(In)Decision Time In The UK?

(In)Decision Time In The UK?

Today, the British parliament will finally decide whether to support or reject the EU-exit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May's government has painstakingly negotiated with the European Union.


If it feels like we've been here before – we have. Last month, May postponed this very vote after it became clear that her plan was headed for defeat.

Since then she has weathered a Tory Party no-confidence vote, but there's little to suggest that her deal – which is too moderate for hardline Brexit supporters while also being too far-reaching for Brexit opponents – has any better prospects this time around.

Roughly 100 members of her own Tory Party are rumored still to oppose it. But if the UK hurtles out of the EU on 29 March without a deal, the economic effects on both sides of the English Channel could be severe. The clock is ticking.

So if May's deal is crushed today, as it looks like it will be, what would come next? There are four main scenarios:

Extend and Renegotiate May has begun preparing the groundwork to extend the Brexit timeline beyond March 29 and tweak the deal further. Would the EU agree to such a request? Growing political troubles in France and Germany have made the continent warier of allowing a "no-deal" Brexit, meaning that European leaders might soften their earlier resistance to reopening negotiations. But even if Brussels were to approve an extension, Mrs. May would still be stuck with a domestic quandary: with her Tory Party split over Brexit, she would face pressure to try and peel off votes from the opposition Labour Party in order to win approval at home for any new deal.

A Second Referendum A defeat today would bolster calls for a second Brexit referendum. While May has ruled out such a vote, many within her Tory Party believe it's the only way to clarify what Britons really want from Brexit. This path has its fair share of landmines though: who, for example, gets to decide what specific question is presented to British voters in a second go-around? How would the result affect the current Brexit timeline? And after a majority of British voters (with large turnout) supported Brexit in 2016, would a do-over undermine trust in UK democracy?

Early elections If May's deal is buried today, the Labour Party plans to immediately put forth a parliamentary vote of no confidence to topple her government. May probably has enough support to defeat it, but a successful no confidence motion would trigger new elections. That would upend negotiations with the EU entirely and could even lead to a Labour government that would likely favor closer economic ties with the common bloc than what Mrs. May has negotiated.

A "No-Deal" Brexit If the UK and EU are unable to come to a solution before the March 29 deadline at all, and the EU is unwilling to offer the UK more time, Britain would then leave the EU without a comprehensive deal governing future economic relations. Both sides want to avoid this outcome, but the closer we get to 29 March, the more likely it looks.

The bottom line: The size of May's loss today will tell us whether she can sustain enough support to negotiate a new deal or if instead we're heading for a more tumultuous end to the Brexit drama.

Each month, Microsoft receives about 6,500 complaints from people who've been victims of tech support scams. But it's not just Microsoft's brand that the scammers leverage; fraudsters have pretended to be from a number of other reputable tech companies and service providers. These scams will remain an industry-wide challenge until sufficient people are educated about how they work and how to avoid them.

To measure the scope of this problem globally, Microsoft commissioned YouGov for a new 2021 survey across 16 countries. Results from the 2021 survey reveal that, globally, fewer consumers have been exposed to tech support scams as compared to the 2018 survey. However, those people who continued with the interaction were more likely to have lost money to the scammers than we saw in our previous survey. To read the highlights of the survey, visit Microsoft on the Issues.

Next week, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner who is ideologically and personally close to Iran's 82 year-old supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will be inaugurated as Iran's president. This power transition comes as the country experiences a fresh wave of protests that started in Iran's southwest over water shortages earlier this month and has since spilled over into dozens of provinces.

Some close observers of Iranian society and politics say that popular discontent there is now more widespread than it has been in years, making the Iranian regime more vulnerable than ever.

More Show less

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

QR codes are everywhere. Are they also tracking my personal data?

Well, a QR code is like a complex barcode that may be on a printed ad or product package for you to scan and access more information. For example, to look at a menu without health risk or for two-factor verification of a bank payment. And now also as an integral part of covid and vaccine registration. QR codes can lead to tracking metadata or personal data. And when your phone scans and takes you to a website, certainly the tracking starts there. Now, one big trap is that people may not distinguish one kind of use of QR codes from another and that they cannot be aware of the risks of sharing their data.

More Show less

Was the world so focused on climate change that warning signs about the COVID-19 pandemic were missed? Historian and author Niall Ferguson argues that, while the climate crisis poses a long-term threat to humanity, other potential catastrophes are much more dangerous in the near future. "We took our eye off that ball," Ferguson says about COVID, "despite numerous warnings, because global climate change has become the issue that Greta Thunberg said, would bring the end of the world. But the point I'm making in DOOM [his new book] is that we can end the world and a lot of other ways, much faster." Ferguson spoke with Ian Bremmer in an interview for GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Predictable disaster and the surprising history of shocks

Tunisia, the only country that emerged a democracy from the Arab Spring, is now in the middle of its worst political crisis since it got rid of former autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali over a decade ago.

On Sunday, the 64th anniversary of the country's independence from France, President Kais Saied responded to widespread protests over the ailing economy and COVID by firing embattled Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspending parliament for 30 days. Troops have surrounded the legislature, where rival crowds faced off on Monday, with one side chanting in support of the move and the other denouncing it as a coup.

How did we get here, do we even know who's really in charge, and what might come next?

More Show less

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

As COVID-19 cases rise, are vaccine mandates coming?

Oh, you just want to get me in more trouble. Yeah, some mandates are coming, but they're not national mandates in the United States. In some cases, you're looking at federal and state employees, in some cases you're looking at lots of individual corporations, universities, and such. I mean I've already been to a number of events where vaccines have been mandated in New York. You've got this Excelsior Pass if you want to go to the Brooklyn Nets games, as I certainly do. You show it off and that gets you in with your vaccine. So I think it's really going to be a decentralized process. But clearly, given Delta variant and the number of people that are getting sick and dying because they're not vaccinated, you're going to see moves towards more mandates, as a consequence.

More Show less

Castillo takes over in Peru: After almost two months of protests, baseless allegations of fraud from his rival in the runoff election, and even rumblings of a coup, Pedro Castillo will be sworn in as president of Peru on Wednesday. A former rural school-teacher famous for riding on horseback, wearing a cowboy hat and waving a giant pencil to show how much he cares about education, Castillo has big plans to achieve big change. But he won by just a razor-thin margin in a deeply divided country, and Peru's dysfunctional political system will likely hobble his attempts to get major legislation passed. Moreover, despite having moderated his positions, half of the country still sees him as a communist who might turn Peru into another Venezuela. Castillo's most immediate task is dealing with the twin crises of a deadly pandemic and a COVID-fueled economic crisis that has hit poor Peruvians — his base — the hardest.

More Show less

13: The two Koreas have restored their communication hotline almost 13 months after Pyongyang abruptly cut it in response to Seoul not doing enough to prevent North Korean defectors from sending propaganda leaflets across the shared border. The hotline was established in 2018 following a historic meeting between North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal