20 Oct, 2022 @ 16:46
2 mins read

Analysis: Spain’s view of the UK’s political turmoil

Chipperjo Liz Truss And Kwasi Kwarteng Ai

LIKE MANY of their European counterparts, Spanish newspapers have recently been focusing on Brexit as the root of the current ills in the United Kingdom. On Thursday afternoon, reaction was already trickling in about the latest twist in the soap opera that British politics has become, with the resignation today of Liz Truss after just six weeks in the role. But it is worth taking a look at how opinion writers from Spain have been viewing a country that was once considered from abroad as a shining example of stability. 

“Echoes of the eurozone debt crisis.”

“The persistent monetary and financial uncertainty has seen a new source of instability appear, one that not everyone was expecting: the United Kingdom, its finances, and the pound sterling.” So wrote Santiago Carbó Valverde in an El País opinion column earlier this week. The economist went on to point out that the recent instability in the UK is reminiscent of the eurozone debt crisis, with “a series of announcements and counter-announcements” by the British government failing to calm the markets. “After Brexit,” he continued, “the UK has weakened its commercial ties and not just with the EU. […] What’s more, the entry of foreign human capital has slowed considerably, creating bottlenecks that have got worse in certain sectors and services.” 

“The United Kingdom is not Little Britain”

Also in El País, columnist Ángel Talavera quoted the famous “computer says no” sketch from TV show Little Britain, imagining that this was what Kwasi Kwarteng was thinking when his mini-budget prompted the value of the pound to plunge and interest rates to shoot up. “Unfortunately, above all for those who have made this country our adoptive home, the political and financial chaos of these recent weeks is simply the continuation of the political and economic decline that the UK has been suffering since the referendum to leave the European Union in 2016.”

Truss’s “statements against Brexit”

In daily El Mundo, UK correspondent Carlos Fresneda rushed up an analysis of Truss after her resignation, calling her “the premier who never won over the British”. He pointed to her flip-flopping on the issue of Brexit, reminding readers that she had once famously stated that she “didn’t want to live in a world where my daughters have to request a visa to work in Europe”. 

“Political instinct of a household appliance”

The UK correspondent for Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, Rafael Ramos, described in a report today how the resignation of Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Wednesday made the situation “one step more absurd”, also describing Liz Truss as being a “humiliated prime minister” and having the “political instinct of a household appliance”. He also pointed to Brexit as being a key issue, given that Truss wanted to increase immigration to help stimulate growth, despite controlling the arrival of foreigners as being one of the aims of the Brexiters.

“The sick man of Europe”

In online financial daily El Confidencial, columnist Celia Maza wrote about how the UK risked becoming “the sick man of Europe” once more, describing how Truss had “only been in Downing Street for just over a month, but is in a totally unsustainable situation”. That particular prediction was proved to be right this Thursday.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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