News and Opinion From a Team of Young People

BrExit: Winners and Losers

in EU Referendum/UK by

So, now what? The political landscape has been changed significantly by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, so who has paid the price and who has profited from the result?

Winners

Nigel Farage

He is the real winner here. Not only has he achieved his lifelong ambition but he remains a political outsider, meaning that he is unaccountable for the negotiation process. As demonstrated by his appearance on GMB on the 24th June, he is also free to criticise Vote Leave’s campaign, having supported Arron Banks’ Leave.EU and appearing at Grassroots Out events.

There is nothing that this country can offer the Polish government that would convince them to abandon free movement of people, it would be too politically toxic for their government: the same goes for countries like Spain. So, assuming that the next PM chooses to accept free movement to secure access to the free market in an EEA style agreement, Farage’s successor will still be able to beat his anti-establishment drum and increase his support in the northern working class areas. Some areas of the country voted almost solely on the issue of immigration, which could drive voters to UKIP in 2020 if free movement is part of our exit deal.

Theresa May

What could be deemed a smart political move from May to keep her head down during this campaign could be deemed as cowardice by some but regardless, she is now the clear favourite to become PM. Many centre and left of centre voters may be hoping May wins the leadership election, because they have would rather have her than Boris and because the thought of Gove as PM triggers the gag reflex, but a May premiership could still be bad news for liberals.

She has been a unique Tory home secretary. Her views on immigration are very right wing, which will play an important part in the Article 50 negotiations, however she has been on the front line against the abuse of police power. She has a willingness to speak out against stop and search and she played a key part in the Hillsborough inquiry. This may make liberals and the left warm to her, however she is still an advocate of repealing the Human Rights Act in order to force through the snooper’s charter. Without a fresh electoral mandate, it could prove a dangerous political move.

Andrea Leadsom

One to watch in the leadership race and could, if she avoids personal attacks, secure a promotion in a Gove/May premiership. Some polls have put her in the top two, after winning the support of MPs like Iain Duncan Smith, Steve Baker and John Redwood. She was also endorsed by Nigel Farage and Arron Banks, an issue which came up in the first hustings of the campaign where she, according to sources, flopped.

She frequently appeared as a spokesperson for Vote Leave and built a large media profile during the campaign, featuring in most of the flagship debates. If she doesn’t become PM, it is hard to see her staying in her junior minister role for much longer.

Donald Tusk

Despite this being terrible for the EU, it gives Tusk’s more pragmatic approach to European politics more ammo in internal Brussels battles. If the German government was to throw its weight behind the eastern campaign to remove Junker, Tusk could become very influential.

Nicola Sturgeon

The political hurricane that proceeded the EU referendum gave the push for Scottish Independence a second wind. With enough pro-independence MSPs in Holyrood, she could push through a referendum bill. What will be most interesting is whether, with the Scottish Conservatives becoming the party of unionism, some Labour MSPs will campaign for independence.

Amber Rudd

Despite being on the losing side and with Boris being out of the picture, she could be in line to replace Osbourne at the treasury, if the need for a balance among Remain and Leave campaigners is an issue at the top of the new administration. She’s come a long way, having previously been most famous for talking about whether anal sex will be a defining issue in the election and that Hastings, her constituency, used to be a nice place.

Greece and Italy

Britain was one of the biggest opponents to further integration, so if the far right reaction to BrExit in other countries doesn’t lead to more problems across Europe, Greece and Italy could achieve the closer fiscal integration they want. Their only remaining obstacle is Germany.

Losers

The Establishment

Despite some being giddy with the thought of giving the political class a kicking, BrExit will have large implications. As the Tory’s will remain in power until 2020, with May ruling out a snap election, it is hard to see that the working class will be protected from the economic implications of leaving the EU. Instead, pensions will be protected at all costs despite Cameron’s hinting that the triple lock will be abandoned due to the importance of elderly voters to the Conservatives, so the weight of BrExit will fall upon the very people who voted to leave as a result of their hardship.

Referendums frequently become popularity contests on the current PM but this debate became so heated that it inspired the embittered working class, who have been left behind in globalisation, to issue a vote of no confidence against the establishment as a whole. Of course, of all the available forms of protest, this will have the greatest implications.

Broadly, the gap between the liberal intellectualism of the PLP and the grievances of the working class is widening (or as Junker describes it, retro-nationalism). BrExit will have huge impacts on politics and has shown that the main political parties, as they stand, are out of touch with the people.

Adapt or die.

Boris Johnson

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Johnson has outdone himself. Michael Gove’s sudden change of heart, despite his support continually arguing that he is a deeply principled man, meant that his dream of being PM was no longer feasible. His announcement speech had no booked location, which is why Boris had a nice hotel prepared and May’s backdrop was a beautiful library, showing that Gove’s decision to run was last minute. Despite the poison chalice conspiracy theory being passed around, I believe that Boris knew he didn’t have the numbers to win without the more statesmanlike Gove behind him. Sir Lynton Crosby told him he couldn’t win and so he withdrew, not because he didn’t want to clean up the mess he made. Boris paid the price for Sarah Vine’s ambition but he will be back.

David Cameron

The master of his own downfall. No sympathy whatsoever. He released the wild dog that is Euroscepticism and one cannot blame a wild animal for its actions, the man who let it off it’s leash is at fault. He was a fool for calling the referendum and an even greater fool for losing it.

George Osborne

Politically speaking, a dead man walking. He has gone from Prime Minister in waiting to a relic of Cameron’s era. He abandoned his target for a budget surplus by 2020, meaning that his ultimate political goal will not be actualised.

Jeremy Corbyn

Adam’s excellent piece explained who’s resigned from the shadow cabinet and why it matters and whether or not they are using the referendum as a smoke screen, it is clear that this has done no favours for the credibility of Corbyn as a leader. He cannot be held solely accountable for the result, the Tories put us in this place however his reluctant support of the Remain campaign was weak.

He was, of course, put in this position after the effects of the TV debates on Miliband in the 2015 election. Alan Johnson, who led Labour In for Britain, explained that Corbyn shouldn’t participate in a debate the Prime Minister didn’t attend. After the ‘Challenger’s Debate’ edition of Question Time, which quickly became a roast of the Labour Party, it was understandable that the party’s PR machine would want to spare Corbyn from such appearances.

Jean Claude Junker and Martin Schulz

Both would be wise to tread carefully in the next few months. Junker’s federalism isn’t popular in the UK and ever closer union was one of the issues which brought the referendum to the table. Schulz was supported by a core block of Labour MEPs, who will not retain their influence in the Parliament for much longer and so after BrExit a European People’s Party candidate would have more support behind him, meaning he’s lost influence in the long run.

Britain

Britain has done irreversible damage to its economic and political position in the global community. Not that that’s important of course because we will secure the best divorce deal in history and will build a new hospital every week until the end of time to celebrate, all whilst recovering from the lost spending of investors, maintaining millions of pounds worth of subsidies, convincing Scotland to tie themselves to the union again and maintaining peace in Ireland all under a PM with no mandate from the public.

What could possibly go wrong?

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