Europe and the UK: What Really Happened, with Professor John O’Brennan

Jun 23, 2023

New Thinking Wright on the Nail podcast

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Your host:

Chris Wright

Founder of Chrysalis Records, media and sports entrepreneur, campaigner

“We are not just talking about failure, we are talking about economic catastrophe due to Brexit.”

In this week’s News Roundtable episode, Chris Wright is joined by John O’Brennan the Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. John is a leading spokesman, columnist and academic on European Politics. In particular, he works on the process and politics of the EU’s Enlargement policy and on Ireland’s relationship with the European Union.

Chris and John kick-off with economics. With UK inflation at 8.7% and inflation in the Eurozone at around 6%, John and Chris discuss the discrepancy. Can we just blame Covid and Ukraine or are other effects such as Britain’s backwards housing market at play? They rain down judgment on the economic management of the UK over the last two decades and then compare its performance to the rest of Europe. John explains Ireland’s peculiar measure of economic success.

It isn’t long before the B-word (Brexit) is mentioned. John explains why Britain’s plunge into independence from the EU has been so unsuccessful. What are the UK’s prospects outside of the EU? What was the true cause behind the 52% vote to leave? How significant was the press? How much should we blame David Cameron and the Remain Campaign? This opens up a conversation about the significance of AI in the battle against misinformation in the future.

They talk about the role of leadership in the crisis that Brexit has created for the UK including Rishi Sunak and previous Conservative Prime Ministers’ crippling political ties to Brexiteers in their party.

They discuss the macro politics of Europe and how Britain is still very much united with the Continent. John explains the origins of the concept of ‘cakeism’ in relation to Britain’s relationship with the EU, and the imminent threat in Europe of the far-right through the likes of Marine Le Pen. Chris asks John how the international community’s view of the UK has changed since 2016. How has Brexit really changed immigration into and out of the EU? Has the UK gone from having the best of both worlds to the worst of both worlds?

Is there hope for the UK to progress in the future under a Labour government after what will be over 14 years of Conservative rule?

In this episode we discuss:
  • Inflation is higher in the UK than Europe
  • Interest rates are going up
  • Brexit: why it happened and why it hasn’t worked
  • The real-life consequences of Brexit, and is there hope for the future under a Keir Starmer-led Labour government?
  • Conservative misrule of the UK
  • Europe reunites over the Ukraine war
  • The very real threat of the far-right in European politics

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