Brexit: the fall-out so far

The fall-out which started last week, the moment it became known there was a Brexit, has not stopped. One of its first victims was of course David Cameron. He was followed by investors and gamblers who had not expected the Brexit, the UK Pound to hit thirty-year low, markets to react so emotionally.

The Tories

So David Cameron overplayed his hand? At least he drew conclusions and faced consequences. Who will replace him within the split Tory Party?  What about Boris Johnson? Et tu, Boris?

Boris Johnson may refer to his European roots; he forgot to mention part of these roots lie in Erdogan’s Turkey. His recent behaviour is more like a Janissary revolt using voters unable or unwilling to distinguish between EU facts and Boris fiction.

At first, Boris Johnson was heralded as the likeliest new Tory Leader. Fortunately, he now not only faces a lot of criticism for cheating and lying to voters. He also faces challengers who may hold better cards, which is may be the reason he now has Sir Lynton Crosby as election advisor.

Tory wannabe party leaders can still register. Apart from Boris Johnson, the BBC mentions in its excellent article on the Tory Party leadership election, several candidates and likely candidates complete with their profiles:

  • Theresa May
  • Liam Fox
  • Jeremy Hunt
  • Michael Gove
  • Stephen Crabb

Labour

As for Labour, plenty European journalists seem to think that Jeremy Corbyn only got into trouble after the Brexit result. This is of course not the case. Plenty Labour voters and parliament members got disenchanted with Corbyn’s leadership quite soon after he was elected Labour’s leader.

It was not a case of will there be a leadership challenge, but when. A minor reshuffle of Labour’s shadow cabinet took place in January this year. The grumbling did not disappear.

What is unbelievable is that Jeremy Corbyn still thinks he is the right man to lead Labour. One sacks one rebel on Sunday and this results in thirty shadow cabinet members stepping down within less than 48 hours? Among them 23 of the 31 shadow cabinet ministers – so far.

Mr. Corbyn nominated a few of his friends. He seems now set to lose the Labour Leadership in a vote of no confidence. Yvette Cooper does not rule out she will make a bid to become the next Labour leader! 

The not that united United Kingdom

Boris Johnson gleefully used the phrase “united we stand”, before disappearing for a whole weekend. What on earth did he mean: “united we stand”? In Northern Ireland, the news of the UK Brexit caused a run on EU passports before it is too late.

Scotland dusted off some laws to try blocking the Brexit. Before the recent referendum, it voted to remain part of the UK thinking this would ensure it would remain in the EU. A majority in Scotland voted for a Bremain.

They now want another referendum to create their own independence day, cut ties, and join the European Union. Sure Boris: united you may stand, but what about the United Kingdom?

Jeremy Hunt may state that a yet to be chosen new UK Prime Minister (he himself?) must negotiate a stay in the EU market and then call a new referendum. Wishful thinking: will the EU be in favour of another UK u-turn? Angela Merkel quite rightly remarked that if the UK wants to remain part of the single EU market, there will be a price to pay and the usual rules to obey.

Moreover, it all depends on who ends up in the UK’s driving seat. Just for a lark: imagine Donald Trump’s chum Nigel Farage ending up in the driving seat. What he should have done, the  moment the referendum’s result became known, was to resign as MEP. But then he would be jobless and miss all the (financial) benefits UK MEP enjoy.

Meanwhile in Europe

Meanwhile in Europe, first reactions were very clear: out is out! After talks during the weekend, the diplomatic veneer won it from the claws and daggers. David Cameron was welcome, though no longer for the whole emergency summit. To make the stance of the 27 remaining EU sates clear: “No notification, no negotiations”.

On the first day of the summit, Mr Juncker was invited to the European Parliament. The leader of the European Commission and his 27 commissioners showed up. The British commissioner Jonathan Hill – the only Brit so far, to have the decency to resign upon the news of the Brexit – quite rightly received a standing ovation.

Mr Juncker asked UKIP MEPs what on earth they were still doing in the European Parliament. Well Mr Juncker, it is probably about the money. Mr Farage would be kind of jobless if he left Brussels.

No idea if the voters he lied to back in the UK, would want him there. They are probably still shocked he and his pro-Brexit chums admitted they lied about the EU and what Brexit would mean. Some now claim that their promises are not facts but uhhhh … possible options. It is now known, that the UK does not pay the EU 350 million UK Pounds a week.

The pro-Brexit camp also forgot to mention the major part of what the UK pays the EU ends up back in Britain. Pro-Brexit politicians are also unlikely to be able to abolish the 5% energy tax the EU levied – as they promised. They may scrap the “EU levied” bit, but according to the UK’s Institute of Fiscal Studies, the tax – and plenty other taxes – will have to increase, as the UK will no longer receive EU subsidies, benefits, funds.  And this was before the UK Pound lost a bit of its value.

UK agriculture, universities, various regions and others who now receive considerable financial help through EU subsidies, benefits, funds, will of course lose these. No idea how interesting studying at UK universities will be, if EU students have to fork out more money on top of being treated as unwelcome foreigners. Should a new UK government decide it wants to follow the example of Norway, there remains the price ticket and all the rules – as Ms Merkel pointed out.

Meanwhile, several European governments are already stating their countries will not fund the bill of the Brexit. Various EU member states started promoting themselves as interesting countries for firms and companies now contemplating settling on the Continent within 24 hours of the Referendum results. As for London’s City: should it decide to leave, Germany’s Frankfurt, is an interesting alternative.

As for English being one of the three most important languages within the EU, the UK Telegraph mentioned this afternoon, there is no reason why the EU would not replace it with another language. All EU employees may now still need to speak at least English, or French, or German and preferably at least two of these on top of their mother tongue.

But why should the EU now keep English as one of its major languages? It may be a world language, but it will no longer be a member state one. Why not replace it with Spanish? After all: at least this is a member state language which is also used in a large part of the world.

 

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About Kate

Multilingual blogger, columnist, writer, translator. 2014 winning columnist Gentse Schrijversdagen, Gand, Belgium.
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