“Britain is tearing itself apart over Brexit”, proclaimed Donald Trump last week, echoing the media’s hyperbole.
No it’s not. But the two main political parties certainly are, understandable as both comprise factions with opposing views, these in turn sub-dividing to yet more divisions among the pro-Brexiters on the most desirable departure arrangements.
But Britain? What hogwash! Everyone’s getting on with life and I suspect are fairly bored by it all. What will be will be. In my experience it’s certainly not a conversation subject for the man in the street.
My company took a carpet-bagging approach and anticipated panic selling of British commercial property, much of it held by foreign funds. It never happened, indeed to the contrary there’s been record inflows of investment funds in recent months. We’re currently negotiating another office-building purchase there and the vendor, a London-based Fund we’ve bought from before, doesn’t (like most funds) understand commercial property. But mass selling? Sadly (for us) not so.
Brexit has induced more tripe talk than any topic in my memory.
A year back in London a pro-Remain march was organised. A young female student marcher was interviewed and wept as she asserted she would no longer be able to travel to the Continent. I’ll treat that with the disdain it deserves but not her follow-up that her generation would bear a terrible economic price. I suppose she means like the poor struggling Canadians, Americans, Japanese, Swiss, Kiwis, Aussies – need I go on – all not in the European Union. My how we’re suffering.
Then there’s the illogical cry that if out of the Union Britain would have no say in its decisions. That’s Tui billboard territory. Remain and they have one voice out of 28, which is meaningless.
As it is, with most of Britain’s trade it has no voice at all vis a vis product standards etc. That’s its trade with the rest of the world. Sell goods to New Zealand and Britain must comply with our standards which given their basic common-sense, present no issue. So too everywhere else.
I watched a doomsday report on Brexit by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria recently. He’s half Indian, very bright, charming and well informed and might be described as soft left. Generally, I like listening to him but my, he talked nonsense on this topic, coming out with unbelievable doomsdayism.
“Britain will descend to just Wales and England”, he warned, “and would no longer be a great power”, by which he meant militarily. Well I’d vote for ending wasting multi-billions annually on stupid bloody weaponry. It won’t happen unfortunately for militaristic chest-beating is imbued in British culture ever since Waterloo.
“Scotland will become independent”, Fareed moaned. That’s excellent news as well and were I 20 years younger I’d shift there if that happened, although I have a home there now for my periodic visits.
Let’s get one thing clear about Brexit. Take an extreme position (which is not going to happen) and imagine all trade between Britain and the European Union was banned. Britain would certainly suffer but nowhere near as much as the European Union which has a massive trade surplus with Britain, especially Germany which would fall into a deep depression.
God knows how it will all end but make no mistake, life will go on regardless. And there’s one outcome I have no doubt about and that’s once out and after an initial disruption period, Britain will boom. That’s because historically and culturally it has a market outlook, unlike the major Continental nations imbued in statism, regulation and centralism.
Enoch Powell, the stand-out free market advocate in his heyday, nevertheless warned against entering into a free trade deal with the Continent. Inevitably, he asserted, they would surreptitiously endeavour to turn it into a political union. He was spot on.
As said, Britain is not tearing itself apart as Trump claimed, rather the politicians are. But I’ll tell you who is; France no less. Unlike Britain their government is unified but not so the rioting and pillaging tens of thousands of protesters every weekend. They cover the spectrum from extreme left to right and periodically brawl with one another.
And what do they all want? More big government and its corresponding fools gold largesse, precisely the source of their current falling living standards and high unemployment they’re protesting about.
That said there is a solution for France. They can carry on for a time with their failing socialist state Macron is trying to tackle, by wiping out their ludicrous armed forces.
Despite endless warfare involvement in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas over the last two centuries they haven’t had a victory since Napoleon. They even got whacked by the world’s most incompetent people, namely the Haitians, so why carry on with this futility?