New York Times: Will London Fall Following Brexit?
Sarah Lyall recently wrote for the New York Times, discussing London’s position as “the capital of the world”. But following Brexit – where does this leave the supposed most international city in the world?
The New York Times article goes on to discuss the repercussions of Brexit on London’s outward values of openness, tolerance and internationalism. The capital houses a melting pot of different cultures, languages, races and opinions, thriving on the idea that being connected to the rest of the world is something to celebrate. However following recent political movements and decisions, all of this is being brought into question.
The following speakers each have unique insights into the repercussions of Brexit, not just for London, but for Europe and the rest of the world also.
José Manuel Barroso
“Europe could have done more to stop Britain leaving the EU,” José Manuel Barroso told Bloomberg in November 2016. The former European Commission president (2004-14) and prime minister of Portugal (2002-04), stressed however, that responsibility for Brexit lies in London and is the result of 20 years of Brussels-bashing. As recently appointed chairman of Goldman Sachs International, he advises the US bank on Brexit and has said he will try to “mitigate the negative effects” of the UK’s decision. Acknowledging that we will “see turbulence for some time,” he says, “I think it’s important now to be constructive,” and work towards the best possible agreement.
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Theo Waigel is the former German Federal minister of finance (1989-98) and former chairman of the Christian Social Union (1989-99). The “father of the Euro”, he played a key role in European monetary union. Commenting on the referendum result, he told Berliner Zeitung, that he believes that the consequences of Brexit are more manageable for the EU than for Great Britain itself. “Europe has so far mastered all crises. It must also master them now.” In an interview for the Hanns Siedel Foundation, he said it is “currently impossible to predict whether a reversal of the Brexit decision could crystallize in Great Britain,” but that only, “a great statesman or an influential stateswoman would be able to move the British once again to a possibly different decision.”
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The great disruptor of British and European politics, Nigel Farage is one of the most influential politicians of the past decade. The interim leader of United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), he led the party for the past 15 years and has been a member of the European Parliament for South East England since 1999. Farage built UKIP up from nothing to become established as the UK’s third largest party and succeeded in his overriding ambition – to see the UK vote to leave the European Union.
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Sir Craig Oliver
Sir Craig Oliver was the Director of Communications for former Prime Minister David Cameron (2010-16). In his new book, Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of the EU Referendum (2016), he outlines the shifting loyalties and disloyalties of the key political figures during the Brexit saga. He says: “The vote on whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU had been a slow train coming for a generation. It happened to arrive in the station on David Cameron’s watch. When it came there was a bloody battle that will spark debates about the nature of politics, campaigning, media and the power of lies for generations to come.”
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Sir Peter Westmacott
“A referendum result as clear as we saw on 23 June can only be overturned by another referendum… On 23 June voters said they wanted to leave. But they weren’t told what they would be getting in its place and the government doesn’t yet know,” wrote Sir Peter Westmacott in The Huffington Post in October 2016. The Distinguished Ambassadorial Fellow at the Atlantic Council, former British ambassador to the United States (2012-16), France (2007-12), and Turkey (2002-06), noted that there were “clearly rapids ahead”. However, he added: “One thing unites us in an admirably British way – our common determination, whatever we think of the result of the referendum, to make the best of it for our country.”
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Leading Brexiteer Michael Gove, the former Justice Secretary (2015-16), former Secretary of State for Education (2010-14) is a member of the newly formed Brexit parliamentary committee, designed to oversee the government’s work on exiting the EU. Gove is currently writing a book about how Britain can make a success of Brexit. It looks at the importance of media freedom, science, mission-driven public investment, planning reform and smart industrial strategy.
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