As well as the inauguration of President Trump to look forward to, although I would rather avoid the coverage, this week like many in the whole period since the result in June, has given much to talk about. I have picked three that caught my eye the most:
Firstly the pound has slumped to a 31-year low today with investors concerned by reports that Theresa May is heading for a hard Brexit from the EU. The pound has dropped 19% against the US dollar since the 24th June, with last October another low point, not long after the Conservative Party Conference, with the news we would leave the bloc by 2019. The pound’s latest drop comes ahead of a of a speech by Mrs May tomorrow (Tuseday), in which she is expected to spell out Britain’s negotiating strategy for Brexit.
Secondly power sharing in Northern Ireland is on the verge of collapse after Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness pulled out of the executive last week, over how a government scheme funded by the taxpayer was handled. From this evening, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire will have the authority to trigger new elections, in the hope that new politicians will be returned to the parliament and power-sharing can then continue. An election has now been called for the 2nd March however if still issues and Stormont is collapsed, Theresa May might be unable to trigger Article 50 and begin the withdrawal process from the EU, as Northern Irish politicians will not be sitting in parliament. This could lead a delay of several months as NI politicians would not be able to approve Brexit plans.
Thirdly in his first UK interview with former Justice Secretary Michael Gove for the Times; Mr Trump boosted Brexit supporters’ hopes of a quick US-UK trade deal, which would begin soon after 2019. However Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, raised the prospect of the UK being forced to agree to unpopular aspects if any agreement was rushed. Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the interview had exposed Mr Trump’s opposition to helping refugees and environmental protections and his backing for President Putin. Tim Said: “I don’t know the shape of the Europe that Trump dreams of but I know it frightens me.”
This eventful and divisive period in the history of the country, has shown up many flaws in a referendum campaign I don’t believe should of been allowed in the first place. There was no proper plan for a Leave win before the 23rd June, and nothing has given me confidence since. The thought of leaving also makes me feel sick and have a sense of dread, similar words used by Monica Grady, of the Open University on BBC Question time last week. The whole talk of Brexit has really shown how polarised political views in the country have become, and I really hope politicians and the electorate can be shown what the next step means, before we jump to take us all down that road.