How is Britain’s exit from the European Union going? British politics at home and abroad are ridiculed
Written by Gavin Jones
RomeOct 17 – The UK’s political and economic turmoil has met with little convincing satisfaction among pro-European politicians and leftists abroad, with some commentators drawing parallels with anarchic Italy.
New UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt unveiled a series of budget measures on Monday, two weeks ahead of schedule, in his race to stem the dramatic loss of investor confidence in Prime Minister Liz Truss’s government.
“How is Brexit going?” Veteran Belgian politician Guy Verhofstadt, an ardent supporter of Europe, wrote in a tweet on Twitter on Saturday. “One thing is certain: the chaos did not start in 2022, but in 2016,” he added, referring to the British referendum to leave the European Union.
Spain’s prime minister, Socialist Pedro Sanchez, referred to Truss’ original proposals for tax cuts as the British crisis erupted last week.
“We also affirm that the opposite path, the neoliberal life, failed in the previous crisis, created a lot of suffering and will again lead to failure for those who follow it, as we have just seen in the UK,” he told Spanish parliamentarians.
On Friday, Truss fired his Treasury Secretary, Kwasi Quarting, and replaced him with Hunt, canceling parts of the government’s economic package, after it caused financial markets to crash, including a sharp drop in the value of the pound.
With the Conservative Party slipping in the polls, social media has been filled with memes and jokes gloating over their problems.
“Did you hear that Kwarteng came back from the US primarily? They obviously don’t want him in business or economics,” read a joke circulating on Twitter referring to Kwarteng’s hasty return from Washington to be fired by Truss.
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Outside of Europe, US President Joe Biden has called Britain’s plan to scrap the highest tax rate of 45% a “mistake”.
Biden, a Democrat, frequently criticizes the “gradual” conservative economic policies associated in the United States with former President Ronald Reagan and Republicans. This theory argues that tax cuts and other aid to large corporations and the upper classes will end up benefiting society as a whole.
“I think the idea of cutting taxes on the richest at a time … I don’t agree with that policy, but it’s up to the UK to judge,” he told reporters in Oregon on Saturday.
Even the deeply conservative British newspaper The Telegraph, which backed the Brexit referendum, admitted in a column on Sunday that its economic goals had failed.
“The transformation of the United Kingdom into the new Italy almost complete” was the main title of the article, which drew many parallels between economic decline and political instability in both countries.
The United Kingdom has had four prime ministers in the past six years, a new trend similar to Rome’s recurring unstable governments.
Leaders who were in Washington last week for International Monetary Fund meetings said the turmoil in London could be a useful lesson for indebted Italy, which has just elected a right-wing coalition that is also promising unfunded tax cuts.
“Maybe we have a lesson to learn, because what happened showed how volatile the situation is, and therefore how careful we must be with our fiscal and monetary mix,” Paolo Gentiloni, Italy’s European Economics Commissioner, said at a press conference. , without naming Italy directly.
Other senior officials in Washington were more frank, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The UK example of how quickly and forcefully markets can turn against it is likely to dictate caution in Italian politics. “I’m sure Rome is keeping a close eye on what’s happening in the UK,” said a senior eurozone official.
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