This blog is designed to record the investment journey of a UK based small investor. I hope to make a modest contribution to the collective wealth of investing knowledge made freely available to ordinary people. I am the author of five books [see sidebar and books tab]
Fortunately I still have a pretty good memory...in
June 2016 we voted to leave the EU. For many people, especially in the North of
England,it was a long-awaited chance to
make the powerful elites in London listen. Shamefully, our politicians failed
to take on board the simple message given to them by the people and we spent
the next three years going round in circles.
After losing her majority in an ill-advised
general election in June 2017, Mrs May spent the next year putting together her
Chequers Agreement with the assistance of arch-remainers Phil Hammond and Olly
Robbins - a deal of sorts which pleased neither remainer or leaver and wasn't
really Brexit. The deal could have kept us trapped in the backstop arrangements
and undermine our negotiating position with the EU over a future trade deal.
Fortunately our remain Parliament rejected this deal - three times, and Mrs May
was forced to agree to extend the leaving date from 31st March to 31st October.
She then decided to step down and hand over the reins to Boris Johnson who
promised to ditch the backstop and renegotiate a better deal. He promised to
take us out of the EU 'do or die' by Halloween!
Much to everyone's surprise, his team did manage
to negotiate a new deal and actually succeeded where Theresa May had
previously failed by getting the new deal approved in Parliament at its second
reading with the help of some Labour MPs from leave voting areas. Unfortunately
time was tight and the remain Parliament voted for more time to debate the bill
which Boris was not prepared to offer and eventually he was forced to apply for
a further Brexit extension to 31st January. The opposition then eventually
agreed to the PM's demand to dissolve Parliament and call a general election
for 12th December to try to resolve the Brexit deadlock.
This would be the Brexit election - the most
important general election since 1979 and the first GE in December for almost a
century. The lines of demarcation were clear - the Tories wanted a clear majority
to complete the 'oven-ready' deal already negotiated and leave the EU by end
January 2020 "Let's get Brexit done". Labour's position was less
clear - they would renegotiate a further deal with the EU (no certainty the EU
would negotiate a third time), then put this new deal to the public in a second
referendum with 'remain' on the ballot and Mr Corbyn would remain 'neutral' on
the question of whether to leave or remain although many senior figures say
they would campaign to remain. The Lib Dems would revoke Article 50 if they won
the election and remain in the EU - no second referendum.
So, a weary nation returned once again to the
polling stations and guess what...they voted to see the back of Brexit rather
than more delay. The Tories won 365 seats (+47), Labour 203 (-59), it's worst result since 1935 and the Lib
Dems a paltry 11 seats and their leader lost her own seat. In Scotland the SNP
made a little progress on their ticket to avoid Brexit and push for a second independence referendum and raised their seats
to 48. Therefore a majority of 80 for Boris Johnson and it can now surely be announced
that we are, at last, after three long years of delay, uncertainty and frustration, leaving
the EU on 31st January 2020!
Brexit clearly played a big part in how people
voted but I think the other defining factor was the rejection of a hard left
Corbyn government and lots of feedback from Labour canvassing which suggested many voters just did not see him as a credible leader of the country. Mr Corbyn has already
announced he will not lead the Party into the next election so it will be
interesting to see whether they persist with the same formula which has lost
them the last three GEs. They now have five years to get their act together...next GE will be 2024 (December again?).
We had the vote in 2016
So a good night for those who want us to leave the
EU and a bad night for those who refuse to accept the referendum. In 2015, we
voted for the party which promised us an in/out referendum on the EU. In that
referendum of June 2016 we voted to leave the EU. We had another election in 2017
where 85% of the MPs were elected on manifestos promising to respect the
referendum result, 500 MPs voted to trigger Article 50 and now we've voted
overwhelmingly for the only party promising to deliver Brexit. I'm hoping the
liberal graduate remainers from London and Oxford have finally accepted that
the majority of the people of this country want
to leave the EU...but somehow I doubt it.
I can just see Barry Blimp metaphorically raising
the Union Jack up the flagpole and waving a two finger salute to that People's
Vote poster on his office wall which he's been using as a dart board! He allows
himself a self-satisfied smile at the thought that democracy has finally prevailed
- as he always knew it would.
OK it's not all done and dusted - so now we have to
move on to the next stage of trade negotiations with Europe and with other
nations around the world which could be just as tricky but the log-jam of the past couple of years is released and I really hope our
new parliament can move on to address other important issues - especially
the climate emergency.
Feel free to leave a comment below with your
thoughts on Brexit and the general election.