It’s a very special wrap this week, focusing on the Brexit. Economists, neo-cons, expert commentary from Lindsay Lohan. Hooley dooley.
Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. It’s all about the Brexit this week, ladies and gentlemen. The highs, the lows, the winners, the losers and Lindsay Lohan.
All eyes were on Britain this week as the country voted in a historic referendum to decide whether to remain part of the European Union or to leave it. Opinions were divided leading up to the vote, however the majority believed that the result would be to remain within the EU.
The majority, as it turns out, were wrong.
The results are in, and they are in favour of the Brexit – in other words, Britain will officially be parting ways with the European Union. What this will actually mean for Britain, and the rest of the world, remains to be seen. However the reaction to the surprising result has been far-reaching and potentially catastrophic.
The value of the pound dropped to levels not seen since 1985, representing its biggest one day fall in history.
At home, investors responded to the news by wiping almost $70 billion from the ASX. Japan’s Nikkei saw heavy movement during the day, closing down 7.9 percent. The situation was similar in Hong Kong with the Hang Seng dropping 2.9 percent. Investors also began turning to more secure assets with investment into Japanese yen currency resulting in its value soaring against the US dollar, and Gold increased by around four percent.
The result will create volatility well beyond the financial markets. Dr Annmarie Elijah from the Australian National University’s Centre for European Studies has suggested that the success of the Brexit vote will likely result in other EU member countries holding similar referendums which could result in the dissolution of the EU altogether.
One of the first and loudest voices to celebrate was none other than US Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, who described it as a “great victory”. Anything Trump describes as a “great victory” must simply be the opposite – fact.
The move is also likely to worsen the global security situation according to Stephan Fruehling, an advisor on the Australian government’s recent defence white paper. A less unified Europe will strengthen Russia’s influence in the region, which isn’t good news as they continue to escalate their military standoff with NATO on the border of the Baltic States.
In Britain, there is jubilation and shock. The surprising result will likely give rise to another bid from Scotland to gain independence which will have myriad effects on Britain, not the least of which will include a loss of around 10 percent of its military and a requirement to move its fleet of strategic nuclear submarines. British PM David Cameron will not be around to worry about that however.
Cameron, who was staunchly opposed to a Brexit and led the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU, was expected to face significant pressure to resign from his position if the Brexit vote was successful. Almost half of his party were in favour of the Brexit, including likely internal rival Boris Johnson, potentially making his position as leader of his party untenable. Cameron almost immediately threw himself on the sword after the result, announcing that he will resign because Britain needed “fresh leadership”.
The loudest voice calling for Cameron’s removal, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who has been the face of the pro Brexit vote, caused controversy with his comments after the result which have been labelled “unbelievably insensitive and crass”. Farage, during a speech delivered at a rally in central London as the result was almost certain, said that the “Leave” party had emerged victorious “without a single bullet being fired”. The comments were considered incredibly offensive given that it has only been just over a week since Labour MP Jo Cox was viciously murdered, with the most likely motive being her support of the “Remain” movement.
There are a multitude of factors and considerations related to the decision. However, it does appear that there was a clear age divide in the voting pattern. Younger voters were primarily in favour of remaining in the EU and the older demographics were primarily in favour of leaving. There is a far simpler metric that can be used to define this decision; one of the first and loudest voices in the world to celebrate the decision was none other than US Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, who described it as a “great victory”.
Anything Trump describes as a “great victory” must simply be the opposite – fact.
Also on The Big Smoke
- TBS Next Gen: What’s up Trump?
- Britain is out of the European Union – But where?
- The Masked Liberal: Apathy towards pollies will bring icky Trump
- Death for Brexit: Our global writers thoughts on Britain leaving the EU
Although proving once again that his geographical knowledge could rival Sarah Palin’s, Trump also tweeted his support for Scotland, suggesting that the place was “going wild over the vote. They took their country back,” despite the fact that Scotland overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining in the EU and will likely now separate from Britain to allow them to do just that. He’s not completely to blame; Fox News in the US reported that the UK voted to leave the UN rather than the EU, and I have no doubt that Trump is their number one viewer.
Back home it was tough to avoid Brexit mania, and the result may end up influencing our Federal Election, which is only a week away. Whilst many analysts expect the financial market volatility to stabilise before too long, there is no denying that our economy will experience a variety of flow on effects. The big question is, will this now very uncertain economic climate help Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten?
On the surface, as many commentators have been quick to point out, it should favor Turnbull who has based most of his election campaign on the perceived strength of his party as economic managers. Turnbull was quick to point this out, indicating that the instability meant that Australia “needs a stable majority Coalition government with a strong economic plan that sets Australia up for a prosperous future”. Turnbull didn’t indicate when we might see this mysterious strong economic plan – he hasn’t actually told us yet, has he? Nor did he advise how he could possibly expect to have a “stable” or “majority”, both of which seem a little far fetched even if he does win.
However, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen was quick to point out the record of his own party and how Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan responded to the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, which saw Australia as one of the few industrialised nations that didn’t go into recession. Obviously a divisive opinion but somewhat more relevant and recent than the last time the Libs could claim to have been strong economic managers.
Jacqui Lambie took on the title of Captain Obvious with a tweet that said “Turnbull and the Libs are exploiting the #Brexit for their own political gain”. I’m not sure she’s quite worked out how this whole “politics” thing works yet…
— Jacqui Lambie (@JacquiLambie) June 24, 2016
In fairness to our pollies, they aren’t the only ones looking to capitalise. As the GBP nosedived, the Commonwealth Bank suspended currency exchange, a move presumably to stop any clever little Aussies wanting to load up on the currency while it was nice and cheap. (Apparently, super profits are reserved for the banks themselves.) The side effect of course was that Aussies in the UK were left unable to load their travel cards or exchange currency. Stay classy, CBA…
In non-Brexit news this week, Scott Morrison threw himself into the marriage equality debate in response to a speech from Labor frontbencher, Penny Wong, where she pointed out that heterosexual politicians didn’t understand the fear felt by everyday LGBTI Aussies. Morrison hit back, claiming that those opposed to marriage equality, were subjected to just as much “hate speech and bigotry” as the LGBTI community for their views and as such, he completely understands their plight. I’m sure slave owners felt pretty hard done by when the law finally caught up with fairness and equality too. Will someone please buy this man a dictionary?
Wacky and wonderful
Since we’ve ended up with a Brexit theme this week, I may as well continue with it as we turn our eyes to one of the less than expected commentators in the debate. We’ve heard from politicians, we’ve heard from economists and we’ve of course heard from Trump. But the best was saved for last, when everyone’s favourite trainwreck, Lindsay Lohan, fired up and gave a running commentary on the Brexit via Twitter.
Her contributions ranged from the confusing to the ridiculous with corkers such as:
Or her expert economic analysis:
“@Independent why? Prove the UK will not trigger anger by allowing (sunderland) to lower the UK pound – THIS IMPACT WILL CONTROL ALL MARGINS”
Sunderland did vote to leave, but they weren’t the only ones of course.
Maybe Lindsay’s a Newcastle supporter?
Closer to home…there are few phrases in the English language more terrifying than “unauthorised testicle surgery”. Unfortunately, Port Macquarie man David Hillier learned this the hard way after placing an online ad asking for assistance with a medical issue. Somehow, that led to him engaging the services of Allan George Matthews who is not medically qualified nor a registered doctor. The two met at a motel in Port Macquarie where Matthews performed surgery on Hillier to remove his left testicle.
Unfortunately, the surgery was less than successful with a wound sustained during the procedure forcing Hillier to report to an actual hospital for some treatment which subsequently resulted in Matthews getting arrested. Nope…I’m leaving that there.
Have a great week TBSers, and don’t forget to vote next weekend!