Sunak talks ‘fairytale’ economy – let’s not forget he backed Brexit, the biggest ‘fairytale’ of them all


The new PM has firmly sided with those who claimed the country would have a better future outside the EU

October 26, 2022 1:05 p.m.(Update 1:07 p.m.)

Much joy is expressed about President Joe Biden mispronouncing the new prime minister name as “Rashee Sanook”. Many see it as a demonstration of the confusion of the rest of the world in the ride of British leaders. Some are taking the opportunity to brush off Biden, saying he was quite confused initially.

I doubt it matters that much: world leaders tend to know surprisingly little about allied and hostile states because they focus only on their own domestic politics. Biden’s attention will be fixed these days on the congressional midterm elections and his own prospects in the 2024 presidential election. More important for Rishi Sunak will be Britain’s actual stance, regardless of recognition of the name or lack thereof.

A telling but negative omen about her abilities may not be getting enough attention due to the outpouring of relief that Liz Truss has left Downing Street and Boris Johnson is not going to return. There are optimistic discourse on the care of “adults” finally encouraging memories of Sunak’s success in mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic. He presents himself as the cold-blooded financial expert happily in control with the skill and experience to avoid the oncoming rocks.

But keep in mind that Sunak supported Brexit. He voted to leave the EU, even without a withdrawal agreement. This is one of the reasons why Steve Baker and many Brexit leaders gave him decisive support last weekend. On the most critical economic decision facing Britain since 1945, the new Prime Minister firmly sided with those who argued the country would have a better future outside the EU.

Sunak’s jibe at Truss during the Tory’s summer leadership campaign that she was indulging in ‘fairytale economics’ has been replayed endlessly on television in recent days. But no channel I’ve seen shows Sunak telling even more dire “fairy tales” about the benefits to Britain of putting up trade barriers with its biggest market.

The devastating impact of Brexit was highlighted this month by Mark Carney, who served for seven years as head of the Bank of England. He cited some damning statistics. Asked in an interview about the economic consequences of Brexit, he said: “In other words, in 2016 the UK economy was 90% the size of Germany’s. Today it is less than 70%. And this calculation was made before today.

The Brexit referendum and subsequent unrest accelerated Britain’s decline caused by a decade of austerity. The country has become less and less able to withstand external shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine – and the divisions and contortions of its own government.

Sunak comes off as a pair of safe hands after the Truss and Johnson comic opera, but he’s complicit as a true believer in a decision that nearly every economic pundit says has only self-harmed in Great Britain. Brittany. He may get a vote of sympathy because he inherits deep issues, but he shares the responsibility for creating them in the first place.

Brexit has reignited the Irish question, which has plagued British politics for centuries and now threatens the 1998 Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. The dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol is really about Irish partition, which has become an international issue with which Sunak has no interest. good options.

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Go too far to meet the anti-protocol demands of the conservative right and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and it is alienating the Republic of Ireland, the EU and, especially for the UK, the US. He will likely try to deceive and delay negotiations to avoid a trade war with the EU. But any dispute involving Northern Ireland has so many moving parts that it is largely unsolvable and has its own momentum beyond the control of Westminster governments – as many British prime ministers have learned the hard way.

Immigration is another dangerous problem that is not quite what it seems. Many supported Brexit and the Tories because they wanted immigration to fall, but instead it rose dramatically, doubling to 1.1 million in June this year from 2018-19 .

The government has yet to be touched by a larger dispute over this, as public attention is focused on the 38,000 people crossing the canal illegally in small boats and not the much higher figure of legal immigrants.

Sunak may increase legal immigration to encourage growth, but continues to publicize the deportation to Rwanda as a gimmick to claim the government is trying to limit immigration. This policy was beginning to unravel in Truss’s final days, as shown by his last-minute dismissal of Home Secretary Suella Braverman. His reappointment by Sunak suggests he may be resurrected.

Standing on Ukraine will be one of Sunak’s easiest tasks, but an endless war in Ukraine, with every sign of the conflict escalating, means high oil and gas prices. Neither Britain nor the EU really knows how to break the impasse in Ukraine, except to hope for a complete defeat of Russia or the overthrow of President Vladimir Putin.

As in Afghanistan and Iraq, British policy will remain in step with the White House, regardless of Biden’s inability to remember the exact name of the British prime minister.


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