Is Brexit coming home...to roost?

The Brexit madness continues: the litany of companies warning about Brexit seemingly gets longer by the minute, politicians scream and shout and generally make a disgrace of themselves – and yet, the penny, or is that the multi-billion dollar coin, has not dropped.

Article updated: 11 July 2018 10:00am Author: Michael Baxter

I am fed up. All I hear is rhetoric. Slogans permeate the airwaves – facts and objective discussion have gone the way of the dinosaurs, instead we get nonsense combining with rubbish to get hysteria.

A new disease is spreading - it seems immune to any cure known to man or woman. In this disease, facts have become an anathema, if anyone states a hard, cold fact, something undeniably true, but which carries an inference that is contrary to popular fantasy, the result is that the abominable individual who had the insolence to convey this morsel of information, is metaphorically hung, drawn and cut up into little bits by the media and blogosphere in a fit of rage that would have given George Orwell, the creator of the word doublespeak, reason that he needs to come up with something stronger.

Lies

The British people have been lied to. But it was a lie they wanted to hear.

We have two options in the UK. This always was the case. In the build up to the Brexit vote, many who backed the Leave camp assured us that Brexit would not make that much of a difference to our trading relationship with Europe – we would keep all the benefits, just rid ourselves of those pesky rules, and banish the dictatorship of Brussels bureaucrats once for all to the other side of the channel.

In fact, assuming you accepted the narrative of Brussels dictatorship, which itself was more fantasy than anything, this was never an option.

The UK has a choice. It can opt for hard Brexit, dump the EU, single market and customs union, and rush into the trusting and not at all egotistical embrace of Donald Trump, and while we are at it, do some serious flirting with Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe, we could also whisper sweet nothings in the direction of Justin Trudeau, but the Canadian leader is already taken – having marched up the isle with the EU.

Or, to quote George Gershwin, we could say: “Let’s call the whole thing off.”

The depressing, confusing and acrimonious saga of Brexit negotiations proves my point. Any deal with the EU is worse than being in it.

Boris Johnston and David Davis were right to resign, although in truth they should never have signed up to Brexit talks in the first place. Their resignation is simply consistent with the argument they have been making all along. Not to have resigned would have been the equivalent of admitting they were wrong.
Brexit talks drag on and on with no obvious progress and political unity torn asunder, because the talks can never succeed. If the markets celebrate over news from negotiations, it is only because they suggest the UK is in effect staying in the EU, in all but name.

Project fear versus elitists

And the corporates who warn of job losses, Airbus, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, BMW, Chubb, John Lewis, Asda, Philips, and on behalf of Japanese companies the Ambassador from that country, are just elites.

Men of the people, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Boris the Bold himself, are far more qualified to judge.

When Jamie Dimon, the boss at JP Morgan says: “There are huge question marks that will stay for a long time,” or when the Asda boss, Roger Burnley, says: “What would be scary is the prospect of any hold up at the border,” or when Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Spet says that UK spending plans are in “jeopardy,” or when BMW’s Ian Robertson, says that the company would be forced to make “contingency plans”, or when Siemens UK chief executive Juergen Maier said: “The realities are setting in”, or when John Lewis boss, Sir Charlie Mayfield said: “A no-deal Brexit is in my view a pretty much unthinkable scenario,” or when Michael Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said: “There is no Brexit dividend for our industry, particularly in what is an increasingly hostile and protectionist global trading environment,” they were just expressing the sentiments of project fear.

It is just that truth is something people don’t care about if it clashes with the popular narrative. I just wish that the Age of Enlightenment, when reason and rational thought made Britain great, would come home. 


These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of The Share Centre, its officers and employees

Michael Baxter reacts to our Brexit poll
Michael Baxter portrait photo
Michael Baxter

Economics Commentator

Michael is an economics, investment and technology writer, known for his entertaining style. He has previously been a full-time investor, founder of a technology company which was floated on the NASDAQ, and a director of a PR company specialising in IT.