Brexit

UK elections: the perfect blue wave

For over an hour now it has been clear what was already apparent last night in the exit polls: the Conservative Party, led by Boris Johnson, won the parliamentary elections with a large majority. The party managed to win 362 seats (plus 66), the largest absolute majority for the Tories since 1987, then under Margaret Thatcher. The Labour Party, on the other hand, suffered heavy losses, as did the Liberal Democrats. Jeremy Corbyn has already announced his resignation, while LibDems leader Jo Swinson has even lost her constituency. The only big winner alongside the Conservatives is the Scottish SNP, which has managed to make significant gains. Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has already announced that she will use this victory to push ahead with her plans for Scottish independence. The new parliament will look radically different. While the conservative faction is likely to become much more homogeneous and the inner-party quarrels…

Brexit – a synonym for political failure

None of the eight Brexit alternatives that were put to the vote yesterday in the lower house of the British Parliament was able to command a majority. The initiatives in favour of a customs union and a so-called “confirmatory vote,” in which population would have the last word on any agreement with the EU, attracted the most support. So the Brexit drama drags on, fuelling doubts about the UK’s political institutions. It is hard to imagine a more compelling sign of political failure. It would hardly be surprising if disenchantment with politics were to increase as a result. We still continue to assume there will be an orderly Brexit. However, there is an increasing likelihood that the United Kingdom will leave the EU on 12 April in a disorderly process. The warnings about the consequences that would follow this that are coming not only from the British economy, but also…

Brexit: A second referendum after all?

After much prevarication, Jeremy Corbyn as head of the Labour Party yesterday publicly came out in favour of a second referendum. His decision is not so much the product of his political convictions and more of strategic calculations: Now that several Labour MPs have quit the party and founded the “Independent Group” (TIG), Corbyn is under immense pressure to unite his party again. There are grounds for doubting whether his support for a second referendum will have the desired liberating effect on the logjam. Firstly, Corbyn must now face down those Labour MPs whose constituencies favoured exiting the EU in the original referendum. In 2016, there were no less than 72 Labour MPs in such constituencies. Although surveys suggest that many of the latter have since switched sides and favour ‘remaining’, there is still a significant number of Labour MPs (current estimates suggest 25) who will refuse to obey the…