You could not make up the UK’s current political circus with cross party resignations and accusation galore. The media are competing with rumour and speculative prediction. The fact is no one was prepared for this result and no one yet knows what is going to happen. Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor were completely oblivious to the build-up of anti-austerity sentiment and the “punishment” budget nailed it for the undecided voter.
Leavers are being portrayed by the well-off Remainersas nostalgic baby boomers and geriatrics, reminiscing for Bisto and life in the Hovis village; when the truth is that Remainers are the affluent elite society, employed by blue chip corporations. They are a huge hegemonic community with large self-interests. After the financial crisis of 2008, the Leavers were not satisfied that the bankers and financial institutions had got their just deserts and the EU referendum provided an opportunity to express their frustration with the establishment. Anti-EU feeling began with the Maastrichts Treaty in 1992; this continued to exacerbate until when in 1996 Sir James Goldsmith founded the first single issue party in UK, The Referendum Party,which called for a referendum on aspects of the UK’s relationship with the EU. Since then, successive leaders have turned a tin ear to Euro-scepticism. The referendum only happened last week thanks to the courage of David Cameron, lest we forget it was the promise on which he got elected for a second term.
In his 1993 book, The Trap, Goldsmith forecast today’ condition; he opposed the Maastricht Treaty on the basis of its homogenous principles that would ultimately abandon nationality and sovereignty. He believed we are in an age where ruling elites seek to destroy national identity, which is exactly what nations are searching for today. Golsmith wrote the EU was an unnatural and unsustainable political structure that presided over an artificial union; saying it is a typical Western construct that traps a variety of people with no common culture, sense of identity, heritage or traditional roots in a straight-jacket. He believed in a decentralised and participatory democracy, pretty much the Leavers’ argument.
The EU Commissioners and Council have been arrogant and intransigent making their domain irrelevant to ordinary people. Allegedly 10,000 EU folk in Brussels earn more than the British Prime Minister. So far Angela Merkel has been exemplary in her response to Brexit; she has shown measured understanding and patience.The reality is nothing is going to change within EU trading partnerships in a hurry; the status quo remains intact pro-tem. In the event of Brexit, everyone knew markets would be volatile but at least the Bank of England was prepared. Experts say markets will settle and introduce new opportunities in and for emerging markets, as trade is global and international in this 21st century.
A quick look at the CIA’s World Factbook, which compares public debt with the cumulative total of all governments borrowings less repayments that are denominated in a country’s home currency, shows how unhealthy some EU economies are: Third is Greece with 171, 30 as % of GDP. Fifth is Italy with 135.80%. Sixth is Portugal with 129.00%. Seventeenth is Spain with 129.00% and 19th is France with 129.00%, just above Ukraine. India on the other hand is 78th with 51.70%. The EU’s external debt recorded in December 2014 was$13,050,000,000,000; this compares the total public and private debt owed to non-residents repayable in foreign currency, goods, or services. This may be a lot more now.
Now there is a situation where the Remain camp was unprepared for the result and the Leave camp are unprepared to Brexit, modern British politics are reactive not strategic. A new Whitehall Unit has been created by David Cameron to examine what is necessary. Meantime a “Stop Boris” campaign is underway led by six Cameron ministerial loyalists. Osborne’s dreams of succeeding Cameron are now dust; his empty promises for the Northern Powerhouse were utterly transparent and the northern vote bank he had counted on turned against him. Now Osborne the chameleon is offering his supporters to Johnson if he is allowed to stay on as Chancellor. Johnson played cricket on Saturday and Matthew Elliot recommended a pause to negotiations so that people can enjoy a summer holiday. Left and Right wing extremists are taking advantage of the political turmoil.
Corbyn attacked the EU in his Sky debate with Faisal Islam, more or less demonstrating his Remain stance was pure tokenism and, thus, he let his party down. Corbynhas lost half his shadow cabinet through resignations in the past two days, with another 150 MPs willing to place a vote of no confidence. Corbyn looks like a bad loser. He says he will still stand as a candidate in the next leadership election and optimistically expects a role for Labour in the EU negotiations. On Monday night Momentum held a rally in Parliament square calling for Tories to get out of Westminster; Corbyn, who appears to think he is leading a socialist revolution, appeared with John McDonell and Diane Abbott to give in the words of the Beatles a “Back to the USSR” speech.
The next step in the Conservative leadership race is for contestants to submit their names to the 1922 Committee on Wednesday with the closing date of Thursday 30 June. Names will be assessed by the Committee and a wider Conservative circle, supposedly with only two names being announced before summer recess on 21st July. The two Candidates will hold informal hustings over the summer with a new Prime Minister announced on 2 September. There is no chance of Article 50 being actioned until then.