Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage was the original Mr. Brexit — both an inspiration to, and an admirer of, President-elect Donald Trump. But now he's getting nervous: "I suspect we will leave the Union," Farage told Bloomberg BusinessWeek. "But what terms we'll leave on, I'm getting increasingly nervous about. Nervous that we'll sell out. Nervous that we'll get half a Brexit."
In that regard, Trump's surprise win — and threat to weaken multilateral organizations — could be an unexpected life preserver for Farage:
“I'm trying to make the case," [Farage] said, "that a big, positive signal from a Trump administration that says they want a bilateral trade deal with the United Kingdom, that comes relatively early, would really be very good news."
Such a move would upend U.S. policy toward the U.K. and the European Union. In April, President Obama visited London to lay out the dire economic consequences he said would befall the U.K. if it voted to leave the EU in June's referendum. "Maybe, at some point down the line, there might be a [bilateral] U.K.-U.S. trade agreement," Obama said. “But it's not going to happen anytime soon, because our focus is on negotiating with a big bloc — the European Union — to get a trade agreement done." If Britons voted for Brexit, Obama warned, the U.K. would wind up a diminished partner, relegated to "the back of the queue."
Farage's proposal would move the U.K. to the front of the queue, sweep away the whole Obama-Clinton chessboard, roil the global economy, and, with great fanfare, imprint the Trump stamp on U.S. trade policy, possibly even before he's sworn in — all things that would seem to appeal to the president-elect. [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Read more about Farage's hopes for the U.S. president-elect, and what they could mean for the U.K., at Bloomberg BusinessWeek.