Brexit: preparing for life after divorce
Updated: Apr 1
Usually the initial impact of separation or divorce after a long marriage is on how you live - what you eat, where you go for holidays, what forms your monthly household bucket list etc. Brexit may not be an exception. With roughly 28% of UK’s food coming from EU countries, breakfast table & bar menu in London and other parts are set to witness change in the initial days - which may or may not be permanent in nature. Same applies to travel preferences of Britain’s majority who preferred an EU break as the border less travel & medical cover proving a huge impetus.
With the Brexit deadline looming and European Union refusing to even consider returning to negotiation table – partly due to German resolve to stop UK from picking and choosing what suits it while refusing to share any pain which comes with common border, no deal Brexit looks the most likely outcome with Hard Brexit a distant second. Overall consequences of such outcomes can be broadly categorised under three heads.
One thing is given that a no deal Brexit would come as anything but a shock to companies operating inside UK primarily because they had ample time to prepare for all eventualities and with no deal Brexit looking the most likely outcome in the last one year which culminated in ouster of Theresa May, they know what to expect.
London’s position as the Financial Capital of world will surely be under serious threat and UK will cease to be the gateway to EU market. UK has already started and would need to search for new strategic partnerships around the world. However, short term shocks to Sterling and Food supplies may not be insulated despite hectic preparations. But barring some near-term certainties of chaos, any views on long term outcomes can be mere speculation.
While UK stands to lose from mass exodus of companies & funds which has been gaining momentum from over a year now, importance of its domestic market for EU cannot be underestimated. EU negotiators may have been trying to arm twist UK by turning a blind eye to any consequences on the block – under pressure from Germany as mentioned, they may be forced to take notice sooner or later and so will individual members of the block.
Encounters like a Pakistani origin man with a Portuguese passport driving you down to city from the Airport in an Uber, a Bangladeshi with an Italian citizenship running an Indian restaurant or a Russian with Romanian nationality serving drinks at a bar are common in London. That it’s one of the most multi-cultural cities was a pride for London. State welfare benefits and higher standard of living attracted loads of immigrants to UK from poorer EU nations and free movement for EEA members was abused to large extent putting pressure on healthcare, local jobs and other areas. The anti-block immigration stand played a major role in 2016 referendum. All this may be set to change post Brexit. However, we may see an increased role for different ethnic groups in domestic politics which is evident from the current cabinet composition of Boris Johnson.
With global economy headed for a slowdown, it may become increasingly painful for all parties involved in the shorter run. Britain will be drawn to foster new relationships & commonwealth may get to play a big part. It may also turn out to be payback time for the former colonial master as Northern Ireland and Scotland’s threat of separation from UK will loom large.
Germany will have a near free hand in drafting the political and foreign relations course of the UK less EU and Britain may feel free to pursue its own agenda. Who will tilt towards whom will be solely guided by the economic interests and power equations of stakeholders involved. Brexit may turn out to be just a beginning and a new game may well begin after the D day.