Brexit was one of the big events of 2016, and whilst the consequences of others are known, Brexit remains relatively ambigious today. Primarily because it hasn’t happened yet and the consequences of what might happen remain completely unknown. Of course this has not stopped the Brexiter’s from claiming success because the economy is doing fine (again, noting nothing has happened so this demonstrates nothing) and from the Remainer’s continuing to be depressed about what is to come. It’s like if the transition period after a US election was 2 years instead of two months. It would seem like nothing has really changed Obama would still be in and the politics would have stabilized. But eventually, it will hit.
There have been some interesting pieces written about the events of Brexit and the inner workings of UK politics. Like most conservative parties in the western world, the Tories seem to be a complete shambles of mixed opinions. From hard liners and borderline racists to rich elitists who just want low taxes and to be able to keep their Chateau in France, it’s a complicated mix. That Brexit flies in the face of the traditional free market thinking of conservatives makes it even more complicated. That the leader in charge of making it happen now was a Remainer add’s to the mix. Boris Johnson, the most famous Brexiter in the government is running around as foreign minister and appear like he could not give a toss about lying to the public constantly during the campaign. Imagine if the general of the Army gave orders to pursue a risky strategy, and then as soon as it was agreed, quit his job. You would question the order a bit right? Britain is a confusing place.
Nonetheless, some of the good reading on the topic is:
- Britain beginning to comprehend their place in the world in the NY Review of Books
- A questioning of what the Brexiters actually want considering they know the consequences of their actions
- The state of British politics in the midst of the strange conservative victory at the last election and a very left wing guy leading the Labour Party
- Thoughts on the sociology of Brexit
- Some broader points from the Intercept about why people are voting for extreme change that will likely make things worse
It’s strange that such a monumental event at the time still hasn’t been implemented. That there are actually pieces calling all the analysis overblown, even though it hasn’t been implemented. If you order a burger you don’t write the review while you are waiting for it to come to the table.
All this episode has taught everyone is that there a lot of people really hurting, that a minority movement can become majority through exploiting fears, lies, and potentially interesting data tactics. (The old school British way!) It has made the conservative government less stable, and demonstrated the divide that is beginning to blur party lines. The free traders were always the conservatives. In the past, the protectionists were Labour with their union workers. There is a blurring of these lines now, as social issues like immigration become more associated with the left, along with (gradually) higher taxes. But protectionism, with Brexit, now comes further into the realms of the previous free traders. Is this just a culture war? This is the same trend in the US, and in other countries. It likely means that elections will be fought on different issues than they used to, with the winners being those who can best maintain their previous base with their success based on gaining new voters through creating narratives that focus on their issue of choice. How much do conservative voters care about globalism? How much do Labour voters care about higher taxes? These questions will be asked again and again.
As for the Brexit consequences? We will see. It will all depend on the deal that is made. With a general unwillingness to make a deal, and the continual delays, it is likely the current optimism is buoyed by the potential that there is no Brexit.