This Tuesday, January 31 marks a double anniversary for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He celebrates his hundred days at 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister and celebrates three years since his country’s departure from the European Union. At the end of these two dates, how to convince the British public of the progress made?
Aveuglement, wishful thinking
It is through the “rediscovered sovereignty of the United Kingdom”, slogan of the Brexiteers, that the Prime Minister tried to reassure his fellow citizens about the future of the country. This event, Brexit, is “a huge opportunity” for British growth, he said. “We have made huge strides in harnessing the freedoms offered by Brexit to address generational challenges. Whether that is leading Europe’s fastest vaccine rollout, securing trade deals with over 70 countries or taking back control of our borders,” he added in a statement. “I am determined to ensure that the benefits of Brexit continue to empower people and businesses across the country. »
Blindness, wishful thinking of a young prime minister? Who still believes in this speech made three years ago by the hard-Brexiters and their then hero, Boris Johnson? Today, it rings strangely false to the ears of the British. Public support for Brexit has never been lower. According to a YouGov poll published in November 2022, less than a third of Britons believe it was a good decision. And one in five Brexiters have changed their minds.
A resilient global economy
Because across the Channel, the winter of 2023 looks more like a recession confirmed the same day by the IMF. If globally the international organization is delighted with a world economy which resists better than expected to repeated shocks, the United Kingdom appears to be a bad student. It is sinking deeper into the crisis with a decline in its GDP of around 0.6% (down 0.9 percentage point compared to October forecasts). The United Kingdom is the only G7 country to have not yet returned to its Gross Domestic Product before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Labor shortages due to Brexit and aggravated by the pandemic, purchasing power in decline, double-digit inflation, taxes and poverty on the rise, the bad news is piling up for the British. Nurses, paramedics, teachers, railway workers, doctors have been demonstrating for a month to demand salary increases, brandishing signs and slogans like in the 1980s when the iron lady, Margaret Thatcher, was in power.
Labor leads in voting intentions
By taking up the torch of a Conservative Party discredited by the scandals of the Boris Johnson years, followed by the “meteorite”, Liz Truss (one month and nineteen days in power), Rishi Sunak hoped to set an example of a return “to integrity”.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister, under pressure from a resurgent Labor opposition, however, had to dismiss his minister without portfolio, Nadhim Zahawi, whom he had placed in the presidency of the Conservative Party. The latter had simply forgotten to declare part of his income and remembered it when he was Boris Johnson’s finance minister, discreetly paying the remainder plus a fine, a total of 5 million pounds sterling. (5.67 million euros)! A new scandal that he pays for in the voting intentions: according to a poll of January 18 to 19, the Conservatives (26%) would be far ahead of the Labor Party (48%).