After a turbulent fortnight in world politics, Britain is in need of a little reassurance. If you’re looking to the future of Brexit Britain with fear and trepidation, rather than hope and pride, here are five reasons to relax. This is why Brexit won’t happen – because maybe we won’t need to leave the European Union after all.
1. Marine Le Pen will win the French presidential election
This is scheduled for next April or May, and thus well inside the Brexit deadline. Although a shocking and horrendous prospect, the one practical point for Britain is that Le Pen’s Front National is campaigning for “Frexit” (or “Fraxit”). In effect, this would require a refashioning of the EU on the sort of lines British Eurosceptics really want: an end to free movement of people and repatriation of some powers to national parliaments, but keeping much of the economic relationships.
2. Or, alternatively, Marine le Pen will lose the French presidential election
But the current leading right-winger Francois Fillon can see that he will need to radically reform the EU in a Eurosceptic direction if he is to preserve it, and France’s perilous political stability too. So, once again, things move in a Eurosceptic direction and Europe reforms itself along Brexit lines.
What experts have said about Brexit
What experts have said about Brexit
1/11 Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
The Chancellor claims London can still be a world financial hub despite Brexit “One of Britain’s great strengths is the ability to offer and aggregate all of the services the global financial services industry needs” “This has not changed as a result of the EU referendum and I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial centre.”
2/11 Yanis Varoufakis
Greece's former finance minister compared the UK relations with the EU bloc with a well-known song by the Eagles: “You can check out any time you like, as the Hotel California song says, but you can't really leave. The proof is Theresa May has not even dared to trigger Article 50. It's like Harrison Ford going into Indiana Jones' castle and the path behind him fragmenting. You can get in, but getting out is not at all clear”
3/11 Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss says UK will be ‘screwed’ by EU in Brexit trade deals: “I have no faith in the politicians in London going on about how ‘the world will want to trade with us’. The world will want to screw you – that's what happens in trade talks,” he said. “They have no interest in giving the UK a deal on trade”
4/11 Tim Martin
JD Wetherspoon's chairman has said claims that the UK would see serious economic consequences from a Brexit vote were "lurid" and wrong: “We were told it would be Armageddon from the OECD, from the IMF, David Cameron, the chancellor and President Obama who were predicting locusts in the fields and tidal waves in the North Sea"
5/11 Mark Carney
Governor of Bank of England is 'serene' about Bank of England's Brexit stance: “I am absolutely serene about the … judgments made both by the MPC and the FPC”
6/11 Christine Lagarde
IMF chief urges quick Brexit to reduce economic uncertainty: “We want to see clarity sooner rather than later because we think that a lack of clarity feeds uncertainty, which itself undermines investment appetites and decision making”
7/11 Inga Beale
Lloyd’s chief executive says Brexit is a major issue: "Clearly the UK's referendum on its EU membership is a major issue for us to deal with and we are now focusing our attention on having in place the plans that will ensure Lloyd's continues trading across Europe”
8/11 Colm Kelleher
President of US bank Morgan Stanley says City of London ‘will suffer’ as result of the EU referendum: “I do believe, and I said prior to the referendum, that the City of London will suffer as result of Brexit. The issue is how much”
9/11 Richard Branson
Virgin founder believes we've lost a THIRD of our value because of Brexit and cancelled a deal worth 3,000 jobs: We're not any worse than anybody else, but I suspect we've lost a third of our value which is dreadful for people in the workplace.' He continued: "We were about to do a very big deal, we cancelled that deal, that would have involved 3,000 jobs, and that’s happening all over the country"
10/11 Barack Obama
US President believes Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU: "It is absolutely true that I believed pre-Brexit vote and continue to believe post-Brexit vote that the world benefited enormously from the United Kingdom's participation in the EU. We are fully supportive of a process that is as little disruptive as possible so that people around the world can continue to benefit from economic growth"
11/11 Kristin Forbes
American economist and an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England argues that the economy had been “less stormy than many expected” following the shock referendum result: “For now…the economy is experiencing some chop, but no tsunami. The adverse winds could quickly pick up – and merit a stronger policy response. But recently they have shifted to a more favourable direction”
3. Angela Merkel will do badly in the German elections
A close shave with political mortality – including the first parliamentary seats for the far-right party Alternative fur Deutschland – might persuade even the determined Merkel to reform the EU, and especially the free movement of people. Thus, public opinion would combine with strong a business case by German exporters to the UK to amend the German policy. In which case, a new, reinvented EU would be one the British would feel comfortable in again.
4. Theresa May could go for an early election – and then lose the gamble
Frankly, anything could happen in the current atmosphere. But it is perfectly possible May would lose her majority if some combination of opposition parties goes for a second Brexit referendum, either as a matter of official policy or as a by-product of an outbreak of civil war in the Labour Party. Indeed, the next general election could turn into a de facto second Brexit referendum.
Ironically, a big vote for Ukip could lead to some unpredictable results in safe Labour seats and Tory/Labour marginals. It’s all to play for.
5. Labour gets real about Brexit
At some point the Labour grassroots will need to decide what they love more: Europe, or Corbyn? If the only thing that stands between the party and preventing Brexit is the attitude of the current leader, then even some of his more devoted supporters might wonder about a new leadership and the chance to change that policy of allowing Article 50 to be activated.
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