Jun 26 2016
This weekend has been one of the most interesting in recent history. Watching the post mortem on the Brexit referendum on British TV has been an education to say the least. When you walk off of a cliff, there is that interval of time while you fall, wondering how bad the impact is going to hurt.
That is what I would say this weekend has been like. Britain and the rest of the world have been going through the five stages of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Based on the news this weekend I'd say that we are just clearing stage 3. Stage 4 will come tomorrow when world markets drop yet again. (I don't think the markets have hit a definitive benchmark yet, the Dow for Example has about 400 more points to go, before it settles in for up and down cycles of about a 100 points or so for weeks).
When last we left the story, the Down Jones had wiped out ALL of its 2016 gains and had suffered its biggest single day drop in 1.5 years. Over the weekend the hits just kept on coming.
The credit rating agencies cut Britain's credit rating. Moved it from AAA to AA+.Following the Brexit vote, it said Britain's economic growth will be weaker and warned the public finances will be weaker than previously forecast, meaning it will be harder to cut the deficit.
Meanwhile up in Scotland,
EDINBURGH — Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said Friday that a new referendum on independence in Scotland was “highly likely” now that Britain had voted to leave the European Union.
Voters rejected an effort to break free from the United Kingdom in a 2014 referendum, but Ms. Sturgeon said Scotland would take measures to protect its place in Europe and maintain access to the single market.
Ms. Sturgeon cited her party’s election manifesto, which calls for another ballot if there is a “significant and material change in circumstances” from the 2014 vote, such as Scotland’s being taken out of the European Union against its will.
Not to be outdone, the folks in Northern Ireland, have their own issues to think about:
No sooner was the Brexit out of the bag than Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, deputy first minister for Northern Ireland, declared the need for a poll on Irish reunification. Northern Ireland voted decisively to remain in the EU. By McGuinness’s logic, this means that the “British government has forfeited any mandate to represent the economic or political interests of the people”.
Opportunistic? Of course. Disingenuous? Maybe. The Good Friday agreement, which created peace in the north, allows the secretary of state to call a border poll when there’s clear indication that public opinion has swung towards a united Ireland. Currently, there’s no such indication – the people of Northern Ireland voted against leaving the EU, which is markedly different from voting to leave the UK.
A border poll at this juncture would be dangerous. Think the build-up to Brexit was polarising and scary? Add a few centuries of colonial history, a partition, 30 years of sectarianism and violence, a fragile peace of less than two decades, a severe terror threat, a quarter tonne of semtex, a wee dash of Brexit-induced socio-economic insecurity, and the frustration caused by one’s English compatriots voting to pull the rug out from under a painstakingly crafted peace process, then tell me about polarising and scary.
So it is probably best that we chill on the reunification rhetoric for the minute. That said, I do think the aftermath of Brexit has the potential to strengthen Northern Ireland’s connection to the Irish Republic. If and when that happens, we’ll talk border polls.
Meanwhile back in London, Jeremy Corbyn, Labor Party Leader ,had his hands full dealing with a revolt inside his own party.
The U.K.'s dramatic decision to leave the European Union has set off an open mutiny within the opposition Labour Party against the party's leader, Jeremy Corbyn
The BBC reports that at least eleven ministers have resigned from their positions on the shadow cabinet; in the British system, that's the government body that criticizes the ruling party's government and presents alternatives.
This started when Corbyn sacked his shadow foreign secretary, party veteran Hilary Benn, as NPR's Peter Kenyon tells our Newscast unit.
"Within hours more shadow cabinet ministers announced their resignations amid concern that Corbyn is not the leader the party needs to see it through the upheaval caused by the Brexit vote," Peter says. He adds that Corbyn has "vowed to fight any challenge."
Under the category of, you want it bad you get it bad, The other EU nations are insisting that Britain should withdraw from the EU as soon as possible and not slow roll the process. Angela Merkel said she agreed with that logic, but would not "fight for it".
Nonetheless there are important reasons why the continental nations of Europe will need to take a hard line in negotiations for Britain's exit from the block. Number one will be to drive home the point to other exit wanna be's that you pay a price for not playing ball. European leaders will desperately want to stop the contagion represented by Brexit. There is not a Norway or Swiss deal in Britain's future.
This isn’t just economic; it has implications for global security. The EU and the US have depended on a united front on a score of global challenges, most notably with Russia. Russia will exploit any division they can.
Now at the same time-things could turn around if a few things happened. Like oil prices go up dramatically.
Of course if this November the US elected Donald Trump to be President, things could get a lot worse. As Larry Summers pointed out, Brexit could just be the opening act if Trump gets elected:
Well, I think the same kind of sense that this couldn't possibly happen, that surrounds the Trump candidacy also surrounded the Brexit referendum. And I think whatever damage Brexit may do to the global economy, is small compared to the uncertainties that would be unleashed if Donald Trump became President of the United States. That's because the policies that Trump has advocated could hardly be better calculated to create uncertainty and economic instability.
So there is that to look forward to.
"Europe is coming apart and we have unleashed the fearsome ghosts of centuries of slaughter. Now watch this drive."
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 24, 2016