Bitcoin searches have risen to their highest level in a year as England in particular, as well as London and other regions, appear to have regained some interest in the decentralized digital currency.
That last part of the graph has incomplete data, so we don’t yet know what the level of interest has been for this week, but it appears to be in line with the recent trend.
In addition bitcoin searches have spiked across the globe, reaching their highest level since February 2018, but for UK there may be very good reasons for the increased level of interest.
The pound, in particular, has been falling, and after a slight boost when Boris Johnson was sworn in, it now appears to have returned to its downwards trend.
As can be seen the pound is now nearing $1.23, which is not far off from the all-time low.
That may be because the hopy changy optimism following Boris Johnson’s performance in Parliament yesterday might have given way to a bit more clarity on the Brexit matter.
“The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has told Boris Johnson that the EU27 will not give in to his demand to renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal agreement…
Barnier said in his note that he would not engage in talks with the British government over binning the backstop.”
So begins the microphone diplomacy. What is actually being said where it matters, we do not know, but Boris’ microphone had a likewise unequivocal reply:
“Boris Johnson’s government has played down the idea of fresh Brexit talks with the EU unless Brussels first agrees to reopen the entire withdrawal agreement and scrap the Irish backstop.”
So says the same Guardian, which is basically Labour’s paper and from the quotes it doesn’t sound like Johnson’s spokesman was that unequivocal, but the last three years have basically been wranglings on whether the backstop comes first or the free trade agreement.
It appears Johnson hasn’t made much headway in that stalemate with it relevant in regards to the Irish border of course, but it’s really probably about who has the strongest position when it comes to the free trade negotiations.
A Mess Again?
It will take considerable skill for Johnson to get anywhere beyond replacing his bike with a dog, with our editorial yesterday being either an excellent piece of satire or an excellent showcase of predictive analysis depending on how it goes.
Where it currently stands is pretty much no deal, but as with much that goes wrong in history there is that hiccup of a president on his way out negotiating with a prime minister on his way in.
That could arguably raise criticisms of the negotiation not quite being legitimate. Boris should be talking to Ursula, not Juncker.
Yet should and is are different things with Boris not really having much choice but to stick with his position that the backstop has to be scrapped and the Irish border is addressed in free trade talks.
That’s because Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has already shown its ability to grab Brexit votes – and there are many of them – if Brexit is not delivered in a way the Brexit voters think is agreeable.
In addition, now inside the cabinet itself rather than just in back-benches, the so-called ERG pretty much demands what Boris’ spokesman said.
The Brexit Gamble
Arguably no politician has taken a bigger gamble than Boris Johnson, with the lines now somewhat clear, at least on the surface.
Britain appears to be headed towards a no deal exit, relying on some provisional unilateral arrangements that may soften the exit.
Planes will still fly, at least for some months, euros and pounds will still move, food will still go through Dover and the express will still travel the channel. Likewise, all Brits in Europe and all Europeans in Britain will still continue to enjoy the right to a settled status.
The world will still spin, as may the pound and perhaps bitcoin too in the opposite direction of GBP.
Before that, if a no deal comes to pass at all, we’ll have an even hotter August with perhaps a lot more microphone diplomacy, and then September, the start of the new school year and still old parliament.
Arguably both Boris and Europe have until September to make their positions clear. That’s because in September, if this is to be done legitimately as it must, Boris will have to call a general election.
Have to, because parliament has not changed, his majority may well be just 1 next week, and if he’s still a generally unelected Prime Minister on the 31st of October and tries to go out with no deal… well, suspending democracy may well mean he is suspended himself.
He will have to face the people, and if you poll them it is probable maybe even 100% say they’d like a general election.
If that general election was held today, he’d presumably have to campaign on a no deal exit since Europe is saying the backstop is non negotiable.
That would make it perhaps the most pantomime election with a lot of seriousness to it as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn go head to head for the fate of the nation and Europe.
In a surprise for all, Jo Swinson may well actually come on top as Britain is not only divided, but is in a bit of a mess:
That’s a stupendously close call between conservatives and Libdems in what would have been unimaginable just a few months ago.
Realistically however it is unlikely anyone would vote for the Brexit Party except for the very very fringes of the UKIP sort.
That’s because the Brexit Party is a single issue party and that single issue is now championed by Boris Johnson precisely how the Brexit Party would like it to be championed.
If thus Johnson fights fair and does not enter in any sort of pact with Nigel Farage so as to keep independents on the side, it may well be in a general election that 17% goes to conservatives, or at least much of it.
In a first past the post system, that can be a big problem for Libdems and Labour because they might split the vote while Boris unites his side.
Corbyn in a way is playing a somewhat clever game in being both for remain and for leave, but LibDems can be a formidable challenge if Vince Cable continues to show his statesmanship despite not being the leader of the party.
Whatever the outcome, there will be a mess. If Libdems do win or some sort of remain coalition wins, then there would be another referendum of a Boris deal on one hand (or no deal if he doesn’t get any) and remain.
If on that they vote for no deal – well presumably they wouldn’t have voted Libdem. So if they vote for remain, there would still have to be negotiations with Europe regarding Britain position considering there’s now the euro table due to the need to merge the banking system in the continent, a euro table that may discuss financial rules regarding banking which may affect UK even though it wouldn’t quite be at that table.
That’s really perhaps the main reason why this whole thing started, so this roundabout way of remaining would still be just the beginning of discussions on UK’s role in Europe.
If the public votes for Boris, then he’d have a legitimate mandate for a no deal leave. The gamble then would be whether Europe at that point would come up with some deal or whether UK would have to leave on just those provisional continuity arrangements.
In the case of the latter, there would probably be some sort of implicit “deal” without an actual deal. UK for example could say they won’t apply any tariffs, expecting the same in return. They may also not carry any further checks than they do now, again expecting the same in return, in part because it would be pointless as to begin with UK would have the same laws and regulations as EU does.
That gradually would change, but in the meantime just what sort of change would probably be subject to free trade negotiations.
So whether a gamble or a checkmate is perhaps for time to tell, but at this stage there are no good outcomes, whether leave or remain. Yet there can be satisfactory outcomes.