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Britain's hour of destiny

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13.01.2019

Probably there aren't too many delegates in the British House of Commons who don't feel haunted by the breath of history prior to this historical vote. The outcome of the ballot will impact the United Kingdom for many decades: Its economic future is at stake, as are Britain's image across the world, the coexistence of generations and interaction with immigrants.

Currently it appears the prime minister will suffer a bitter defeat, and it would be well-deserved. The Brexit deal — the agreement on Britain's withdrawal from the EU — has many shortfalls compared with initial promises made by Brexit advocates to their supporters. Agreed, in a couple of years, Britain will be able to make the choice on which immigrants from the EU are allowed to enter the country, and it will actually leave the EU's institutions. But Brexit will also have considerable negative effects on economic growth. There can be no question of billions' worth of savings, pledged by Brexit promoters, which could then be added to the health care system budget. A sovereign post-Brexit UK — a land of milk and honey — remains a product of imagination.

Moral compass lost

Theresa May has made many mistakes. For a long time, she kept silent about the economic consequences of a withdrawal from the EU. In addition, she was never honest about the fact that Britain has to broker compromises with the EU, in order to prevent a very painful exit from the bloc at the end of March. Instead of building bridges, which includes approaching other political parties, she deepened the divisions in the country: Her labeling of those who see themselves as mobile world citizens as "citizens of nowhere" — a term clearly referring to Britain's pro-Europeans — perturbed many.

Birgit Maass is DW's correspondent in London

Her sense of duty and her fierce determination commanded respect even........

© Deutsche Welle