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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Disorderly Brexit Has Already Begun
When Thomas Hobbes fled
from London to Paris in 1640 he proclaimed himself, rather proudly, as “The
first of all that fled” from England’s looming civil war.
I recalled that when it
occurred to me that it is not so much that England risks a disorderly Brexit as
that we have one already. The moment Theresa May wrote her political obituary,
her Article Fifty letter, individuals and organisations began to make their own
The Lithuanian, Polish
and Romanian workers began to go home and fruit and vegetables began to rot in
the fields though I don’t know how many newspapers apart from The Financial Times printed the
photographs. EU nurses and doctors began to go home too, or look for jobs in
Remain EU countries. The NHS authorities are now pleading with the government
to admit more non-EU foreign workers to replace those who have been lost.
European Union itself began to pack up its agencies in the UK, including the
European Medicines Agency. Quite a few UK citizens contemplating the
limitations of the threatened blue passports found their Irish roots and applied
for Irish passports. Dual nationals switched to the better side.
A few companies have
moved out and perhaps a few vulture firms have moved in, sensing the chance of
a kill when companies go bust or top end house prices fall or the USA gets the
permission it wants to dump chlorinated chicken and unfit milk on the UK.
As I write, we are
bracing for Unilever’s announcement that they will abandon their UK
headquarters and work exclusively from their Dutch one. Easyjet has already launched
its contingency plan with a new base in Austria.
Anyone and any company with any sense
is hoarding euros. And so it goes on. This is already disorder, though merely a
foretaste of what is to follow when the factories start to close, the food
banks become even more essential, the criminals start to celebrate. As a writer
in The Financial Times observed, a civil war is starting in a country
hopelessly divided. The worst is yet to come.
Added 5 April: Here's a link to a Financial Times article which is just one story of what is already happening: https://www.ft.com/content/dbeecd9c-3754-11e8-8b98-2f31af407cc8