English Conversation Lessons: Theresa Mays Brexit Disaster
Summary: "Listen & Learn" Through English Conversation Lessons
To help you learn to speak English, Adept English uses a learning method based on listening to English conversation lessons. We call this method “Listen & Learn” and it involves listening to English conversations, spoken by a native English speaker, many times.
By repeating your listening of everyday English you are training your brain to identify common English vocabulary and phrases automatically. When you listen to the conversation, many times your brain will recognise the importance of the sounds your brain hears and store them in your long-term memory.
The biggest problem with this approach is you and just about everyone else will get bored listening to traditional English lessons over and over. So the Adept English team design the audio English conversation lessons to be about interesting topics.
This week's topic is about Brexit. Specifically, how the United Kingdom (UK) will leave its membership of the European Union (EU).
Audio Transcript: English conversation lessons: Theresa Mays Brexit Disaster
Hi there, and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Monday podcast, so it’s the longer one of the two weekly podcasts. If you’re learning English, then this is really good material for you to listen to. If you want to be fluent in English, remember that you have to hear a lot of spoken English before you will be able to speak the language well. Listening to English means that you will gradually start to be able to understand English better. But not only that, even better - your spoken English will just become much more fluent too!
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So there’s a saying in English ‘We live in interesting times’. That means that we live in a time where a lot happens very quickly. There is a sense in that phrase that we don’t know what‘s coming next, we don’t know what’s going to happen. And ‘We live in interesting times’ is certainly true of British politics at the moment.
I take quite an interest in politics – though I don’t have time to read a lot because I’m too busy with my work. But I watch certain programmes on the television, and I listen regularly to the news. And I like to read one of the British Sunday newspapers for more in-depth information. That’s a nice British pastime – relaxing on a Sunday with the newspaper. It’s the only day of the week where there’s time for me to read the paper.
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So of course, a lot of attention at the moment is focused on Brexit. If you live in one of the countries in the European Union, then you will be hearing about Brexit on your television news too. Endless stories about Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier. The vote took place in 2016, so Brexit has been something people have been talking about for a long time now.
The verb ‘to vote’ means of course when you give your answer about a political issue. All the people over 18 are given a chance to give their answer on a question. So here in 2016, we voted ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ about whether we felt that Britain should leave the European Union. And if you watch the news, you’ll know that there have been deep divisions in the country. People really are still divided – that’s means split – between Remainers, those who wanted to remain – and Leavers, those who wanted to leave. But now there are even divisions between those two sides.
One might hope that as the negotiations with Europe have come to an end and Theresa May’s deal with Europe has been signed off and agreed by all the 27 countries in the EU – you might think that we were starting to unite, to come together as a country. But certainly not! The divisions over Brexit are even deeper, if anything. There are now even more different opinions. The word ‘deal’ by the way, D-E-A-L means [a] similar thing to ‘agreement’. It’s what we’re gonna get – is ‘the deal’.
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The British government, the members of the UK parliament, are the ones who will decide whether Theresa May’s deal is something that they’re going to accept. ‘Theresa May’s deal’ means her agreement, the agreement that she’s arrived at with the EU. But this deal has not been agreed yet by the British parliament. And everyone is saying at the moment that it won’t be, it will get voted down in parliament. So the MPs will vote against it. This vote is happening on December 11th. So whatever happens, it won’t be long before the Christmas break. And then in January, when we all come back to work and parliament starts again, there will be only three months until the date that we are due to leave the EU – that’s the 29th March 2019.
So this means that the MPs, the politicians are agreed on something. Most are going to vote against Theresa May’s deal. But this doesn’t mean that they agree on anything else. There are those people who would be very happy to see a ‘No deal’ scenario. These people think that the UK would be better off without any special agreement with the EU and ‘No deal’ just means that we would trade with Europe without any special arrangements. And the UK would be free to negotiate trade with other countries in the world. It would also mean that the UK probably didn’t have to pay 40 billion Euros – so that might make a difference.
The government and lots of senior economists however, have warned that this would be ‘disaster’ for the UK. A ‘disaster’ is a very bad happening. So they give terrible economic forecasts and warnings. But they did this before the Brexit vote and those predictions haven’t come true, so people don’t necessarily believe them now. The first person to be ‘chief negotiator’ for the UK was a man called David Davies. ‘Chief negotiator’ means he was the first person from the UK or the most important person from the UK, discussing Brexit with the Europeans. David Davies famously said ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’. And this is what a lot of British people who voted Leave also think.
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There are those people who support Theresa May’s deal. It started off being called ‘The Chequers Deal’, but this was rejected and the agreement is now is referred to as ‘The Prime Minister’s Deal’. I wonder if this means that if it’s rejected by parliament, it’s poor old Theresa May who may find herself resigning because of it. Let’s wait and see. Maybe it’ll be December 11th or maybe she will resign on December 12th, the day after the vote? A bit like David Cameron resigning after the Brexit vote. ‘To resign’ means to say that you’re not doing the job any more.
Anyway, there are some who support the deal, but not many of them. The overwhelming feeling is that it will be voted down. So why don’t they like it? Well, first of all there is what is called ‘the backstop’. The ‘backstop’ means extending our period of being half-in the EU and half-out of the EU. This is intended to ease the possible problems with trade and give longer to sort out the difficulties with the Northern and Southern Irish border. But during that period we still have to pay the EU, but we don’t actually get to vote on anything that the EU does – so we don’t have any power. And even worse, when the back stop comes to an end, we have to have the permission of the other EU countries before we can actually leave in the end.
So it’s not really an agreement either. It’s just a group of suggestions of what might happen. Nothing is fixed or guaranteed. There’s a saying in English ‘to kick the can down the road’. Kicking the can down the road just means that you put off a problem for tomorrow, you say ‘I’ll deal with it later’. Effectively, this is what this agreement between Theresa May and the EU does. It’s not precise and it leaves many things still to be decided, which would put the UK in a weakened position. So if the advantage of being outside of the EU, is that we are again ‘in control’ as some people say, this agreement doesn’t give that. On top of this, the Irish MPs, members of the DUP party, who promised to support the government – well they don’t like what Theresa May has agreed so far about the border in Ireland, so they’re not going to support it either.
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So as Donald Trump commented - ‘It looks like a good deal for the EU’. It doesn’t look like a good deal for the UK. So obviously lots of people who voted to Leave the EU, don’t like this deal. And most of those who voted remain don’t like this deal either. So some people are asking for ‘a Peoples’ Vote’. They mean for us to have another vote on whether we want to leave or not. This sounds pretty unlikely to happen at the moment to me. There’s not enough time, surely? And because we’ve started the legal process of leaving – we call this ‘triggering article 50’ - then we can’t legally remain in the EU after March 29th, can we? So it’s not sure that this kind of vote would mean anything, even if the answer was different this time, which it may well not be! Previously most of the people who wanted to have a second vote, a second referendum were usually people who [had] voted Remain and hoped that it would give a different result. But also people who want to leave are suggesting a second vote is a good idea, because we can just make absolutely sure what direction to go in then.
Other people are saying that if Theresa May’s deal is voted down, is rejected by parliament, she’s got to go back to Brussels to try to negotiate another deal, a better one! But I don’t think this idea is going to go down well with the negotiators. I don’t think Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker are going to think much of this. They will say ‘But we already have negotiated and signed off a deal. Why are you coming back? There is nothing to talk about’.
There has been talk of a leadership challenge – the idea that Theresa May might be voted out as leader of her party. And there’s talk, of course, of her resigning if her deal is rejected. But lots of people are also calling for a general election. That means a vote to decide on the whole government. Again I think that’s unrealistic! The last thing we need is more change. There’s saying in English ‘Don’t rock the boat’ - meaning don’t upset things, don’t cause uncertainty. If you ‘rock a boat’, it means that you make it move too much in the water – it could sink! And I think the boat is rocking already too much in the UK – we don’t need a general election as well!
So ‘we live in interesting times’. At least it’s got people interested in politics again in the UK. Sometimes people here are not very interested or too polite to talk about politics. I imagine if you live in Europe, it makes an interesting thing to watch. And of course, people in Europe are interested in what happens to the UK and Brexit, because if their country ever wanted to leave the EU, they get to see what happens to us first. I think that’s why the EU are unlikely to be any kinder to us or unlikely to agree a different deal. They don’t want other countries leaving like the UK. But, I might be wrong. It’s really hard to predict. Let’s wait and see!
Anyway, enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
PS: You Need To Listen To This Conversation Many Times Before You “Listen & Learn”
For some people this may well be the first listen & learn English podcast you have heard. You should know this is a Monday conversation lesson and we make the Monday lessons longer and slightly more difficult than the Thursday podcast lessons.
If you found this lesson a little difficult to follow then please try the Thursday one here and see if that makes things a little easier.
Although this lesson was about Brexit. One reason the Adept English approach to learning to speak English works so well. Is that 80% of the most common English language, used in everyday English conversation, gets included in the English conversation lessons you listen to.
So you might listen to something about the “English Weather” or maybe "Green Cake” or “Brexit” and every single lesson contains common English language phrases, idioms and vocabulary you will need to speak English fluently.