Teresa May’s Brexit Speeches – Nos 1 and 2
Well., nobody really expected the Wicked Witch of Westminster to publish a White Paper but, for those who wish to read the test of Teresa May’s Brexit speech in full. the Financial Times has been good enough to publish the full text of her Lancaster House performance: “Theresa May’s blueprint for Brexit: full speech transcript – ‘We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe’“.
The Independent has perhaps the best cartoon on the performance:
There is not really much point in wasting space on posting the guff in the pro-Brexit national newspapers, but Roy Greenslade writing in the Guardian has an interesting review here: “Theresa May’s Brexit speech: what the national newspapers say – PM’s words cause unsurprising joy in pro-leave papers while pro-remain media question her interpretation of her mandate“.
The Independent has something which may be useful: “Theresa May Brexit Speech – Economic experts react“. Among them, Simon Wren-Lewis – Professor of Economic Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University said this:-
“Why are we leaving a market that is so advantageous for the UK? Because May has chosen to interpret the Brexit vote as above all else a vote against freedom of movement. But polls have repeatedly shown that a great many people who voted Leave are not prepared to see any drop in their living standards as a price worth paying to control EU immigration. Theresa May will ignore this partly because she spent her political life before becoming PM trying to control immigration, and now she sees the possibility of actually achieving the reduction she has always promised.
To do that she is prepared to put in place a degree of government interference in the labour market that would make even the most diehard socialist blush. Margaret Thatcher must be turning in her grave at the foolishness of all this, and the apparent willingness of MPs to vote for it.”
Having delivered her Wednesday bombshells, on Thursday the Wicked Witch went on to to speak further at the World Economic Forum in Davos. See this in the Financial Times: “Theresa May vows UK will not withdraw from global role after Brexit – PM’s Davos speech aims to reassure that vote was not rejection of Europe“.
It would be fair to say that Mrs May’s performance in Davos went down like a lead balloon.
Reactions in Davos
The FT article above reports the views of the Dutch Finance Minister, of the leaders of many banks and of Martin Weber who leads the Centre Right bloc of MEPs.
The Guardian has this on the view of the Dutch Prime Minister and the German Finance Minister: “UK will pay huge price for prioritising migration curbs, says Dutch PM – Mark Rutte says leaving single market will hit British economy hard, while German minister warns against tax haven plan” and it reports the comments of a number of other significant players.
The Financial Times also had this on what the bankers in the City were saying: “US bankers hatch two-stage Brexit plan for City – Executives seek to win time to decide how many jobs to shift out of London“. From the figures quoted, it looks like some 10,000 highly paid bankers will soon be leaving London.
Incidentally, George Soros, the well known billionaire, had this to say in Davos about the Wicked Witch and Brexit:
“In my opinion is is unlikely that prime minister May is actually going to remain in power. Already she has a very divided cabinet, a very small majority in parliament. And I think she will not last. At the moment the people in the UK are in denial. The current economic situation is not as bad as was predicted, and they live in hope.
But as the currency depreciates, and inflation will be the driving force, this will lead to declining living standards. This is going to take some time, but when it does happen they’ll realise that they are earning less than before because wages won’t rise as fast as the cost of living !“
On 20th January the City Editor of The Times wrote: “How Brexit threatens lifeblood of City -As the banks relocate, property, education and culture could all suffer devastating losses“. It is worth looking at the sort of losses which may occur:
“. . . [we] would likely see an annual decline of £2 billion in revenues, £500 million in tax revenue and 4,000 jobs. Under conditions where the UK moves to a third country arrangement with the EU . . . up to 50 per cent of EU-related activity — £20 billion in revenue — and an estimated 35,000 jobs could be at risk, with £5 billion of tax revenues a year,” Mr Boleat said. And this would not be the end of it. As Mr Boleat warned, London’s whole “ecosystem” of related services would be hit, resulting in the loss of up to a further £18 billion of revenues, about £5 billion in tax, and 40,000 jobs.”
David Allen Green writes this in the Financial Times: “Has the EU won the first round of Brexit talks before they’ve started?” in which he makes clear the weakness of the UK’s negotiating position. As usual, there have been some comments on the article and this one (from Hong Kong) is worth mentioning:-
“Most of the world watches with astonishment and a little amusement as a once-fine country, led today by pompous ignorant imbeciles, tears itself apart. All the world wants to trade with the EU, the worlds largest and richest market, which Britain has quite bizarrely decided to leave, in rather comic circumstances.”
This seems to be a very perceptive observation – especially in the light of the inauguration of the Donald Trump monster in Washington DC later today.
“Bad Times are Just Around the Corner”
Postscript: Today, the Supreme Court announced that Judgment in the Article 50 Cases will be delivered on Tuesday 24th January 2017 at 9.30 am. See this in The Guardian:
The article ends with a comment from a partner in one of the solicitors involved:
“Parliamentarians need to clear their diaries and make themselves ready. If the appeal is dismissed, as we hope, they will be able to insist on proper proposals, debate, accountability and meaningful control of every step the government takes from now in relation to its Brexit plans. And British people should expect no less of their representatives.”