The Atlantic

The Brexit Election That Wasn't

It was supposed to be about leaving the EU. But then something changed.
Source: Andrew Yates / Reuters

At the heart of Britain’s election, there is an absence. In a campaign which has been knocked sideways by terrorist violence, cack-handed U.S. presidential interventions, and some extraordinary acts of political self-harm, it is the one true constant: No one says anything meaningful about Brexit.

From outside the U.K., it seems absurd. In under two years’ time, unless the government can secure a transitional arrangement, the country will drop out the European Union without a deal. And then things get really messy.

Customs stations and hard borders would suddenly spring up in areas which haven't had them for decades, including Ireland. Brexit would detonate like a bomb on the global trading network. No regulators would have been set up to replace the EU ones, triggering chaos across markets, from pharmaceuticals to aviation. It’s not even clear that

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