UK Politics

What will Brexit look like? (The nightmare version)

BY Walter Ellis | tweet Waltroon   /  21 June 2016

Daniel Hannan could be right. We may be about to head into an era of unbroken sunlit uplands. But what if he’s wrong?

[Sound of BBC pips]

This is the Today Programme, with Nick Robinson and Mishal Husain. It’s eight o’clock on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. First, the news, read by Cathy Clugston:

In the last few minutes, the European Commission and the European Central Bank have announced that, beginning on July 1, 2019 – the day on which the United Kingdom formally leaves the European Union – EU financial institutions must channel all euro-denominated business through a clearing house based inside the Eurozone. Paris and Frankfurt are to be the twin locations for a new Eurozone Exchange. Regulations governing the incoming regime are expected to result in a large-scale transfer of trades from London to the Continent, leading to the loss of as many as 10,000 City-based jobs.

Today’s news follows the warning earlier this month by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders of a severe reduction in the number of car-manufacturing jobs in the UK that will result from a shift of focus away from Britain to locations inside the Single Market by Jaguar-Land Rover, BMW, Toyota and General Motors, all of which are foreign-owned. It is feared that as many as 300,000 out of a total of 800,000 jobs could be affected.

In Brussels, efforts by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to secure Britain’s continued access to the Single Market appear to be going nowhere. The governments of Poland, France, Spain, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania have all vowed to veto any such arrangement unless it is accompanied by British acceptance of the free movement of labour. The French economics minister Emmanuel Macron and his German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble both broke into English to make the point that the British had made their bed and now they must lie on it.

Mr Johnson, who in 2013 said it was his intention to keep Britain inside the single market, only to change his mind during the Referendum campaign and then back again in the wake of victory by the Leave side, told reporters in Brussels that if Europe wanted to play dirty, then they could expect the UK to follow suit. He did not expand on what this might mean. Asked to confirm that the £350 million allegedly paid to the EU each week by the UK would be reallocated to the NHS, he said that it was too soon to make final decisions on the makeup of the forthcoming “Independence Budget”. Voters had to bear in mind that the £350 million was a “global” figure that, when broken into its constituent parts, was not necessarily the answer to problems caused by 43 years of what he described as “EU meddling”.

A march, organised by the far-right protest movement Leave Means Leave, that was scheduled to take place this weekend in London, has been banned by the Home Secretary Michael Gove. Mr Gove said that Leave Means Leave’s central demand that most East European migrants should be deported in the run-up to Independence Day ran contrary to the traditions of the British state. He added that until such times as the Government’s education reforms had produced a more skilled workforce, the UK should continue to benefit from the more than two million EU citizens currently living and working in this country, as well as those expected to arrive in the course of the next two years.

In Edinburgh, a “pan-celtic” conference hosted by the Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is set to publish its findings this afternoon on the vexed question of how Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should respond to Brexit. Ms Sturgeon has already indicated that a second Scottish independence referendum will be held in the spring of 2017, but the main focus of interest at the meeting has been the surprise willingness of the Welsh and Northern Irish delegations to contemplate similar plebiscites, albeit at a later date. The Prime Minister is expected to raise the ramifications of a possible breakup of the United Kingdom during his weekly audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

In other news, Ukip leader Nigel Farage is to take his claim, that he should be paid a full pension by the European Parliament to the European Court. The Parliament’s executive ruled last month that as Mr Farage – who in 2009 boasted of having claimed some £2m in parliamentary expenses – only attended debates in order to insult EU leaders and almost never attended committee meetings, he was entitled to just half of the pension that would otherwise have been his due.

In the foreign exchange markets, the pound is trading at 99 U.S. cents. Against the euro, sterling fell by two per cent, making one euro worth £1.27p.

Nick Robinson: Thank you, Cathy. It is just over a fortnight since David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister during the Tory Party conference in Birmingham. His replacement by Boris Johnson had been widely expected, but few could have predicted that he and George Osborne would then leave the Conservatives to form a new centre party alongside Labour’s Chuka Amunna and David Miliband. Mr Cameron joins us now from the radio car …


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