With the UK set to leave the European Union March 29, the stakes for Brexit are rising. Labour has officially come out in favor of a second referendum, and Theresa May faces the ‘high noon’ moment of the Cooper-Letwin amendment, which threatens a parliamentary takeover of the Brexit process and an Article 50 delay. As the deadline looms, here's what we’re seeing in the online domain:
1. The Reality of Hard Brexit Is Setting In
Over the past fortnight, online attention to the Northern Ireland Border has trailed off, while attention to the UK aviation sector has surged. Northern Ireland, as we’ve previously reported, has stood out among the Brexit policy issues for its high symbolic value and its salience at key moments in the negotiations. This no longer appears to be the case, and the more practical concerns of a no-deal Brexit are setting in (for example: “Will my flight from Heathrow to Madrid on March 30 be cancelled?”).
2. Japanese Concern Is Intensifying
This month, Japanese automakers Nissan and Honda announced plans to close factories and halt car production in the UK. Both companies denied that Brexit played a part in the decision, instead citing ‘adverse global economic conditions.’ But Japanese audiences do not seem to be convinced. News of the plant closures sent local interest in Brexit to their highest levels this year. Not all is lost for Nissan and Honda: under the terms of the recently agreed free trade deal between Japan and the European Union, both companies will soon be able to import cars into Europe tariff free.