I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want

Well, actually I won’t, cue PM May. The past two weeks have seen frenzied action on defining Brexit and understanding what exactly we’re getting good old Blighty into, and yet it’s still not been firmed up yet. It’s this haziness that’s causing our European counterparts quit a few months of disturbed sleep. Gunther Krichbaum, as reported via Reuters, sums up this institutional nonchalance as,

“The British government has shown that it is clueless about what to do…”

And whilst PM May at least publicly never campaigned to leave the Single Market, her Government looks as shambolic as Farage and Johnson’s misdirected pledges. The whole point about “Brexit means Brexit” – those words will come to haunt her administration – is that FDI and other investors crave stability. The markets love it. When there’s stability you can plan, make decisions, and take risks. However, when the world’s fifth largest economy keeps stumbling over its own mandate (i.e. to lead the UK out of the EU), then people start to panic. And that’s exactly what we saw last week. Market commentator David Buick noted that the crash in Sterling from $1.28 – $1.24 appears to be the early signs that we’re heading for a “hard Brexit”.

“Sterling’s fall on the week from $1.28 to $1.24 was blamed on the ‘flash crash’ and on the market’s interpretation that the May government for choice would adopt the ‘hard’ Brexit route.  This was of course repudiated by Chancellor Hammond, which goes to show that the UK has yet to present a coherent joined-up policy on BREXIT…”

We’ve heard a lot of these end-times phrases recently “hard-Brexit”, “soft-Brexit”, and some are even wanting to make new additions to the OED with ‘50 Shades of Brexit‘ to choose from as Raoul Ruparel from Open Europe has hinted. Clearly, the politicians don’t get it but the markets do. This Brexit debacle, and that is what it is, is PM May’s Titanic moment.

Adding to this vagueness,  the PM hinted that Article 50 could be triggered as soon as March 2017. And whilst The City of London appears sullen by Brexit (if it actually happens) others such as Mathias Doepfner are jubilant that the UK’s economy will, in the long-term, actually weather the storm better than its European counterparts. Admittedly Mr Doepfner works for one of the largest media companies around, I doubt that for one moment there could actually be some sort of spin going on backstage.

However, one thing is for sure. Brexit means plenty of bloody lucrative contracts for consultants, trade negotiators, border force personnel, and a whole host of other people we might need in a post-Brexit Britain. With rough estimates of tens of millions of pounds required to equip our Three Brexiteers with the right might, the only true winners are the law graduates and hordes of graduates fighting hand over fist for graduate schemes.

Brexit will be studied in years to come as a spectacular spectacle but in the meantime, it’s a great production showcasing Europe’s very best power plays. For me, Brexit is classic Robert Greene territory. And as we all know, because power is all about persuasion, I guess the only thing to do is grab the popcorn and watch the Borgia’s on Netflix. And to brace for impact!

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