Reality bites as support for Brexit has fallen to a record low of 32% as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt cautiously puts a toe in the waters of conciliation suggesting in time the trade barriers which have been erected post-2016 could be substantially removed while the UK still remains outside the single market. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent fiscal watchdog, said this week that the latest evidence showed Brexit had had “a significant adverse effect on UK trade”, cutting trade volumes and relationships between British and EU companies. And Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank added: “Very clearly Brexit was an economic own goal. Economically speaking that has been very bad news indeed.”
The economic impact of Brexit remains a taboo for the main UK political parties and the hardcore Brexiteers in the Tory Party (the ERG group, Hannan, Frost etc) would be incensed at any such shift. But this latest softening of attitude from No 10 might well be the trigger for a long-overdue split within the Tory Party, hiving off the extreme anti-EU faction.
Whether or not the EU would be amenable even in the face of their own monumental economic problems to contemplate a pitch-n-patch ad hoc arrangement with the UK is another matter.
The EU/UK relationship chart does show some signs of mellowing over the next few months but will run into shocks and blocks from April 2023, more so July onwards; with a chilly mood in 2024. It may be 2025/26/27 before there is a significant shift onto a new footing.
The Tory Party, 9 May 1912 party chart is facing a white knuckle ride over the next three years with a cage-rattling tr Uranus conjunct the Sun now and repeating early 2023; and a high-tension, crockery-throwing tr Uranus conjunct the Saturn from July 2023 into 2024 – as the old guard clashes with the forces for reform. That division will come to a head by 2025 when the Solar Arc Uranus is conjunct the Tory Party Saturn.
Through 2023/24 with tr Neptune square the Pluto there is a sense of Tory influence being undermined. The back-to-the-drawing-board for a complete rethink will come in 2025 with tr Pluto conjunct the Uranus.
The anti-EU European Research Group (ERG) has exerted considerable pressure within the Tory Party since it was formed in July 1993 through the Maastricht negotiations. There is no exact date but Pluto was in Scorpio which was then opposition the Tory Party Sun and Saturn in Taurus setting the scene for a mighty power struggle. And the highly-strung (immune to rational argument) Uranus Neptune in Capricorn was also in place opposition the Tory Party Mars Neptune in Cancer. When the Brexit referendum was held in 2016 tr Pluto in Capricorn square tr Uranus in Aries had been pounding away at the Tory Party Mars Neptune so it is a sensitive point – though there is nothing up and coming until 2027/28 to affect it.
Of the die-hard Brexiteers David Frost looks panicky and disappointed through 2023; and Daniel Hannan looks edgy in 2024. Intriguingly Frost, Hannan and Boris all have strong Jupiter Neptune aspects = over hopeful and according to Ebertin can attract scandal through instability. Farage is both upbeat and downcast – but he’d be pleased at anything that brought him back into the ring to fight.
Political attitudes may change over the sobering three years of financial hardship ahead – on both sides of the channel – so by 2027 a different set of arrangements on trade may be possible.