitter.com/uTBsyApNV2
— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) September 3, 2019
The sheer complexity of Brexit, and the need to distill it to readers via flow charts, has also spawned many satirical charts to illustrate the messiness of it all.
Brexit. Explained. pic.twitter.com/6xIa1BSPXf
— Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) August 30, 2019
It’s also inspired tongue-in-cheek diagrams that make light of potentially very dire consequences, like the increasingly probable departure from the EU without a deal in place. On a pocketbook level alone, studies expect the average income for Britons would decline by up to nearly 9% over 10 years under such a scenario.
— pmcrek (@PiratesForIndy) September 3, 2019
The European Commission itself has jumped into the fray. Instead of a traditional flow chart, a descending staircase diagram (pdf) shows how the UK’s red lines lead not to a Norway-plus arrangement with the EU, but something more akin to Canada’s relationship with the bloc.
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Most of these diagrams chart all the mechanisms that lead to one of a handful of outcomes—Boris Johnson negotiating a new withdrawal agreement with the EU (unlikely), a no-deal departure, another delay, a general election, or a second referendum.
It’s a decisive week in the UK—parliament has resumed, and opposition MPs are expected to propose a bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit. There could be clarity about whether any of that materializes before parliament breaks next week until Oct. 14, otherwise there’s always flowcharters to rely on to show what lies ahead.
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"I worry desperately about what is going to happen next," Cameron said in an interview published Saturday. Parliament is currently suspended as part of an effort by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to force through his hardline Brexit plans. But Johnson, who has been accused of lying to the Queen in order to secure the suspension, has lost control of the process after suffering a series of defeats at the hands of rebel lawmakers. He faces an Oct. 31 deadline for leaving the E.U.
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