Fear is setting in over Brexit’s potential impact on jobs, house prices, markets and wages – while the politicians squabble over nonsense and Theresa May runs down the clock in her bid to commit the UK to her dire Brexit deal, or no deal at all.
The Financial Times has polled more than 80 leading economists, and they said Brexit will hobble UK business investment and depress consumer spending in 2019, stunting long-term growth no matter what terms are eventually agreed with the EU. Many said forecasting for 2019 was impossible given the “comprehensive” and “chronic” uncertainty that had become “a way of life” in the UK.
And Ashwin Kumar, chief economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said low income households would not share equally in wage growth, with families facing a squeeze on benefits payments. A rise of one or two per cent will not be felt in most households as the rich would be the ones to benefit.
Contrast this with the attitude of UK prime minister Theresa May, who is desperate to convince voters that it is critics of her duff deal who are damaging the economy, which has been dragged down almost to standstill point due to the uncertainty created by years of bickering among the Tory leaders who were supposed to be negotiating the terms of our departure with the other EU countries but instead fell into squabbling among themselves.
Her attempt to divert the blame saw her on The Andrew Marr Show, accusing those who want a second referendum of “disrespecting” the result of the first, and in the Mail saying they are harming democracy.
But she would not say what she would do if she loses the “meaningful vote” on her deal, due to take place on January 15:
If @theresa_may loses meaningful vote, “we are in uncharted territory” she says. Remarkable statement from a PM – and confirms as I said yesterday she has still not settled on a Plan B.
— Robert Peston (@Peston) January 6, 2019
And, despite having accused supporters of a second referendum of harming democracy, she did not say whether she would support such a poll if it was put forward in Parliament as a way to break the deadlock.
So she’s only interested in getting her deal past Parliament. We’ve already discussed the reasons for that and they have nothing to do with the national interest.
On the other side of the Parliamentary divide, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is having trouble getting his own Brexit message across because of demands for a second EU referendum by right-wingers within and outside his party.
It seems, if you’re on the right, you can both support and oppose a second referendum at the same time. Perhaps we could describe them as Schrodinger’s democrats; they want democracy both alive and dead at the same time but don’t know which, until after all our choices have been used up.
Much of the pressure on Labour is just talk, though. The Guardian has a scaremongering story that thousands of party members are demanding that the leadership must support a second referendum or they’ll tear up their membership cards and send the party to certain defeat if a snap general election is called. But we know that this isn’t true. Party membership is stable at more than 600,000, polls do not give a clear picture (we saw one last week that showed more Labour members and supporters are in line with party policy), and a general election will be about much more than Brexit.
A report of a YouGov poll involving 25,000 people, that shows a new referendum would show a comfortable majority in favour of remaining in the EU and claims that Labour would lose a general election if it did not support staying in, is also in the realms of fantasy. Labour policy is to push for a general election before a second referendum because the result of a second referendum is likely to do little good for the majority of the British people – no matter what the result – if a Conservative government is in office; Tories would tailor the result to their own interests rather than those of the nation.
And an opinion piece by plummy-voiced right-winger Andrew Rawnsley, trying to foment rebellion against Mr Corbyn as a way of stopping Brexit, is exactly the kind of woolly-minded nonsense we have come to expect from the People’s Vote fantasists who have been putting the cart before the horse and hoping you won’t notice.
Rawnsley knows Brexit won’t be stopped by Labour supporters ousting Mr Corbyn in the belief that shifting Labour policy towards a second referendum will make it happen; it won’t. He just wants to cause trouble for a Labour leader whose people-friendly policies are anathema to him.
So the Tories are still – still! – squabbling among themselves after creating this problem in the first place; Labour members and supporters are being incited to squabble among themselves by right-wingers both inside and outside the party, who want to divide the left and unseat the best leader that party has had in 40 years; and in the meantime living conditions in the UK are likely to suffer brutally.
This Writer’s opinion – for what it’s worth – is that we need to take this one step at a time.
First priority is to defeat Mrs May’s deal because it is not in the national interest – it only benefits her and her cronies and is bad for the UK. Next priority will be a general election. A second referendum will only be worthwhile after a Labour government is returned to office.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: