by Frank Schnittger
Thu Jul 14th, 2016 at 11:59:02 AM EST
With Labour stuck in what seems like an interminable leadership struggle, the Tories are wasting no time putting together a new order post Brexit. Within days of losing the Brexit referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron is gone, replaced by Theresa May, and she has just sacked more cabinet ministers in a few hours than Cameron did in his 6 years in Office.
George Osborne, Michel Gove, Oliver Letwin, John Whittingdale, Teresa Villiers and Nicky Morgan have all been sacked while devout Christian and leadership candidate, Stephen Crabb, has resigned apparently for sexting a women who is not his wife. Presumably Johnson and Gove cold not have been expected to serve in the same Cabinet after the latter stabbed Johnson in the front...
But it is the early appointments she has made which are the more interesting: She has put three of the top Brexiteers in charge of foreign relations: Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, Liam Fox in charge of a new Department for international Trade, and David Davis in charge of the Brexit negotiations themselves. None will appeal to the Europeans. Boris Johnson is hated for his persistent lies, and his appointment has been the subject of much derision worldwide.
It will now be on the Brexiteer's head if they fail to come up with a good deal, and if they fail to realize all the wonderful opportunities for Trade with the rest of the world which Brexit was supposed to open up. One has to ask whether May is even serious about coming up with any kind of a deal, witness the French response to Boris Johnson's appointment:
In Paris, Johnson has long been seen as an outrageous "French-basher" and bizarre English eccentric, once summed up by Le Monde as "a Monty Python-style politician who appears to avoid taking things seriously".
His appointment as foreign secretary was met with a degree of appalled surprise from French media and commentators, many of whom had been shocked by what was seen as the intellectual dishonesty of some of Johnson's comments during the referendum campaign, namely when he likened the EU to a project by Adolf Hitler.
But he is best known for what has been seen as his relentless "French bashing" and endless quest for hammy punchlines at the expense of France. France bristled when, at the Conservative party conference in 2012, he said he welcomed "talented French people" who wanted to flee François Hollande's tax rises, adding that France had been "captured by sans culottes" running a tyranny of the like not seen since the French revolution.
Jean Quatremer, Brussels correspondent for the French daily Libération, referred to Johnson's reputation as a liar by tweeting that his appointment "shows what Britain's word is worth".
David Davis may have been put in charge of the actual detailed negotiations, but it seems that Johnson will set the tone of future relations with the EU. I doubt a deal will be done within the two year time frame, and then the UK will be out on their ear without any deal whatsoever. A deal subsequent to the two year Article 50 period is unlikely because that would require unanimity among the EU's members and could be blocked by Malta, if it so wished. Having derided the EU's lack of democracy for so long, the UK would then be hoist on the petard of excessive democracy within the EU.
One also has to ask how long this Government can last, what with a majority of only 12 and many bruised egos among the sacked cabinet ministers. Will a failure to secure any kind of favourable Brexit deal provoke a new general election? Will the UK economy decline into persistent recession despite Krugman's skepticism about the short term negative impact of Brexit? Is the market hysteria over the "uncertainty" bug merely the flip side of the illusive "confidence fairy" he has so oft derided?
Some things are more important than German car exports. The EU was built for the long haul and it's stability is now in doubt. I suspect the EU will bide it's time all the while maintaining internal stability by demonstrating the perils of schism. Ultimately I expect Scotland to break free and rejoin the EU, and N. Ireland to melt down - peacefully, I hope. Everybody wins, except the Brits, and perhaps the Irish...
But we are now at the mercy of events. Labour need to get their act together in the UK, and soon. In normal times, the Brexit vote would have been a policy disaster that would have destroyed any government. Right now its seems that the Tories can get away with anything because there is no effective opposition. Who is there to represent the 48% who voted remain and who are increasingly aghast at the more recent turn of events?