The Last Brexit Post (Thank God)
‘Brexit Uncertainty’ is the buzz-phrase of the new decade
There’ll be no Brexit posts on the site after today because it’s too divisive a subject and it’s not my job to judge how people choose to protest. Yesterday the knock-on effect of the UK’s decision to dump its largest trading partner showed itself when I attended a wedding breakfast. The guests were a cosmopolitan mix, the groom Muslim, the bride Jewish-Japanese, friends and relatives hailing from Thailand, America, Australia, the UK and Europe. All reside in the UK, and have already been affected in life-changing ways.
One change came from our high street, where an award-winning restaurateur has been forced to raise his prices because the cost of ingredients is sharply climbing as his suppliers relocate to Europe. He fears that diners will not pay the increases, but he won’t survive if they don’t. Another guest works for a company shifting its London office to Holland this spring, so she’s being made redundant. Others are taking up European residence before the end of the year to avoid similar problems. I’m sure the pattern is being repeated across the country, but here it feels hyper-condensed and happening fast.
Mortgages, loans, retirement plans, property sales and travel have all been directly affected by ‘Brexit Uncertainty’ – a euphemism companies often cynically use to cover cutbacks and re-organisation. It’s the buzz-phrase that can be used to hike prices, cost-cut and downsize.
This shakeout is now well underway. Our own personal plans have been radically curtailed in the last two months, so the challenge is to develop alternatives. Friends running companies in the arts and entertainment industries are paralysed until clear guidelines are announced; many won’t survive. How do you plan when there are no rules in place for your trading plans?
As late as the end of 2015, only 1% of UK voters even thought the EU was an issue, before it was turned into a protest vote against the longest period of austerity in our history. Now it’s time to rebuild friendships and find ways of conducting business positively. First we must remove labels like ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’, and concentrate on a new challenge – getting rid of another divisive term – ‘Brexit Uncertainty’.