If you thought 2016 was bad already, it could be about to get WORSE
Brexit, celebrity deaths, terrorist attacks… if you thought 2016 was already bad enough – here’s how it could get much, much.
So far this year we’ve lost everyone from David Bowie, Prince and Alan Rickman to Victoria Wood, Ronnie Corbett and Terry Wogan – and countless other talented stars of stage and screen in between that we could never have imagined would vanish from our lives in the space of a few months.
Then the world has suffered some appalling tragedies – not least the Orlando nightclub shooting, the biggest peacetime massacre on American soil in history, when 49 people were shot dead in one night.
And now the news that the UK has voted for Brexit has shaken the nation, whichever side you were on.
Lost icon: David Bowie was among the dearly loved people we have already lost in 2016
Think it can’t possibly get any worse? Think again.
Here’s what could happen next:
Who will captain us through this storm?
Humiliated PM David Cameron has already announced he is quitting. Leave champion Boris Johnson – who only a few years ago was best known for appearances on comedy panel TV shows – could be PM by the end of the year.
Or someone else the Tories decide on – Michael Gove or Home Secretary Theresa May for instance – without asking the nation what they think (it didn’t really go so well this time did it?).
Others who could stand include Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb and the pro-Brexit Andrea Leadsom. Whoever wins would then have the challenge of trying to negotiate the UK’s exit from the EU.
Or there could be another General Election – not to mention the weeks of debate and campaigning beforehand that could snap the patience of an already vote-weary nation – could be on the cards.
Of course this could mean Jeremy Corbyn is PM by the end of the year. That’s if Labour don’t dump him beforehand in a bitter struggle that could permanently damage the party. And if you think that’s an exaggeration, has anyone heard from a Lib Dem recently? Corbyn had a vote of no confidence tabled against him by lunchtime today for the lacklustre campaign he ran in Labour heartland curing the referendum.
Then there’s the chaos on the financial markets and damage caused by uncertainty. This began this morning when the pound fell to its lowest value since 1985.
People can’t exactly say they weren’t warned about it either – although those people who said it was scaremongering by the Remain campaign before the vote seem to be suggesting tonight that things will calm down after some “short-term” instability. Do you believe them?
Companies are unlikely with the uncertainty to invest until they know what the plan is for the UK outside of the EU – which could take two years to fathom out, suggesting things are unlikely to be sorted by the end of 2016.
London Stock Exchange won’t appreciate the uncertainty in the economy
Less investment means less jobs created. Multinationals know tonight they will not be able to trade without tariffs to the EU in at least a couple of years time, so some big decisions need to be made. And it affects small businesses too – so it’s not just the big boys who will suffer.
The FTSE 100 closed tonight almost 200 points lower (down 7%) after a wild day of trading – the uncertainty, which will continue, suggests the short-term outlook at least, is not great.
Chancellor George Osborne did not have to step in to suspend trading – but he may have to follow through with his warning of an emergency Brexit budget, which could lead to a rise in taxes for all kinds of people. More news on that is expected when the House of Commons returns to sit next week – but you can be sure that there is some serious number-crunching being done over at the Treasury this weekend.
Meanwhile today the Bank of England has done its best to prevent the fall out by making sure the banks have enough money. Governor Mark Carney said it was prepared to provide £250bn to support the markets – but added that “some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds”.
The FTSE 100 plummeted more than 200 points today – and the pound to its lowest level since 1985
The big worry for mortgage holders is that the Bank’s monetary policy committee will decide to raise interest rates to prevent a falling pound leading to higher inflation. And the ongoing uncertainty could mean this drags on for a couple of years – not just for the rest of this year.
Panic will only set in if investors fear the damage to the UK economy is permanent rather than temporary. And nobody knows for certain yet what will happen. If Cameron had gone immediately he could have fuelled the panic in the markets by adding political turmoil to the economic turmoil – so on the bright side, it could be worse!
Will there even be a UK to be in crisis?
Then there’s the threatened break up of the United Kingdom to consider – with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon today already warning of a second Scottish independence referendum after most Scots voted to stay in the EU.
Moreover, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams now says there is a new reason tonight to reunite Northern and Southern EU-affiliated Ireland after most in the north voted to stay in the EU. Yesterday’s vote could destabilise the peace process if border controls have to be reintroduced, stoking sectarian sentiment.
Home Secretary Theresa May could battle Boris for the top job – but would she want it?
Who will buy whatever it is we make/sell?
Meanwhile back to those two-year negotiations.
Britain does not just have to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU. It will have to strike new agreements with Europe on policing, consumer rights, border control and the environment.
These could all take years to resolve.
The UK will also have to renegotiate trade deals with 53 other countries currently covered by our membership of the EU. Again this could take several years.
Canada and the EU are only now close to sealing a trade deal – more than a decade after talks first started. In the meantime we will be covered by the World Trade Organisation rules but this would see the UK paying tariffs of 10% on car exports.
US President Barack Obama already warned the UK would be “back of the queue” when it came to negotiating a new trade deal with the US, though he will no longer be in office after January next year.
Could Leave champion Boris Johnson be PM within months?
Parliament also faces congestion as MPs unpick EU laws. Some constitutional experts have said it could take up to 10 years to extricate ourselves from all the legislation.
A little known piece of legislation called Article 50 has today suddenly taken on huge international importance.
This is the mechanism by which the UK begins its decoupling from the European Union. The PM had said he will invoke Article 50 immediately after the result – he hasn’t yet… The UK then has two years to negotiate its exit with the EU.
If no deal is forthcoming it can ask for an extension but that would require the approval of all EU member states. But you can be certain it’s not going to happen this year…
Protesters could take to the streets if the economy collapses
And there’s a further catch: the final deal has be agreed by EU leaders via a qualified majority vote, a majority in the European Parliament and by the remaining 27 national parliaments across the EU – so if anyone thought we were no longer beholden to the EU, think again. Anyone could block the deal if they dislike the terms given to the UK and other EU countries may be in no mood to be generous.
There is dispute as to whether Article 50 is irreversible. Some say the wording makes it a one way street – that once you have said you will leave there is no turning back. Certainly that’s been the view of leaders across the Continent today on hearing the news.
This is it – into the big unknown. Wake me up when it’s Christimas…
P.S. If we cannot get a decent deal with the EU the Government could come back to the country for a second referendum. Now wouldn’t that be fun.
P.P.S. You may have heard, the US is holding its election in November – we could be welcoming President Donald Trump to our shores by Christmas.
Don’t have nightmares.