Britain faces critical challenges.
Amongst the turmoil of our election here in the US, it is easy to forget the gathering storms elsewhere – not least amongst the other western democracies. It is no longer possible to call them friends or allies because our foreign policy has shown little appreciation of them as trading partners or as colleagues. Indeed acting more like adversaries, we have trashed institutions and treaties that have long worked greatly to our joint benefit. Right now European nations are not doing so well.
Britain in particular is under threat and the challenges are coming to a head. Its economy contracted by 20% in the last quarter. Nearly 750000 jobs have been lost. Time is almost up on its deal to leave the EU, and the negotiations are looking harder by the day.
The consequences of failure will be felt all round. It always looked improbable that Britain could unstitch itself painlessly from the miasma of deals that underpin membership of the EU. Johnson’s posture was one of overreaching – all or nothing. Now he is doubling down, threatening to walk out of the talks before time. This looks like the last desperate throw a bogus gambler. If that is the case then in the next month, and in the midst of a returning pandemic, Britain will face serious issues.
Its economy is already threatened to the point where it cannot maintain critical bridges in London. After October it can expect hostile customs checks, extra trade costs through increasing tariffs on goods and services and a surge in Scotland’s demand for independence. This implies chaos, a new government and the possibility of an awkward awakening to the reality they should always have known – the future of Britain is in Europe. Their role is to help lead the 520 million inhabitants there to a new coalition and to new levels of economic and social success. This realization will have been a long time coming, and it will cap a period of remarkably feckless politics.
Have a good day, James.