One of the advantages that assists the Wicked Witch of Westminster and her Brexit Clowns is that many UK newspapers are pro Brexit. The
Torygraph Telegraph is bad enough, but the Sun and the Mail are mass circulation titles and are firmly in the Brexiteer camp. Therefore, one expects that the Torygraph Telegraph, the Express, the Sun and the Mail will all run jingoistic pro-Brexit stories whenever possible.
Certainly, one is obliged to have regard to the
Torygraph Telegraph because it has unrivalled access to the thinking in Downing Street, just as one looks at the Guardian for its access to Labour and Liberal party thinking. The Financial Times is possibly the best source for assessment of the financial impact of Brexit on the economy and the Independent often has useful reporting.
But it is worth remembering that different newspapers have different circulations. The Press Gazette has the January 2017 circulation figures: “National newspaper print ABCs for Jan 2017: Times and Observer both boost print sales year on year“. Public opinion is more likely to be influenced by tabloids like the Sun (1,616,715) or the Mail (1, 511,317) than by the Financial Times (188,924) or the Guardian (156,756).
It follows that the Brexiters had during the Referendum, and now continue to have during the Brexit negotiations, an inbuilt popular advantage.
Brexit and the Tory Right
The day before yesterday the Financial Times had this: “May urged to assess impact of leaving EU without deal – MPs say claim that ‘no deal is better than bad deal’ is ‘unsubstantiated’”. Among other things the report discussed an 11-6 split in the Committee vote with the Eurosceptics in the minority.
The posted reader comments on the article were worth reading – among them this:-
“If one tries to think logically – very logically – about it, to have said “no deal is better than a bad deal” is foolish and nonsensical, at least from the perspective of trade and economics. It has all along been clear to the dullest of minds that “no deal” means WTO rules and 10% tariffs on autos, 25% tariffs on agriculture and loss of the passport for financial services. Maybe not Armageddon but still something of a car crash. What only makes sense is “bad deal” being code for having to compromise on either free movement, jurisdiction of the ECJ or continuing to follow EU regulation, or any combination of these ethereal and largely illusory “take back control” sentiments that most Brexiters value – irrationally in my view – over economic prosperity.”
Yesterday, the Financial Times had this: “The ‘Brexit betrayal’ poses a hazard for Theresa May – Some MPs do not want a deal with the EU and will try to force her hand.” This story is about the 80 or so Conservative MP’s who are in a cabal known as “The European Research Group” discussed in this
Torygraph-Telegraph article from November last Year: “Heavyweight Brexiteers among 60 Tory MPs to demand clean break from the EU“.
The point is that this “total withdrawal” faction within the Conservative Party might scupper any post Brexit deal. Names mentioned in the
Torygraph-Telegraph include the likes of failures like Ian Duncan-Smith (thankfully only briefly a leader of the Party) and the obnoxious Michel Gove who wanted to stand against the Prime Minister in the post Referendum contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party but did not make it.
Bloomberg Politics had this two days ago: “Hammond Says Some on British Side Don’t Even Want a Brexit Deal” and the Indpendent had this: “Philip Hammond accuses Tory Eurosceptics of plotting to torpedo any chance of a Brexit deal – He predicted ‘tensions’ in the party as the Prime Minister pushes for a Brexit deal“.
James Blitz, writing in the Financial Times yesterday: “Theresa May’s bad news for Brexiters – PM has given 2 indications she is willing to compromise on previously hard position“. Mr Blitz’s conclusion was this:-
“The question now is whether Mrs May can see off the Tory right. She courted them willingly in the first phase of Brexit as she pursued the Article 50 process through the Commons. If she is serious about striking a deal with the EU, she will now have to disappoint them — and this could be dangerous.”
Brexit EU Negotiations
Torygraph Telegraph has this: “EU negotiator says Brexit is ‘a Tory catfight that got out of hand’ and predicts next generation will return to bloc – as MEPs approve ‘red lines‘” which is a blow by blow account of a debate in the European Parliament on the negotiating terms. One hopes that history will one day show that Guy Verhofstadt is right and that the UK (or what’s left of it by then) will rejoin the European Community.
In the event the European Parliament approved the negotiating stance proposed.
The Financial Times has this in its regular Brexit briefing: “Theresa May’s bad news for Brexiters – PM has given 2 indications she is willing to compromise on previously hard position” and a further more detailed article: “Theresa May softens stance on Brexit roadblocks – UK PM accepts possible extension of EU rules after 2019“.
James Moore wrote in the Independent yesterday: “Theresa May has finally admitted we can’t immediately close our borders after Brexit – the fantasy is unravelling – Hot on the heels of that imaginary £350m for the NHS, another Brexit lie is crashing in to the white cliffs of Dover”
Meanwhile, there is the continuing drip drip of business worries.
This is one: “Ryanair ‘will have to suspend UK flights’ without early Brexit aviation deal – Falling back on WTO rules without a bilateral arrangement would be ‘disastrous’, says airline’s finance chief”
Here is another: “Standard Life considers making Dublin its EU hub because of Brexit – Barring ‘something miraculous’ happening, the Edinburgh-based money manager will no longer be able to service its 500,000 Austrian, German and Irish clients from the UK, chairman Gerry Grimstone says“.
And here’s another: “Brexit: UK faces up to 100,00 job losses under new proposal to strip UK of euro business – Mr Weber, who heads the European People’s Party, the largest group in the European Parliament, said that it was not conceivable that euro-denominated business could remain in London“.
And finally today, this from the Independent: “Brexit: European bankers in UK sick of location limbo and are volunteering to leave – Staff at Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and HSBC have asked to return to their native countries inside the EU“.
The article is doubtless accurate – and, regrettably, the inane comments posted by many on-line readers are only what we have come to expect.
As an andidote, it is worth reading a Grant Thornton paper on the Impact of Brexit on the Financial Services Sector which can be summarised by the key figures showing the worth of the Financial Services Sector:-
- 2 MILLION+ jobs in the UK, of which two thirds are employed outside London
- UK’S LARGEST TAX PAYING SECTOR paying £66bn in 2015/16
- UK’S BIGGEST EXPORTING INDUSTRY with a £67bn contribution to the balance of trade
- In 2014, exports of FINANCIAL SERVICES to the EU generated an £18.5bn trade surplus
This is only one sector of the economy where a hard Brexit will come at a considerable price.