Britain’s political and economic turmoil has been greeted with thinly veiled satisfaction among pro-European and leftist politicians abroad, with some commentators drawing parallels to chaotic Italy.
New British finance minister Jeremy Hunt will set out tax and spending measures on Monday, two weeks earlier than scheduled, as he races to stem a dramatic loss of investor confidence in Prime Minister Liz Truss’s government.
“How’s Brexit going?” tweeted veteran Belgian politician Guy Verhofstadt, an ardent pro-European, on Saturday. “One thing is for sure: the mess didn’t start in 2022 but in 2016,” he added, in reference to Britain’s referendum to leave the EU.
There was a similar hint of schadenfreude in remarks by Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who slammed Truss’s original tax cut proposals as Britain’s crisis unfolded last week.
“The neoliberal path failed in the previous financial crisis, created a great deal of suffering and will again lead to failure for those who follow it – as we have just seen in the UK,” he told the Spanish parliament.
Truss on Friday fired her finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng to replace him with Hunt, and scrapped parts of the government’s economic package after it sparked a financial market rout including a steep dive in the value of the pound.
With the Conservative party plunging in opinion polls, social media has been full of memes and jokes revelling in its woes.
“Did you hear Kwasi Kwarteng flew back from the U.S. first class? Apparently they didn’t want him near Business or Economy” read one joke doing the rounds on Twitter in reference to Kwarteng’s rushed return from Washington to be fired by Truss.