Theresa May said this… Boris Johnson is doing a madness and who the hell is Donald Tusk?? This UK is done out here!
As a lot of you know (or should know), the United Kingdom is going through a political roller-coaster right now. Probably the biggest moves in the world of Euro Politics since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Since the EU exit referendum 2 years ago (23 June 2016) there’s been so much jargon, empty promises and speculation being thrown around on the news and media. So it’s easy to get lost in it all – especially when politics isn’t one of your main interests. More so, is it easy to overlook the Brexit movement believing it doesn’t concern you or thinking “why should I care?”
To put it simply, as a millennial it most definitely concerns you and for someone aspiring for the best possible future opportunities – the effects of Brexit on the British economy alone is a major reason why you should care. This post and the ones that may follow will aim to break down Brexit and hopefully shouldn’t be too long and boring.
So Brexit, where did it all start?
Since the UK joined the EU (European Union) in 1973 there have been decades of debating whether Britain should remain in the so-called ‘socialist bloc’ (a bloc is a group of countries or political parties with common interests who have formed an alliance). This was always in been more of an issue for the Conservative Party; particularly under Margaret Thatcher who is remembered for her hard right-wing agendas during her time.
“We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super state exercising a new dominance from Brussels” (Thatcher, 1988). Probably one of the most iconic quotes from the late prime minister. It’s clear to see that the EU did not sit well against Thatcher’s hard right agendas for Britain during her time.
Let’s stop there quick. What’s this right-left-wing business about? Basically, left wing is a theology of politics based around socialism, public ownership and putting average individuals first in the economy. This is the principle typically practiced by the Labour Party. The right-wing is more capitalist in its approach, stressing the importance of private ownership and the needs of business/upper class. This side of the political spectrum is practiced by the Conservatives. Hopefully you get the gist on why the Conservatives have never really been fans of the socialist movements of the EU.
There’s a lot more to it of course but we’re gonna stick to the basics. Fast forward to the time of David Cameron’s time as Prime Minister (a Conservative party government) from 2010 to 2016. If my memory serves me well, there was a lot of pressure put on Cameron to push for a British exit of the EU. Our reluctant PM at the time was pretty much coerced into holding the referendum in 2016.
It’s now June 23rd, 2016 (referendum day) and the UK has voted to leave by a slim majority. Leave 51.89% and remain 48.11%. Brexit is now the new political buzz word with all roads leading to the departure of the UK by March 29th, 2019. Since then UK politics has been a series of ups and downs, starting with David Cameron stepping down – leaving the burden of the Brexit negotiations to his successor Theresa May. May is currently still battling to strike a deal with the European bloc. Tensions and pressures are always on the rise as the end date for negotiations edge’s closer.
So where are we now?
Fundamentally of key importance at this point is whether the UK will stumble out of the EU without a deal. The deal proposed by the PM from the outset is one that promotes ‘British interests’ such as restrictions on immigration, reduction in payments to the Union, whilst maintaining the infrastructure of free trade. Sure it’s all well and good that the UK has put these things on the table, but if both sides can’t agree on a definitive stance no deal Brexit is what we might be faced with. An alternative being a soft Brexit moved into action by a Labour Government eager to take the reins.
Representatives from the Bank of England have expressed on many occasion that a no deal exit would be disastrous for the UK economy as a whole – which is already suffering from slower growth, a weaker Pound and falling house prices nationwide.
May has since suffered embarrassing defeats to her agreed deal as this was rejected by Parliament twice. Without delving too much into the specifics, this proposed deal primarily failed to address the issues of the Irish backstop, which would involve keeping the UK in the EU indefinitely. How I see it, the dynamics and detrimental problems regarding the border is something that was very much overlooked during the time of the referendum vote – but again let’s leave that topic for another time. Britain yet has problems beyond the bloc even after it signs an exit deal. The battles beyond Europe pose an additional source of uncertainty to this Pandora’s Box.
The story of Brexit is now a waiting game to see what surfaces from negotiations following the rejections of May’s deal. The EU has now given the UK an extension to the Brexit deadline from March 29th to April 12th (should parliament reject May’s deal again). In a seemingly unlikely case that the deal is accepted, this date would be pushed back to May 22nd.
I’m hopeful that this post was able to shed some light into the lucrative topic that is Brexit. Excited to see what progress is made this week following the EU’s extension. I would be thrilled to see a more collective approach from the fragmented government – but you can never tell with these lot.
Want to stay informed?
Follow the news is my best advice. All major outlets will be covering the incoming updates so it’s not hard to find. My favourite sources are The Economist, Financial Times and Bloomberg.
I also do a ‘Snow’s Brexit Update’ every now and then where I try to break down the stories so far since it can be quite hard to follow. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@ManLikeAyo) to stay in the loop with those – happy to answer any questions you might have too!
Next Brexit update/post out soon!