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The following guest post is courtesy of Adinah Brown, content manager at Leverate.
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Britain’s relationship with the EU, if nothing else is turning out to be the most speculated break-up of the 21st century, whose unraveling drama is rivaling some of the best midday television’s romantic sagas.
It all follows the typical narrative; the EU courts Britain, the EU succeeds in enticing Britain into an affair, a honeymoon phases ensues, only to later dissolve into dissatisfaction, which in turn, evolves into deeper discontent, the prospect of splitting is suddenly on the radar, Brattain wrestles with itself contemplating ‘should I go or should I stay?’, the grand walkout performance of Brexit follows, Britain comes to terms with the split and the EU is left to wallow in all the betrayal. The season is over- what else is there to watch? Ahh, thank God for Trump!
With the referendum now 10 months behind us, Brexit is widely considered to be a fait-accompli. It’s no longer a question of whether Britain can go back on her decision to resume her position within the EU, rather all attention is now focused on how best to leave unscathed?
A poll taken by YouGov which compared the issues that Britons think are most relevant in this political campaign, 63% thought that Brexit was of utmost importance. But the Brexit issue is really to be defined as who’s going to take us out of this expensive mess most competently? A YouGov poll shows that nearly four times as many people (34% of voters) think the Conservative party are best disposed to handle Brexit compared to the Labour party at 9%. While the Liberal Democrats who were the greatest advocates of remaining in the EU are staggering behind at 7% of voters.
All this is playing perfectly in to the very savvy hands of Theresa May. The Conservative party who achieved election victory in 2015, had a while to go before calling an election, but her party is seizing the opportunity to extend their stay in government. Capitalizing on her party’s dominance as the most capable in delivering a smooth European exit, the Labour party could hardly say no to an election and risk giving the appearance of having no confidence in their own ability to lead the nation.
Even in electoral constituencies that are known to be staunchly pro-EU, many voters are not necessarily transferring their Brexit loyalties to the upcoming general election. Indeed, they have reached the stage of acceptance in coming to terms with their EU relationship split. Those ‘Remain’ voters who you expect would be voting for the Lib Dems, feel that that would be a vote made in fantasy, not for shaping a new reality. It’s that sentiment of ‘Brexit’s happened let’s get on with it’ that has become the campaign pitch of May and her Conservative party, who are seeking to achieve the strongest possible mandate in negotiating the most beneficial outcome with the EU.
Cross the English Channel and that stoic acceptance dissipates, to be replaced with a sentiment that is far angrier as Europeans are still to come to terms with the fact that Britain dumped them. Those focused on the perpetuity of the EU are following the prospects of the Lib Dems with bated breath, but as the angst driven EU continues to taunt the United Kingdom, the more it inflames British nationalism, and prompts more votes to be cast in support of the Conservative party.
In the end it may well be Europe’s broken heart and wounded pride that will present the greatest challenge in Britain’s ability to achieve its desired amicable separation terms. May is stalling her movements in relation to implementing Brexit’s Article 50 in the hope that more votes will equate into a stronger mandate and a better negotiation position. Yet, whether Mrs May has the backing of her government will be mostly irrelevant in Brussels as she faces off in her negotiations with each of Europe’s 27 still teary-eyed member countries.