Current Affairs

The Brexit Fallout and the Turbulent Years to Come

After every war, there is a fallout, and Brexit is no different. But what will it look like for Britain?

4th January 2021 15:30 GMT

The deal has been signed and the transition is over, and since the first day of 2021, Britain has not been a member of the EU. Whilst Michel Barnier has been saying that the deal will bring stability and ‘an orderly Brexit’, the truth seems to be the opposite.

The deal largely misses out financial services, one of Britain’s biggest industries, and also ignores foreign policy and defence, as requested by Johnson. Both the UK and the Eu have looked for new trade deals immediately, with Britain signing a new trade deal with Vietnam and extending their deal with Turkey last week. The EU has signed an investment agreement with global superpower China, showing their ambition.

The EU and China had planned to strike a deal by the end of the year and completed it with only one day to go. This deal secures more market access in China for the EU, a more level playing field and increased enforcement to help reach environmental and labour targets.

Both sides have been positive of the deal so far and are insisting that Britain and the EU will remain as ‘friends’ after Brexit, but how close these ties are is up for debate. Supporters of Brexit called for a more influential Britain, with more fingers in more pies, whereas Remainers now call for an end to a focus on foreign affairs and to focus on the problems back home. It seems the first will be the approach of this government.

The conservatives have talked of a ‘Global Britain’ suggesting their ambitions to spread their influence overseas, but it does seem that to master ‘Global Britain’, then the issues back home will have to be solved first. So, the focus will be on both approaches?

It will certainly be a tough time for Johnson in the years to come. Solving not only the current COVID related issues but a long-standing lack of infrastructure and grappling with a changing economy as Brexit unfolds all whilst attempting to strike new deals and increase their global power.

Johnson and the Conservatives have talked of sovereignty throughout the Brexit process, and have made it a huge part of the deal, but this is an open approach to Brexit. It allows the government to carve its own way through the political landscape, but the changes it makes will not always be good ones. Famously, with great power, comes great responsibility. Just because Johnson can now make the changes he has desired to, does not mean they will impact positively on the economy.

Sir Kier Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, has already been looking for issues in Johnson’s work. With so much to do, and huge expectations from the British public, just striking this deal will not be enough to keep his leadership at the next general election. It will be talked of by the Conservatives for sure; ‘remember when our heroic leader clenched a deal from the jaws of death’, but the truth is a deal was always expected. It was clever by the Tories to tell the world to expect a no-deal, and thus making his deal look better, but Starmer will know this too.

Yesterday, he called for stricter lockdown restrictions within the next 24 hours, to which Johnson said they were, ‘probably on the way’ whilst insisting that schools can remain open. The onslaught has begun. The pressure to back the deal or be seen to support a no-deal will have hurt the Labour Party, so greater scrutiny and pressure can be expected from them in the coming weeks.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has told Europe that Scotland will be back soon. It seems that another Scottish referendum is looming. Johnson will resist it, but the Brexit vote in Scotland was a strong remain, and since the failure of the first independence referendum, Sturgeon has been itching for another.

Johnson has a real shake up on his hands. He will have to find Britain’s place in the world, whilst fixing problems at home and swatting away opposition. Failure is probable but success will launch him into stardom. But it is of course not black and white. Johnson, as he always has, will want to make changes. A lot of changes. Only one thing is certain: Britain will not be the same again.

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