BREXIT, it’s the headline code for Great Britain’s exit from the European Union, as in this headline: BREXIT: IT’S REAL, IT’S COMING, BUT IT’S NOT HERE YET.
BREXIT became real in June, when 52% of voters in the United Kingdom checked LEAVE on their ballots in a national referendum. BREXIT is almost certainly coming because new Prime Minister Theresa May says it will. She would prefer it to start the exit process herself, as Prime Minister and as the voice of the voters. But a High Court has said, it needs approval from Parliament.
The PM will appeal to the Supreme Court, and if she loses again, go through the aggravation of winning in Parliament. Even that route is considered almost certain.
But, it’s not here yet.
And there are at least 2 scenarios that could lead to a direct or an indirect “second referendum, in which the BREXIT train could be stopped well short of the station.
But BREXIT has already had its effects. It ended the career of a still relatively young, still relatively popular Prime Minister, David Cameron, and suddenly elevated Theresa May to the top job. Cameron had to go because he was against BREXIT (although he was the guy who created the mechanism that made BREXIT possible). May got the job because the 2 leading lights of the BREXIT campaign got stage fright. May’s big qualification was her promise to see BREXIT through. Before the vote, she’d been against it.
Even the anticipation of BREXIT has its effects on the economy, for example. Since the shock in June, nothing has happened, except Prime Minister May’s schedule has been announced: BREXIT negotiations before the end of March, to be successfully completed within 2 years. British consumers have gotten the message: BREXIT’S REAL, AND IT’S COMING and they are doing a lot of spending and a near-record amount of borrowing. The Government line on this is – Great, shows what a robust and confident economy we have.
But there are reasons to believe the opposite is true. Everyone from the BREXIT voter in the boondocks to the academics at Oxford and the money people in The City of London knows the first effect of BREXIT is likely to be a jolt of perhaps even double-digit inflation in 2017. That’s what’s predicated this little buying burst. People are spending now when things are cheaper. And it’s not out of confidence, recent surveys show consumer confidence in Great Britain is at record lows.
One more effect. Not for centuries has the United Kingdom been so potentially dis-united. Scotland voted strongly to STAY in the EU. Northern Ireland also was Stay-majority. Secession movements in both places are stronger because of BREXIT.
So many impacts, and yet, it’s not here yet.
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Gregory Katz is the London Bureau Chief for the Associated Press. He has led, often from the front lines, his bureau’s wide-ranging coverage of the BREXIT issue from its beginnings.