Got an email today asking about what it’s like to be an expat here in BC. The author was worried about a possible breakdown of law and order following BREXIT. They were asking about immigration and leaving the UK. So I replied, giving a few observations on life on this side of the world. Not all of them positive.
I’d like to give you a few thoughts on migration; it’s a long drawn out process, not to be undertaken lightly. Mrs S and I made our leap of faith only because of a wedding day promise. She grew up over here and was brought back to the UK by her family, much against her wishes. On the day we married, I gave my solemn word to her that we would go. “Though Hell itself should bar the way.” I said. Even so, it was a good few years before we actually bought the tickets and made the jump. Even though we already had friends and family over here.
Has it been worth it? Well overwhelmingly yes and with a modicum of no. Would I go back? Hell, no. Although if Trudeau’s Liberals, or worse, the NDP, look like getting voted in again I shall be shifting some investments into the US and UK, just to make sure they can’t be got at easily. So it’s not a bed of roses over here, but fortune favours the observant.
The thing is about BREXIT is that most companies have been making plans from the day the ‘Leave’ vote happened. Distributors have been setting up back channels and workarounds, other companies shifting their financial focus away from Europe and more into the larger world and the lucrative US markets. As some delivery companies like Fedex and UPS have been reassuring their customers that they won’t notice anything happening.
One of the upsides is that the price of food is likely to fall as the wider world will be allowed to bring their goods in directly without the external EU tariffs. Like Australian beef or New Zealand Lamb? Other goods will fall in price, which can only be good for the end consumer. Now I’m just about old enough to remember the food price hikes that happened when the UK entered the EU. BREXIT will be putting the already weak Euro under pressure, so the value of the pound will rise. This will put pressure on manufacturers and exporters, but as the pound will buy more raw materials overseas that effect should be somewhat mitigated. So the French will refuse Welsh Lamb? They always did.
Back in the 60’s there was a good deal of talk about how opening up Europe was such a wonderful export opportunity for Britain’s car industry and similar. Seen Longbridge, one time home of UK car manufacturing, recently? Tell the Welsh steel workers that. Tell the fishermen who saw their catches dwindle because of the Common Fisheries policy, or the damage the Common Agricultural policy did.
After the UK joined, I watched the decline first hand. After Maastricht and Lisbon, things only got worse. Only the big corporates really wanted Britain in the EU because that increased their influence and disadvantaged smaller companies, all in the name of ‘harmonisation’. The Greek chorus of a bought and paid for media ushered the UK into European bondage, controlling who and how UK businesses could trade internationally. This isn’t some form of tin foil hattery. That’s exactly what happened. The migrant crisis was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
So I’d like to point out that BREXIT won’t all be plain sailing. But at the same time it won’t be all doom and gloom. Unexpected benefits are coming for the UK. The benefits of truly global trade. Providing the Government doesn’t get in the way and cock everything up.
If I have a single piece of advice to anyone in the UK it is this; hunker down, weather whatever storm will happen. Take some minor precautions like planting thorn bushes underneath your windows. I hear Berberis is good if you’re worried about break-ins and sundry lawlessness in the wake of the UK’s leaving. It’s a bloody sight easier (and cheaper) than emigration.
Update: Two more weeks have been added to the ‘No deal’ deadline. Two more weeks of pointless panicmongering. It still won’t be enough for May to force through her much derided deal.