May has lowered our Brexpectations – but don’t forget that she’s driving Britain over a cliff edge

Brexit means economic misery, and the prime minister knows it


The pound is climbing this afternoon, following Theresa May’s speech on Brexit. In fact, according the Daily Mail, sterling has ‘soared’.

But let’s introduce a little context for that. This is the journey the pound has taken since 23 June:

The point is broader: in the last few days (as in the last six months) the government has drip fed information about its major Brexit decision, deliberately dispersing the impact of each statement and normalising catastrophe.

Announcing that Britain will inevitably leave the single market, before the negotiations have even begun, is a disaster for the British economy. Accepting that immigration must trump all other concerns, whatever the cost, is a political failure. Suggesting that Britain may walk away from negotiations with no deal at all — as May has done — shows an astonishing lack of ambition.

Yet the government has diminished expectations to such an extent that instead of getting slammed, it gets to claim credit for fulfilling its most basic responsibilities — like informing the public about decisions that will determine their futures, or giving MPs a vote.

For months, May has promised ‘the best deal for the United Kingdom’, but instead she’s delivered this. It’s a plan that — by her own admission — will leave the country materially worse off. And that’s the starting position, the best-case scenario. We have to assume that some of her ambitions — like associate membership of the customs union — will never actually be achieved.

Set the bar so low that you can’t help but tumble over it — that’s the model of government we’ve had on show today.

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

See: Corbyn, Farron, Lucas respond to Theresa May’s ‘clean Brexit’ speech

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6 Responses to “May has lowered our Brexpectations – but don’t forget that she’s driving Britain over a cliff edge”

  1. Michael

    the enemy of fantasy is “Events, Dear boy, events”

  2. ChrisN

    There is clearly a case to be made that PM May is leading the country in a bad direction. However this article is lacking in supporting evidence. The fall in the exchange rate of the pound is not necessarily a bad thing – the UK has a problematic trade deficit and in those circumstances a fall in value is often (though not necessarily) a useful tool for rebalancing a economy.
    Giving guidance on a key aspect of the negotiations that seems to be agreed (separately by both sides – EU stating a set of conditions that was going to be incompatible with the U.K. Government’s clearly flagged position) just makes a point clear. Understanding more about the future direction gives everyone a bit more clarity. Again the wisdom of the announcement of a decision is a different thing to the wisdom of the decision itself.
    “Normalising catastrophe” – Catastrophe is a very strong term and needs justification. A reference to a speech made during campaigning doesn’t prove it. There is disagreement in the left (and right) parties. Rather unfortunately for 24/7 news a fundamental economic and political event should be judged with a couple of decades of hindsight.
    “Normalising” the direction that was made from a high turnout referendum is a choice of language that in my opinion evokes a struggle to deal with political reality of where the UK is, the language of trying to pretend the Brexit result can be ignored or wished away.
    (I voted Remain – not that that is relevant to this comment…)

  3. Mike Stallard

    OK I’ll come out. I am a Tory Troll.
    Yup. Been Tory all my life.
    Now this politically illiterate Prime Minister has jumped the wrong way.
    I really do fear the worst now. The worst.

  4. Alma

    Brexit still happen! They will learn on the go!

  5. David Davies

    All is NOT going well with Wrecksit. At best, it is a leap of faith, where the protagonists latch onto any crumb of comfort to justify what was a marginal decision.
    Duck Fart has American Interests First, Last, and all points inbetween. If there is any `signature ready deal’ it will be an even worse form of TTIP, which the deluded Gove fails to comprehend.
    BoJo goes on about speculative exciting new deals, that he is officially not allowed to even discuss. Would that be a bit like the water cannon, and the Boris buses?
    Sterling is still 20% weaker against the euro than it was in June. Petrol is £1.20/litre. The real fun will start when interest rates rise – and that will be before ny meaningful Wrecksit negotiations take place.
    Richard Mottram was right.

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