The UK Brexit referendum took place on 23rd June 2016 and the result shocked many across the UK, across Europe and the world.
For the last three and a half years countless forecasts have tried to predict the effect of Brexit on the UK. We are still today however looking at a myriad of possibilities and the forthcoming general election is possibly the most complex and difficult to predict in recent history. Our primary concern being to report on the potential impact and effects of Brexit on the UK hospitality industry.
If the conservatives continue in government with a majority enabling decisions to be actioned, some are predicting the UK will see a government akin to Thatcherism on steroids. Whilst Prime Minister Johnson has shown liberal conservative views on occasions, his cabinet is as right of centre as any and he seems to revel in their company, if not always their views. From a hospitality industry Brexit perspective Home Secretary Priti Patel seems hell bent on ensuring migration is a thing of the past, an is even amused by the prospect.
If the conservatives do win it seems likely that a deal modified to the right of Prime Minister Johnson’s current Brexit deal would be implemented. Where replacements for the millions of migrant workers in hospitality will come from is a mystery that will cause many if not most hospitality businesses endless heartache and countless closures.
If labour wins, Jeremy Corbin who identifies his political ideology as democratic socialist is seen by some as a dyed in the wool Trotskyist, would be our new Prime Minister. With the departure last week of Tom Watson, like the conservatives a centre vacuum is apparent in the Labour Party. Rising stars, or Corbynistas such as Richard Burgon MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor is certainly no centrist and would help shape Labour policy. As Shadow Secretary of State for Justice his memory is poor, some have come out and said he is a liar, and his views are for all to see and hear, anti-Semitic. The claims and counter claims of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party are well documented on The BBC website here. The ideology of Napoleon and the pigs who control the government in the novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell would seem to fit well alongside the ideology of Richard Burgon. The video of Richard Burgon denying what he said, and of him saying precisely what he denied at a political speech, can be watched here. He is shown passionately campaigning for the resignations of Labour Party MPs who are members of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’.
In a post Brexit UK hospitality industry under a Labour Party the £10 per hour minimum wage would pose many difficulties. It like many Labour policies is idealistic and potentially would do more harm than good.
If labour sees an election win, they would renegotiate a left of centre Brexit deal and then hold a second referendum, where they are likely, but unconfirmed, to campaign against their new deal. For the hospitality industry and the rest of the UK this does seem set to only confuse matters further.
With the two superpowers of UK politics offering diametrically opposed extreme options to the right and left, the centre ground does seem somewhat vacant.
The absence of a centre ground away from the extremes of left and right would seem an opportunity for the UK’s traditional third runners, the Liberal Democrats to try and occupy. Not a bit of it.
Under the leadership of Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrats have taken a position on Brexit that is neither liberal nor democratic. Their stance is to revoke article 50 ignoring the result of the 2016 referendum. This will undoubtedly lead to more seats in Parliament post the next election, but surely at the cost of revoking Liberal Democrat principles at the same time. It has to said that it is a masterstroke in Machiavellian strategic play.
The ‘Liberal Democratic’ view here is simply to ignore the plebs (the people) and without further ado implement a 180 degree reversal of the result of the Brexit referendum. The political class in Parliament across all parties has received much criticism over recent times for adopting a ‘we know best’ view. Jo Swinson’s adoption of it as the election call of her party will in all likelihood pay off in seats, the cost however in the years ahead could be much higher than factored.
The odds currently with bookmakers of Jo Swinson becoming Prime Minister are around 16-1, so we adopt a view similar to the BBC’s, who are not inviting her to join the Leaders Debate, in not forecasting a Brexit outcome effect for the UK hospitality industry of a Liberal Democrat win. It won’t happen.
Nigel Farage in many people’s eyes is the Godfather of Brexit and a political figure hard to ignore, however much you may like to. The policy of Farage’s Brexit Party is one dimensional, but given the effect on British politics to date ignoring him and his party is dangerous. Many would say that his lobbying was the driver for Prime Minister Cameron to open Pandora’s Brexit box. A box that with the benefit of hindsight, should never have been opened.
If the recent results of the European MEP elections are any indication of how the next election will unfold, Farage could end up helping Johnson to continue as Prime Minister. If a coalition between The Conservative Party (we drop the Unionist tag following The Conservative’s example) and the Brexit Party does come about, this would have a major impact on the UK hospitality industry. Priti Patel’s brand of anti-migration would seem liberal.
The smaller parties and the nationalist parties have all gained political clout in recent years and their various collaborations will see seats awarded. Beyond that it is hard to see any substantial effects.
So, what is the most likely outcome?
The political debate around the results could be continued ad-infinitum, but with a month to go the bookies would seem to have made their minds up already. And the bookies more often than not get it right. No overall majority 11/10 – A conservative majority 4/5 a Labour majority 16/1. We are surprised by the fait accompli position bookmakers have taken, but are not tempted to get our wallets out. Johnson could pay a very high price indeed for the support he will in all likelihood require to continue.
Over recent years we have published the views of many on Brexit and its potential effect on the UK hospitality industry. We have published each of the headlines below for reference.
Articles offering views from across the UK hospitality industry on Brexit and the UK hospitality industry in chronological order.
We hope you enjoy reflecting on how much has changed in three and a half years, starting with the day after the Brexit referendum result being announced to today.
If you would like to add your view to the UK hospitality industry Brexit conundrum, please email Editor@HandCNews.com