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Archive for the ‘Brexit’ Category

News from the Front: a visit to Post-Brexit Britain

In Brexit on June 12, 2018 at 10:00

It’s a while that I went to Britain to attend a conference, two years to be precise when I went to speak at the World Cup Symposium organised at Birkbeck to speak about the World Cup Final of 1966 from a German perspective. A lot has happened since, Brexit for instance. Ever since reading the results of the referendum I am shaking my head in disbelief. Two years on and I’m once more in the UK, travelling from Paris to Manchester via London. Plenty of time to have a look at the newspapers of the country.

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The choice of papers couldn’t be easier: Daily Heil Mail from Friday 8 June, the New European from Thursday 7 June and the Evening Standard also from Friday. The first two could not be further apart from each other. The Daily Mail never made a secret of its position: Leave EU while the New European was established shortly after the referendum and is distinctly pro-EU, therefore in the Remain Camp. The Evening Standard is a bit in between these two previous papers.

Barrels from Boris

Is how the Mail opens on the front page highlighting the infighting in the Brexit camp within the government. The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson was heavily criticising his colleague, the chancellor of the Exchequer, Phil Hammond for having become a road block en route to Brexit. Moreover, Johnson admits that he is admiring Donald Trump for his approach. Quote Johnson:

I am increasingly admiring of Donald Trump. I have become more and more convinced that there is method in his madness. Imagine Trump doing Brexit. He’d go in bloody hard… There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought.

The City Editor of the paper, Alex Brummer (What a name! In Germany a Brummer is a fly that hovers of piles of dog shit) accuses Hammond of being a ‘one-man Brexit road block’ whereas he should be confident as Britain has a historically low unemployment rate and an the public finances are in better shape than they were a few years back. In Brummer’s view Hammond should be praising the ‘entrepreneurial brilliance of British firms and the world-class institutions in the City of London’ but instead he remains pessimistic and reluctant to release money for other departments as they prepare for Brexit. Ironically the same paper is criticising water companies for wasting water and ripping off customers. The so-called entrepreneurial brilliance is described as one of the ‘most moronic acts of corporate largesse in recent memory’ by Dan Hyde, the Mail’s Money Editor. Worse, this behaviour plays into Corbyn’s hands which amounts to an act of national treason.

There is more to watch in this short clip from Twitter:

If you need further evidence that there is no road map, no clarity, this is it.

This very disunity within government is picked upon by the New European and it is indeed quite easy as the government has not come up with a plan for Brexit, neither for the road towards it nor for the path once the deal is done and Brexit is a reality. The editor of the paper, Matt Kelly highlights this by stating that there were

‘Two years of progress-free Westminster shenanigans, and for what?

Power. Nothing so grand as for power within the nation … But merely power within one’s own political party.

How truly pathetic.’

The opposition Labour party is also criticised by almost following the same lines as the government thus betraying their own mantra:

Help the government survive when they say they want to bring it down.

Ignoring members when they say they listen to them.

Mindblowing election-losing staff.

The editor-at-large of the paper, former Labour chief spin doctor Alistair Campbell argues that two years are a long time during which a lot can happen:

Foundations can be built in two years time. My team Burnley FC went from the Championship to qualification for the Europa League in two years. Great things can happen in two years.

Yet the government has failed to record any progress in the period since June 23, 2016, the day of the Brexit referendum. His article is headlined ‘ They won the vote two years ago but have lost the argument ever since.’

Nine Months

Last but not least, the Evening Standard from London. A paper that is free to pick up which I did at St. Pancras International just before boarding the train back to the continent. Led by former chancellor George Osborne there was controversy how he could swap a political office so quickly for a journalistic one, not only because of his lack of experience as a journalist but also because he was the mastermind of Austerity Britain 2.0 from 2010 onwards and is still an MP for Tatton in Cheshire.

The paper however reports that Brussels is warning the UK – again – that time is running out on Brexit. Given that there are only nine months left, this is surely correct to do so. Alistair Campbell stressed that within two years time, one could meet the right person, fall in love and have a baby, which brings me back to the nine months mentioned above. It takes just over nine months for a woman to carry a baby in her womb before giving birth. Given that Brexit is a reality and that the cut off date is approaching fast, it seems that Britannia is further away from even becoming Brexit-pregnant or from giving birth in March 2019, it is surprising that people like Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Moog et.al. are so convinced that there will be a baby, i.e. a deal for Brexit in the time remaining.

This is indeed mind-boggling what is happening in the UK with regards to Brexit. No one has an idea what is going to happen in a year’s time, least of all the government who have a responsibility for the country. Even the opposition, Labour, seem to have no idea. They pledge for staying in the single market but do not wish to be member of the European Economic Area. This is cherry picking which Labour have accused the government to do yet they have no better idea themselves.

As we approach the second ‘anniversary’ of this historical referendum I am still in disbelief that a country like the UK where I have lived for five years, where I have come to learn many useful lessons can turn so brutally against any common sense, against itself really, that it hurts. It hurts me.

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The EU tells UK: it’s not enough

In Brexit on June 28, 2017 at 13:30

The UK’s government has presented a policy paper outlining how the rights of EU citizens will be handled during and after the Brexit negotiations. It seems each move by the UK is met with more demands by the EU to amend the British policies to fit them with the EU’s positions. May has almost no options to navigate.

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