Britain’s media landscape captured the divide of the nation over Europe today, with newspapers taking drastically different tacks to proclaim the fortunes and failures of Brexit.
While the Daily Express hailed “booming Britain” on the back of GDP figures, and the Daily Telegraph pointed to a “Brexit bounce”, the Guardian warned the country’s economy was about to be “knocked off course” and hit by retrenchments.
Their conflicting analysis of the country’s finances came just hours before Lloyds bank announced it would be cutting 3,000 jobs and closing more than 200 branches in the wake of last month’s referendum result.
The Daily Express claimed the economy was “racing forward” after Brexit and was provably defying “doom-laden warnings by Remain” in its front page story.
“The news backs up the Daily Express crusade for Britain to speed up its departure [from the EU],” the paper claimed.
The Express’ analysis of affairs was markedly different to the Guardian, which claimed City workers were braced to head off threat of a recession and economic “retrenchment”.
The paper claimed the Express’ much-hailed expansion of 0.6% growth in the economy between April and June this year had been “countered” by moves from industries that influence the cutting or raising of interest rates.
It also quoted Chancellor Philip Hammond, who said Brexit negotiations would “signal the beginning of a period of adjustment”, but asserted his confience the country had “tools to manage the challenges ahead”.
But the two papers’ completely different analyses of Brexit was highlighted by some who pointed out the lack of consensus between papers that backed and opposed Brexit.
The Daily Telegraph also cheered a post-Brexit “stronger-than-expected bounce”.
It pointed to news yesterday that fast-food chain McDonald’s would create 5,000 new jobs by the end of next year.
The newspaper added in an editorial that economic stability since the June 23 vote had belied “predictions of a post-referendum meltdown”.
The Financial Times had a more measured response, leading on news the FTSE 250 had rebounded to near pre-Brexit levels.
The economy tanked in the immediate aftermath after Brits voted to leave the EU in June. The FTSE 100 lost £122bn in value the following morning while the pound plummeted to its lowest value since 1985.
It led to Britain falling behind France as the fifth biggest economy in the world.