In one of the several low points of her stunningly inept general election campaign, Theresa May warned that Jeremy Corbyn would be “alone and naked” in the Brexit negotiating chamber. This week, though, it is Mrs May herself who has been revealed as Brexit’s empress with no clothes. Everything about her performance in Brussels over the last two days has underlined both the larger national tragedy of Britain’s decision to leave the EU and the deepening personal failure of Mrs May’s attempts to deliver it.
The post-Brexit future of EU citizens in this country, and of our citizens in the EU are widespread concerns across our continent. The uncertainty reaches into thousands of homes and affects millions of lives, especially of young people. Mrs May’s insensitive handling of it is both characteristic and a glumly indicative example of a wider Brexit problem that stretches to every horizon.
Britain’s decision to leave the EU was lamentable when it was taken. It remains lamentable now. If it is ever carried out, it will still be lamentable in the future. That is not going to change.
……… The Guardian
What a paradoxical story we shall tell our grandchildren about Brexit. The little ones will climb on our knee and we will recall how we bravely seized our independence from hated Brussels, only to destroy our country. Their infant brows will furrow in confusion when we tell them that in order to make Britain great again, we smashed it to pieces.
Was this some kind of terrible accident, they will ask. And we will have to say no, this was deliberate. Our leaders thought escaping the European Union was so vital it was worth shattering the deeper, closer union that had defined our country for more than three centuries. So great was their professed patriotism that they had to break the thing they loved.
May’s eagerness to be the first foreign leader to shake that short-fingered hand, the scramble to catch up with Nigel Farage and Michael Gove, gave off a strong whiff of desperation.
Trump managed to get through it without insulting an entire ethnic group, trashing a democratic norm or declaring war, any of which might have diverted attention from May’s big moment. He was on best behaviour, diligently reading the script that had been written for him, attesting to the “deep bond” that connects Britain and the US. May received all the assurances she craved that her country’s relationship with the US remains “special”.
However, these are not normal times. May and her team will be pleased with the optics and indeed some of the substance – artfully, May got Trump to confirm, on camera, that he is “100% behind Nato” – but the underlying truth is that this dash to Washington was mortifying.
Desperation is a scent Trump understands. What he lacks in book smarts, he makes up for in alpha male gamesmanship. His lifelong training was in real estate, an area in which there is rarely such thing as a win-win deal: the more you get, the more I pay.
He will have seen May as that most desperate of creatures: the housebuyer who rashly sold her old house before she had found a new one. Having tossed away Britain’s keys to the European single market, she will soon be homeless – and Trump knows it. For all the niceties – May’s shrewd deployment of a royal invitation for a state visit and her compliment to the president on his “stunning election victory”, flattery which saw Trump glow a brighter shade of orange – he will have seen May as a sucker who needs to make a deal. And he will look forward to naming his price.
Hold off the jibes and sighs over how much poorer Brexit Britain will be. Forget about the mendacity and slipperiness of Boris ’n’ Nigel. In the six months since the referendum these have been the clever arguments to make, the ones that fill the sophisticated newspapers and BBC discussions. But none answer the far simpler and much harder question: then what? What happens when 17 million people get the feeling they’ve been cheated?
That will be the most profound question in British politics, not just in 2017 but for many years to come. As the broken promises of Brexit pile up one on top of the other, so that they are visible from Sunderland, from Great Yarmouth, from Newport, what will the leave voters do then?
David Cameron’s chancer-like gamble, taken for tactical internal party-management reasons, turned out to be the worst political mistake made by any British prime minister in my lifetime.
Theresa May’s government has no strategy, and leading Brexiters do not agree among themselves.
Many of the people who were misled by the Brexit propaganda, indeed by the Brexiters’ outright lies, during the referendum campaign reportedly voted to stop payments to the EU and reduce migration from the EU – migration, by the way, which in every year since we joined the union in 1973 has been less than inward migration from outside the EU.
Three-quarters of Labour supporters voted Remain. When the seriousness of the prospective damage from Brexit becomes more apparent – almost certainly hitting the very people who felt “left out” and ignored by the so-called “metropolitan elite” – Labour may summon the courage to be more forthright about the folly of Brexit.
In a country polarized and paralyzed, an unchecked authoritarian right-wing populism, Trumpism without Trump, is coming to define the political culture.
David Bowie died, and it was all downhill from there. That’s how 2016 felt if you were on the losing side of Britain’s referendum on membership in the European Union.
Post-Brexit Britain is now mired in crisis. The ruling Conservative government, lacking any coherent plan for leaving the union, is embroiled in a bitter legal fight over the process, while a divided opposition contemplates the disintegration of its electoral coalition.
New York Times
The age of such drab characters as Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron is over. No more, it appears, must we suffer leaders equipped with a brain and a sense of the common interest. The hour of the political clown has come.
In a few short weeks, Boris Johnson, the former journalist, for whom facts were never an obstacle likely to get in the way of a good story, has succeeded in squandering what little sympathy and understanding was left in Europe for a Great Britain embroiled in the mess of this referendum.
It will be a “hard Brexit” not because that is what Theresa May wants, but because her future ex-partners consider they have no choice faced with a Great Britain so resolutely indecisive.
If you want something from someone, it is generally wiser to avoid telling them they are an idiot.
Thatcher II Has Arrived.
The combined impact of welfare cuts will leave struggling working families – the “just about managing” households Theresa May has vowed to help – worse off by more than £2,500 a year by 2020, according to research published days before her government’s first autumn statement.
A study of 187,000 households across the UK found that policies including cuts to universal credit and the four-year benefit rate freeze, coupled with rising rents and higher inflation, would see low-income working families typically lose £48.90 a week by the end of the decade.
The findings have alarmed councils and charities worried that the growing financial burden on low-income families will raise poverty and homelessness levels.
Why on earth would I want a German passport? My feelings about Germany were pretty negative for the best part of 50 years. Most of my mother’s family, from Heilbronn in southern Germany, perished. Some of my father’s family perished too, including his beloved grandmother.
I have felt enormous admiration for Chancellor Angela Merkel, for her open arms to the refugees from Syria and elsewhere, which is in deep contrast to the meanness shown by our own government – with the enormous effort needed even to persuade it to take a few hundred children from Calais.
Britain took 10,000 Kindertransport children before the second world war, and many others, my mother included. Why could we not do the same now?
Evoluntionary biologist Richard Dawkins has reacted to Donald Trump’s shock election victory by urging his fellow scientists to move to New Zealand.
“There are top scientists in America and Britain – talented, creative people, desperate to escape the redneck bigotry of their home countries. Dear New Zealand, you are a deeply civilized small nation, with a low population in a pair of beautiful, spacious islands. You care about climate change, the future of the planet and other scientifically important issues.
Science in the UK and US will be hit extremely hard: in the one case, by the xenophobically inspired severing of painstakingly built-up relationships with European partners; in the other case by the election of an unqualified, narcissistic, misogynistic sick joke as president. In neither case is the disaster going to be short-lived: in America because of the non-retirement rule of the Supreme Court; in Britain because Brexit is irreversible.
The contribution that creative intellectuals can make to the prosperity and cultural life of a nation is out of all proportion to their numbers. You could make New Zealand the Athens of the modern world. Why not write to all the Nobel Prize winners in Britain and America, write to the Fields medalists, Kyoto and Crafoord Prize and International Cosmos Prize winners, the Fellows of the Royal Society, the elite scientists in the National Academy of Sciences, the Fellows of the British Academy and similar bodies in America. Offer them citizenship,”
The Brexit-supporting press has mounted a vicious assault on the three high court judges who ruled in the article 50 case and it has undermined our constitution in the process. The government appears to be fuelling this attack. Sajid Javid, the local government secretary, described the judges as seeking to “thwart the will of the people”.
The judiciary is a pillar of our constitution. Allow faith in the judges to be eroded and that pillar is eroded at a huge cost to our freedoms.
According to recent data, the number of British Jews applying for German citizenship has gone up exponentially this year.
What’s striking about this phenomenon is that it involves Britons whose ancestors desperately fled Nazi rule in Germany and Austria in the 1930s.
They grew up with the memory of their parents’ or grandparents’ traumatic uprooting, the loss of loved ones in the Holocaust and the bitter struggle for acceptance in a British society that reluctantly opened its doors to Jewish refugees before the start of World War II.
Their ancestors were stripped of their German citizenship by the Third Reich; in the years after the defeat of the Nazis, the German government made it possible for the descendants of these refugees to have their citizenship reinstated.
The aftermath of the Brexit referendum has seen a spike in hate crimes and bigotry in Britain, particularly aimed at the country’s diverse mix of immigrant communities.
“It’s blame the foreigners.”
In these conditions of uncertainty, the exchange rate has collapsed. But the scale of the decline has been greater than anyone had predicted. Sterling has fallen sharply against the US$ to a level not seen since the 1980s and there have been similarly sharp falls against the euro. In these cases there are now predictions that the rates may fall to parity within the next few months. The overall effect of depreciation on this scale is to reduce real national income and overall living standards – the cost of imports is increased and export prices are lowered.
For many years the UK has been running a deficit on its current account. In the second quarter of 2016 this was no less than 5.9% of GDP and deficits on this scale have been common for many years. Of course, a country can only continue to run a large current account deficit if it either has large foreign exchange reserves – the UK doesn’t – or else it borrows extensively overseas. Social Europe
How do you take your Brexit? Soft or hard? Quick or slow? It might all seem semantics but for the UK and Europe it is the £1.1tn question. That is the amount banks based in the UK are lending to the companies and governments of the EU27, keeping the continent afloat financially. The free trade in financial services that crosses the Channel each year, helping customers and boosting the economies in the UK and Europe, is worth more than £20bn.
Brexit means Brexit and we are all Brexiters now. But if we get it wrong, that £20bn trade in financial services is at risk. The Guardian
Senior judges will hear claims that the government cannot trigger article 50 without parliamentary approval.
Scores of QCs and lawyers will cram into court four on Thursday, the largest in London’s Royal Courts of Justice, to hear two and a half days of argument that could decide how – or conceivably even whether – the UK leaves the EU. The Guardian
Parts of Theresa May’s speech were however very ‘Keynesian’.
“People with assets have got richer. People without them have suffered. People with mortgages have found their debts cheaper. People with savings have found themselves poorer. A change has got to come. And we are going to deliver it.”
Earlier in the week Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed the Government would also ditch Mr Osborne’s target of balancing the budget by 2020 – a symbol of the austerity era – adding that he was instead willing to borrow more to invest in infrastructure.
The shift in economic policy dovetailed with the broader message of her speech, in which she pledged a more interventionist Government and put big business and the rich “on warning” that she would chase them if they broke rules. The Independent
Balancing the budget a symbol of the Austerity era? Does that imply that the Austerity era is over, at least in Britain? I am very suspicious.
We’ll ride Brexit with extra spending, says Philip Hammond.
With more Corporate Welfare, yes Socialism, from the peoples meager pockets. Tax cuts for the rich too I bet.
Deficit Spending? YES, Deficit Spending! The Independent
European diplomats are increasingly convinced the UK will sever economic ties with the continent when it leaves the European Union, as hopes of a special partnership languish.
The UK is on the path to “hard Brexit”, namely giving up membership of the EU single market, as well as the customs union that allows free circulation of goods. The Guardian
Britain still faces a “challenging period of uncertainty and adjustment” in the wake of the Brexit vote, the Bank of England has warned in a wake-up call to those who are arguing that the worst is over. The Independent