Brexit, “elephant in the room”

HAVENo British Prime Minister since 1945 has been in power for as short a time as Liz Truss, who stepped down on Thursday 20 October after just 44 days in Downing Street. That the European country with the most entrenched democratic system on the continent, on the other hand, is affected by instability is not good news in itself. That a now middle power, but one that counts in the world, is caught in a whirlwind of economic and political crisis, at a time when Russian aggression in Ukraine is testing Europe’s unity and resilience, is not one either.

Dizzily, Liz Truss’ fall was nevertheless announced. The brutality and absurdity of her economic announcements, made by massive tax cuts for the unfunded rich, were sanctioned not only by financial circles – where some had warned her – but by public opinion, shaken by the immediate screwing up of the country where it promised. growth. His face, marked by the dismissal of his finance minister and the abandonment of his own program, had completed the destruction of what little credibility and authority he had left.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers After the resignation of Liz Truss, Britain plunged into a deep and unprecedented political crisis

Failed by Truss can be traced back to his extravagant nomination last summer of 160,000 Conservative party members far away from the country’s political center of gravity. In the British system, the post of Prime Minister is awarded to the leader of the majority party, in this case the Tories, the big winners of the 2019 general election under the leadership of Boris Johnson.

extreme division

Not only did Liz Truss not have the support of Conservative MPs, but her absolutely cynical predecessor did nothing to make her job any easier, quite the contrary. Forced by the scandals to step down in early July, Mr Johnson had hinted he would return to power. Among other things, his name has circulated since Thursday to take over.

But Liz Truss’ express resignation marks, above all, the failure of the promises linked to the historic turning point Britain took six years ago when it decided to leave the European Union (EU). Put forward by Brexit supporters during the 2016 referendum, the project to turn the UK into a tax haven “freed” from the EU’s social, financial and environmental rules had been cautiously set aside by Boris Johnson, obliges Covid-19. Mme Truss wanted to implement it directly. Thereby she created an economic panic and brought the country to the brink.

Still traumatized by the shock of Brexit, its endless negotiations and the extreme division it caused, Britain is struggling to pinpoint its exit from the EU as the trigger for the downgrade and destabilization movement affecting it. Slow growth and investment, slowed exports, risk of secession in Scotland and Northern Ireland: Covid served for a period to mask the damage from Brexit, which had become the “elephant in the room”, the enormity of which few people, even in opposition , wish to see. From this point of view, the transition to power of Mme Truss who claimed “to take advantage of Brexit freedoms”looks like a terrible crash test.

Learning from this can be long and painful. But it is hard to see how the UK can return to the path of stability and prosperity without emerging from denial and silence about the consequences of a decision that isolated and cut it off from its neighbors and natural partners on the continent.

Also read: Liz Truss resignation in the United Kingdom: the new Prime Minister will be appointed by October 28 by the Conservative Party

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