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31 Jan, 2020 23:24

A pivot to China, a stronger economy or total collapse? Politicians & experts on what’s next for the UK post-Brexit

A pivot to China, a stronger economy or total collapse? Politicians & experts on what’s next for the UK post-Brexit

With Brexit done, where is Britain headed next? Will London allignwith Washington, Beijing, or both? Will the departure usher in a new era of prosperity, or the collapse of the UK itself? RT spoke to experts and politicians.

Business as usual, but pivoting to China

John Laughland, academic and author:

Boris Johnson is, you know, very close to Donald Trump. Trump may well be reelected, and that means that for four years Johnson will have in Trump a strong political ally, and he will seek to capitalize on that. 

I think it’s pretty unlikely that relations with Russia will improve. Johnson was foreign secretary during the Skripal affair, and he at that time spoke in very strong terms against Russia. Shortly after he became foreign secretary, he went to Moscow in an attempt to improve relations, and as he sees it, Moscow’s response was to poison people in Salisbury, so he took it as a personal affront. He even said, after he’d left office as foreign secretary, “I hate that regime,” referring to Russia.

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For some years now, including under David Cameron, Britain has been operating a pivot towards China. There’s a nuclear plant station built in Britain, which will be owned by China, the mobile telephone network is going to be built by Huawei, in spite of US protests. So there’s a long-term pivot towards China, and when you think about it, this is possibly the economic logic behind Brexit. If Brexit is to be summed up in one simple slogan it’s that Britain is leaving the low-growth zone of the European Union, and is pivoting towards the high-growth economies of America and China.

Britain must find its voice

Nathan Gill, Brexit Party MEP for Wales:

It is going to be crucial as Britain’s chance to forge its own direction and way in the world.  For too long our foreign secretary has had no real power and had to do what a collective of foreign secretaries agreed. An independent nation doesn’t do that. We decide what is best for Britain, what friendships are best. We decide whether we want to impose sanctions on nations, and won’t allow other people to tell us whether we can or can’t.

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Negotiating trade deal with Europe the next challenge

Chris Williamson, former Labour MP for Derby North:

I don’t think that people will notice any difference initially. I think that over time things will start to materialize that could be problematic, and I think that one of the things, of course, is travel. The freedom of movement that we are currently enjoying, and how that will be impacted, remains to be seen.

Negotiating a trade agreement with the EU bloc by the end of the year will be challenging, but I don’t think it’s impossible. I think in any event the fact that Britain has its own sovereign currency gives Britain enormous flexibility to ensure that we can minimize any negative impact.

Obviously the government needs to be looking to build trading agreements with nations throughout the world, not just the European Union. I’m sure that will be challenging, but I don’t think it is beyond the realm of possibility, whether or not this particular government has the political acumen and the political will to deliver a deal that works in the interests of the vast majority of the public, it remains to be seen.

The literal disintegration of the UK

Afshin Rattansi, journalist and RT TV host:


What today does arguably presage is ten months of the literal disintegration of the UK. Boris Johnson’s electorally winning EU deal means the path to a united Ireland has been arguably paved. Scotland refuses to abide by the referendum. Meanwhile, Johnson – the first American-born UK Prime Minister – is already showing signs that his balancing act between the largest trade bloc in the world and the US tilts to Washington. While trying to finesse the Huawei 5G investment deal against the wishes of the Trump administration, Johnson’s unilateral support for the Trump “deal of the century,” demonstrates that the UK is tied to US exceptionalism.

Brexit makes Scottish independence less likely

David Coburn, former UKIP MEP for Scotland:

Scots may have voted to remain in the EU but so did London, and like London they voted as part of the UK, so it’s the UK vote that counts. Scotland no more than London is going to become independent of the UK.

Scots are not stupid and know it is more important for Scotland to be part of the UK as most of Scotland’s business is done with England, not the EU. There would have to be a frontier with England because of EU freedom of movement and immigration and no Scot wants that.

Furthermore the Scottish deficit is nine percent and England’s three percent. The EU will only accept a country running a yearly deficit of three percent. Scots know the SNP would have to implement severe austerity measures, or the Scottish government would be replaced by EU technocrats, like Greece.

So much for Scottish independence.

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Irish nationalists will surge, but not because of Brexit

Clare Daly, independent MEP for Dublin:

I think Sinn Féin will do very well in the southern Irish election, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the border, more in opposition to the huge problems of housing, health, and inequality, while nominally the county has become richer. 

The government has failed to deliver on these key questions. Fianna Fáil as the main ‘opposition’ kept them in power and Sinn Féin is best placed to benefit from the discontent, although the votes will go everywhere.The Greens will gain and some smaller parties and independents will keep some of their seats.

Regarding how much a mood for unity will develop, it really depends on what happens with the post-Brexit arrangements. Unity is a practical route for northerners who voted to remain in the EU to get back, but it remains to be seen what support a referendum would have.

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