BFP10: 7.11-13.11 That’s not my Brexit
British politics is still operating in the shadow of the mini-budget of 23 September and the uncertainty of the forthcoming 17 November budge. Everyone expects Hunt to make unpopular decisions to deal with Liz Truss’s £30 billion legacy. Some, however, query the very idea of a fiscal black hole to fill, seeing in it a destructive narrative taking hold that must be challenged. Meanwhile the world of foreign policy has been busy but routine. Brexit issues, Cop27, migration, and the first Remembrance Sunday service attended by the King and a line-up of seven former PMs.
Here then are my British Foreign Policy 10 from the week when we all had to endure the spectacle of a former Heath Secretary making a fool of himself on the other side of the world: 10 of the best reports, podcasts, twitter threads speeches etc. that I’ve added to my Zotero database this past week.
‘This isn’t the Brexit I voted for’ was always going to be a recurring complaint given the Leave campaigns never offered a united plan for what Brexit would mean. Chris Grey wrote a whole book about how this has bedevilled Brexit. This week it was the turn of the head of Next, Lord Wolfson, to voice the complaint: Brexit-backing Next boss says UK needs more overseas workers
Staying on the topic of Brexit, 'Why is the UK struggling more than any other big country?' asks the BBC ‘Indeed the data shows "global challenges" are hitting the UK harder than other major economies - that Britain has a bespoke supply problem, worsening economic trade-offs. The first year of the pandemic damaged the UK more than most economies. This was the textbook expectation from many economic experts of the government's approach to post-Brexit policy. It is more difficult for small businesses, especially, to trade with Europe, and the UK, by design, now has more limited access to pools of European workers. As a result the economy is less productive, less resilient, less flexible and less responsive.’
The UK discovered 1,400 more EU laws on its books, adding to pressures to reverse plans to remove all EU laws from the UK's statue books.
Bobby McDonagh, former Irish ambassador to London, looks at what the recent census data shows about British-Irish relations: Irishness and Britishness now sit more comfortably together than at any time in history.
The Telegraph reports the USA is putting pressure on both the EU and UK to reach agreement over the Northern Ireland protocol in advance of a planned visit by Biden in April 2023. Bloomberg reports a deal is getting closer. According to Bloomberg negotiations are close to a breakthrough.
Will Lloyd at Unheard looks at the radical new right’s young (and angry) Brexit generation. ‘They are not like Farage: Thatcher’s children — they are his children. They like Farage’s positions on British identity and borders, not markets. They hoot their affection at Farage, not for what he says about free trade but for the way he says it.’
Did the UK achieve anything at Cop27? Bloomberg reports the UK's reputation on climate change is slipping. '"I spend most of my time reminding people that they haven’t done enough," says John Gummer, a former environment secretary and Conservative Party supporter who chairs the Climate Change Committee, which monitors government progress on net zero.'
1 in 25 of people over 16 is a veteran, according to data from the 2021 census, which for the first time included a question about veterans. Analysis provided by the House of Commons Library.
Robert Colvile gives a moving piece in The Sunday Times - The war cost my dad his youth. Countless Ukrainians are paying the same price today - connecting his own father’s service, the war in Ukraine, and Remembrance Sunday. He links to the deeply touching Great War Epitaphs twitter feed, which has been capturing the inscriptions (66 letters maximum) from the graves of the First World War, often written by the parents of the deceased.
And finally… in a surprise to absolutely nobody who thought seriously about these things, plans for a new royal yacht have been shelved. The plans join a shelf already filled with Johnsonian ideas for bridges, tunnels, and estuary airports.