Day 6 in the Big Brexit House.
Today I was thinking about how deeply the word “Brexit” might embed itself in our culture. If I’m right and the era we’re about to live through will see a fundamental reshaping of the political and economic structure of the British isles, the word “Brexit” could insinuate itself into the structure of our future society, a linguistic fossil to be preserved for centuries or more.
There will certainly be history and politics textbooks—hefty ones—called “Brexit”. Economists in the future will build their careers on Brexit studies. Maybe there will be Brexit Street, Brexit Avenue, the Brexit Centre. Maybe Brexit will begin to crop up in the names of babies. You can imagine it being abbreviated to Brex, Brexie, the Brexler. Actually those sound like better names for a dog than for a child. I bet there are already dogs called Brexit.
Today there were two fairly long “threads” on Twitter which got a lot of attention. (I put “threads” in quote marks here because they’re actually people replying to themselves, not conversations between multiple people. It sounds narcissistic but it’s the only practical way of making lengthy statements on that platform which can later be read in a linear fashion.)
The first was from Ben Judah, a journalist at Politico. Click on the date in the tweet below to view the full thing.
Have been running around the City of London last few days. Here's an update.
— Ben Judah (@b_judah) June 29, 2016
The gist of it is that the EU, led by France and Germany, would be prepared to let the UK have its cherished controls on immigration if in return it gives up the City, causing an exodus of the financial sector from London to Paris. The deal would go down well with Brexit as it would look like one in the eye for bankers while also reducing the number of immigrants; in fact it would go down so well that the government would have little choice but to take it. The downside? A massive loss of tax revenue. So all in all it would be a huge win for France and Germany and not so much for the UK.
The second Twitter thread came later in the day and was from Alex White at the Economist Intelligence Unit who summarised the EIU’s current thinking on the implications of Brexit. Again, click on the date to read the whole thing.
EIU Brexit Take
1. Brexit has plunged the UK into political, economic and market turmoil. We expect this turmoil to be sustained
— Alex White (@AlexWhite1812) June 29, 2016
It’s a very gloomy prognosis for the next 4 or 5 years. I’ve taken a screenshot of the whole thing so we can check back in 2019 or so and see how accurate it all was. This was being shared pretty widely but not with a great deal of enthusiasm. Read it and you’ll see why.
If you do look at that thread you might see people replying to it saying “Well the FTSE 100 is up! So you’re wrong!”.
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) June 29, 2016
I’m sorry to be boring but I want to rebut that whole argument now as I’m tired of seeing economic illiteracy exploited for political ends. The companies that make up the FTSE 100 are all global corporations whose businesses are spread across the world. Some of them will be hit somewhat by a recession in Britain as it’s a big economy, but the effect on them isn’t as big as you think it might be. In the jargon, you could say their “exposure” to the British economy is quite low even for the ones that are headquartered in Britain. So to see the FTSE 100 as an indicator of the UK economy’s future health is to misunderstand what it actually represents.
So what about companies that do have a high exposure to Britain, or—in other words—companies whose fortunes are more closely tied to those of the UK economy? Well, take a look:
FTSE Local UK, which only includes equities with >70% sales exposure to the UK, is at its lowest level in over 3yr pic.twitter.com/3VMnNN68Gv
— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) June 29, 2016
This particular index only tracks companies whose sales come predominantly from within the UK, and the picture is pretty clear. That is the chart you should be looking at if you want to see what the markets think about the future of the British economy. Ignore Louise Mensch and her Yahoo! Finance screenshots.
Enough financial stuff for the day. Here’s a Pokémon GIF!
Whoever made this is a genius pic.twitter.com/7j6M5EenrV
— Hannah Rutherford (@lomadia) June 29, 2016
It’s funny, right? You know what else is funny? Inadvertently leaked emails. Remember, these are the people who will soon be running the country as it faces its gravest challenges since the Second World War.
Michael Gove's wife accidentally leaks email saying Dacre & Murdoch "instinctively dislike" Boris & need reassurance pic.twitter.com/UmGOlI7WZV
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) June 29, 2016
That email in full:
READ: Full Text of Leaked Sarah Vine Email https://t.co/0iXoqFFoUm
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) June 29, 2016
At least with the Tories you know it’s Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch who choose the leader. With Labour things aren’t quite as clear-cut. Today Jeremy Corbyn is sticking to his guns despite having lost the support of the vast majority of Labour MPs.
He has the backing of a large number of members so can only be unseated by something akin to a party coup, which is what is being attempted. But remember, this is the age of Brexit, and so the coup attempt itself is—like everything else—a cavalcade of ineptitude. And this is despite it having been in the planning stage for quite some time.
Some final things before we say goodbye to another Brexit day. First, some great positive campaigning is already emerging from within the Tory leadership contest:
— (((moyeen islam))) (@moyeenislam) June 29, 2016
JG Ballard foresaw Brexit back in 2000:
— Dan O'Hara (@skeuomorphology) June 28, 2016
People are still being racist:
My friend's kids, who are black and British, had "so long, farewell" sung to them all day at school yesterday. I want my country back.
— Owen Barder (@owenbarder) June 28, 2016
And is this going to be what I write about tomorrow?
Mark Carney's making a speech tomorrow in which I really really really hope he doesn't resign as well or we're all stuffed
— Gaby Hinsliff (@gabyhinsliff) June 29, 2016