Monday, 27 June 2016

Keep Calm and Carry On?

In the lasts few days our nation has been gripped by an unquenchable madness. Nobody knows what is happening. Pandora's Box has been opened and its contents are being traded away in a fire sale. How has it come to this?

The British public have voted to leave the European Union. This decision, which has already had a disastrous effect on the economy, was made by an older, wealthier generation of voters who haven't got very long left to live, in direct contradiction with the will of their relatively penniless children and grandchildren, who will have to live with these consequences the longest.

The Prime Minister has resigned, while both the Home Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer were not seen for 72 hours after the result was declared. George Osborne finally reared his head on Monday morning to make a reassuring statement before the markets opened, only for the markets to subsequently crash as investors panicked even further.

The pound has fallen to its lowest value against the dollar in 35 years. Approximately $2.08 trillion was wiped from the global markets in one day. Credit agency Moody's downgraded the UK's outlook from "stable" to "negative" while S&P said the UK would likely lose its AAA rating. So far on Monday, at the time of writing, the FTSE 100 has fallen by 2% and FTSE 250 has fallen by 4.5%.

David Cameron, who stepped down after leading a campaign he had hoped to narrowly win, will most likely be replaced with Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London and the Prime Minister's old Etonian schoolmate, who led an opposition campaign he had hoped to narrowly lose, and who is subsequently trying to run the country from his newspaper column.

Boris Johnson, who won his campaign and signalled Britain's intent to leave the European Union, is having second thoughts over triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, presuming he becomes the next Prime Minister, while those who comprise the EU establishment want us to get out as soon as possible. Number 10 has announced the unit to lead Brexit issues will be led by Oliver Letwin, whose 'Controversies' section is as long as the 'Political Career' section of his Wikipedia page.

On what comes next, those leading the campaign have no Brexit plan, as they were never in a position to fulfil any pledges they made. The ruling Conservative party has no Brexit plan, as they were expecting those in Number 10 to have drafted any contingency. And Number 10 has no Brexit plan, as David Cameron was not expecting to lose what ultimately proved to be his last political gamble after he had won all of his previous ones.
In the first meeting of his cabinet since the result was declared, the Pm told his colleagues "this government will not accept intolerance" in light of a sharp rise in the number of xenophobic and racially-motivated hate crimes across the country.

Meanwhile, a coup has been triggered within the Labour party. Its leader Jeremy Corbyn, who does not hold the confidence of his MPs, may yet retain the confidence of the party membership. While the shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Ben was sacked over the phone for expressing his lack of confidence in the leader and triggering said coup in the early hours of Sunday morning, the deputy party leader Tom Watson, it emerged, was on a bender in Glastonbury; a detail we have only gleaned from his latest Snapchat story. Corbyn allies accused would-be plotters of planning this ongoing coup on a "Snapchat group".

The new shadow defence secretary Clive Lewis was also at Glastonbury when he was appointed to his new role, and may be late for his first Defence Questions in parliament due to the traffic. His predecessor Maria Eagle resigned in a wave of mass resignations from the shadow cabinet, a walkout which yet continues, not to mention the dozens of MPs and party figures who are resigning from non-cabinet and relatively junior positions. The list of 37 resignations as of 2:00pm BST includes 18 shadow cabinet members, ten shadow ministers, and nine private parliamentary secretaries.

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to step down, and may yet be entitled to continue until a leadership challenge is triggered. But because the party rarely topples its own leaders in such a regicidal fashion, the exact rules as to whether Corbyn may have to regain 35 nominations to appear on the ballot paper are unclear, and may have to be determined by the National Executive Committee, of which Corbyn has a slight majority. There are also rumours that the majority of the PLP will follow a 'Libya model' of sorts and form a second shadow cabinet within the party led by an unofficial leader. One may feel this all needs to be sorted out before Prime Minister's Questions, which will take place on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile our actual head of state, a woman 25 years past the retirement age, is constitutionally bound to keep shtum in times of political division by merit of a constitution we have yet to write down. She is taking a trip to Northern Ireland on Monday - a nation which may leave the UK along with Scotland in order to continue EU membership, which itself may not be possible.

Given this is only day four of Brexit Britain, what else could possibly go wrong?


In other news: International tensions have cooled as it has emerged Israel and Turkey struck a deal to end the six-year rift over the Gaza flotilla killings, while Iraq has taken back control of Fallujah from Islamic State in a massive blow to the terrorist group's ambitions.

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