BREXIT: Whether you wanted to remain or to leave, I think it is fair to say that this morning, you are totally and completely surprised, says Phelim Rowe
Taking the first sip of his first morning pint and with his aging fingers gradually lowering the glass to a well-worn bar mat, the elderly Northern Irish gentleman, clad in woollen cap, silently said referring to Brexit ‘it is going to get worse. It is going to go back to how it used to be’. With a knowing smile half way between a wince and resignation, this humble man captured the daze gripping the nation.
Old wounds are opening, new and previously absurd sounding divisions are coming into focus as possible, probable even.
Whether you wanted to remain or to leave, I think it is fair to say that this morning, you are totally and completely surprised.
The subject matter of Europe and the European Union was actually really dull. Oppression from foreign flammability regulations or alcohol content really could never strike fear or passion into anyone’s hearts. Instead, immigration, populism and protest votes took hold over EU Referendum.
Brexit: the pound crashed lower than the 1985 level against the Dollar.
Harold Wilson’s ‘the pound in your pocket’ speech about it being still worth the same’ is perhaps the most comforting thing to focus on when realising that in just a couple of minutes this morning over $1.2Bn was wiped off the FTSE 100 (I haven’t even checked the FTSE 250 which is a better indicator of specifically British enterprise) and, of course, that the Pound crashed lower than the 1985 level against the Dollar.
So what now? Forget ignoring the result. If we invoke Article 50 TEU about leaving the Union right now – we would have the element of surprise and would be able to force a great deal on the EU. Oh, no, except that would have required pre-preparation. Or, we could, as our newly resigning Prime Minister said, wait until things calm down and then invoke it. By that time, the EU will have had the opportunity to form a punitive counter proposal. We will be stitched up.
The one ray of light I can see, and the muddled citizens walking around me might be able to see it too in the coming days, is that if we survive losing access to the Single Market we may be able to form relationships with other international countries. But will we not seek to be as punitive to them, to extract as much value as the EU will be seeking from us? Is that moral? And a free trade deal with an emerging market superpower? Certainly possible if we are willing to get trade-dumped with their laundry items.