Brexit: Is politics one big PR stunt?
July 7th, 2018 by Iona Kay
Inescapable, indefinable and incomprehensible. The uncertainty of Brexit, combined with its looming certainty has dominated British news since the referendum. It’s polarizing nature not only effects parliament but the whole nation, as each day we learn something new about its implications.
Catalysed by the departure of Justice Minister Dr Philip Lee, the resignation of David Davis, our very own Brexit Secretary (along with his deputy Steve Baker) and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in the space of 24 hours, amounts to the biggest blow to the Brexit reputation thus far.
In his letter of resignation, Mr Davis wrote: “As I said at the Cabinet meeting, the ‘common rule book’ policy hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense,” adding that his role requires an “enthusiastic believer” in the Brexit proposal rather than a “reluctant conscript.”
A 2018 academic journal analysed the reasons behind political withdrawal from a political party associated with the scandal.
The authors, Gianmarco Daniele, Sergio Galletta and Benny Geys argue that political scandals have implications beyond the politicians directly involved because they can tarnish the party “brand”, and thus politicians will resign to dissociate from said party to maintain their own personal value.
They said: “When a party is hit by a scandal, the value of being associated – or even seeming to be associated – with that party declines dramatically.”
Mr Davis implies a failure to deliver what we voted for on 23rd June 2016 from our government. Along with the trend of ministerial resignations, one could argue this paints these Brexit negotiations much like a scandal.
Moreover, as we are fed further and further stories of a Prime Minister who has no support from her cabinet, such emotions are emitted onto its readership, and the Conservative Party brand suffers.
Jeremy Corbyn tweeted on the matter
Nigel Farage, former UKIP leader, also tweeted on the situation:
These scathing reviews from the Leader of the opposition and Farage dramatise the situation. Corbyn is painting May as the antagonist on our domestic stage and utilising the media to create the impression of instability in the Tory party.
Such instability, of course, lends itself to uncertainty, which in turn causes a decline in belief of the government, and its capabilities to produce a successful and beneficial Brexit for Britain.
Most recent polls have found that only around 40% of people still support Brexit, with 38% supporting the idea of a second referendum, shockingly including 8% of leave voters.
It is possible that such negative portrayal in the media has contributed to a downward spiral of support for the referendum result, and the government’s competency in delivering it; a considerable nightmare for PR.
The media creates pressure. The more extensive and brutal the coverage, the greater the pressure for May to resign, and those opposed to her Brexit policy can use negative PR to manipulate opinion to support them.
As George Orwell famously said, the news is what somebody, somewhere does not want you to print.
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