Brexit daily update, 30th June: At least Cheddar Bob has friends

Posted July 1, 2016 in politics  |  No Comments so far

What’s your favourite analogy for Brexit? Mine is based on the Eminem movie 8 Mile.

There’s a scene where Eminem’s mates get into a fist fight with some rivals. It’s all kicking off when suddenly Cheddar Bob, the most ramshackle and haphazard of Eminem’s friends, surprises everyone by pulling out a gun and waving it round. The fighting immediately stops and everyone’s terrified, even Cheddar Bob’s friends are terrified, because the way he’s holding it makes it absolutely clear that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.

I know, it’s already sounding a lot like Brexit isn’t it? At this point in the story it’s probably like Brexit around six months ago, where the squabbling Detroiters are European countries, Cheddar Bob is Cameron, and the gun is the plan to hold the Brexit referendum.

"I'm gong to hold a referendum!"

“Stand back, I’m gong to hold a referendum”

Wait, though, it gets even more like Brexit. Cheddar Bob is shouted at by his own terrified friends and ordered to put the gun away. “OK, OK,” he says and, with everyone staring at him, puts the gun back into his trousers. But he’s forgotten to put the safety on, so the gun goes off and he shoots himself in the groin.

Oops... I lost the referendum


Panic descends as Bob passes out from shock. The other gang runs away while Cheddar Bob’s friends bundle him into a car and off to hospital.

This is where the Brexit analogy breaks down, of course—because, unlike Cheddar Bob, we have no friends.





This morning, on the way into work, I was wondering about doing these every other day. The pace of events is surely going to slow down, I thought. Yesterday evening I met a neighbour on the street and we were talking about all of this: “it’s going to be a marathon, not a sprint”, I’d said. “It has to slow down sooner or later.”

I hadn’t been in the office for long when this happened.

This tweet actually looks quite innocuous in retrospect. But it set in train the events of the rest of the day, a backstabby Game of Thrones-esque saga of treachery and betrayal in which the Conservatives put the recent Labour infighting in the shade.

It was interesting at this point because Gove and Boris Johnson had been allies during the “successful” Leave campaign (I put “successful” in scare quotes because it’s turned out to be a pyrrhic victory) and Gove had been putting it about that he was going to support Johnson. So this announcement that he was actually standing and that Boris Johnson, what’s more, “cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead”, was tantamount to sliding a knife into your best friend’s back. The leaked email from yesterday now made sense.

A couple of hours later Johnson gave a press conference at which he was expected to launch his own campaign for the Tory leadership. That isn’t what happened.

All this had happened so quickly that much of the Tory press had already been mobilised in support of Boris Johnson. These newspapers had hit the shops only hours before and were now completely out of date.

The reaction was almost universally hostile. Michael Heseltine was particularly brutal:

He has ripped the Tory party apart, he has created the greatest constitutional crisis in peacetime in my life. He has knocked billions off the value of the savings of the British people.
[He’s like] “a general who marches his army to the sound of the guns and the moment he sees the battleground he abandons it… The pain of it will be felt by all of us and, if it doesn’t get resolved shortly, by a generation to come yet.

For a while Johnson’s withdrawal seemed to cheer the financial markets, but not for long:

You might remember that yesterday I tried to debunk the “FTSE is doing well” talking point. Today I was going to debunk the “pound is rallying!” talking point, but reality ended up doing that for me when the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, did a live TV broadcast at 4pm. I was watching it at work with some currency charts on screen at the same time and saw this happen as he literally walked up to the podium:


This doesn’t mean that Carney messed up, of course. Pushing the exchange rate downwards can be a sensible thing to do as it helps exporters and reduces the risk of calamitous plunges later on. But it is still a sign that the economy is headed for recession.

Some final points from the day. It’s becoming depressingly clear that racism is indeed on the rise in Brexit Britain:

Incidents of racism in the wake of the EU referendum result have increased dramatically, according to the latest figures.
Complaints filed to police online hate-crime reporting site True Vision have increased fivefold since last Thursday, the National Police Chiefs Council said, with 331 hate crime incidents reported to the site compared with a weekly average of 63.

And, again, London isn’t immune:

Theresa May, another candidate for the Tory leadership, has indicated that expelling EU nationals from the country is going to be a point for discussion in the forthcoming negotiations. Just think for a moment of what that would entail, how that would work logistically.

So yes, it’s still fun here in the land of Brexit. See you tomorrow!

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