Uncertainty leads down one path  

Mahmudur Rahman       | Published: July 26, 2018 22:20:04 | Updated: July 27, 2018 21:34:58


Come the 29th of March next year the UK will be either boisterous in its independence from `Europe or eerily quiet on the divorce. Either way, lives of the Britons will change in no uncertain terms. With the European Union warning member states to prepare for the inevitable 'hard Brexit' and the UK government to issue frequent reminders of what life outside of the EU will mean, it all seems to be headed for the 'no deal Brexit'. And that inspite of both needing each other badly and probably most of Britain wanting it badly now. The Scots, Irish and Welsh don't like being compared with Britons and all have their particular gripe. Most of their electorate voted to remain in the EU but the slender margin of votes went against them.

So what does a hard Brexit look like? Expensive BMW and Mercedes Benz cars, East Jet flights to the continent at the drop of a hat, a smooth ferry journey through Europe and crucially persons available at cheap rates to mow the lawn or service hotel rooms will be a thing of the past. Prices of certain items will shoot up at least initially and yes, more taxes are to be paid by the Brits. These will be a combination of tariffs and an additional burden in Income Tax, spiralling inevitably towards the end user. Major global corporations will most likely relocate heir headquarters and even exporting firms are bracing for a major upheaval. The bulk of the 14 million people who visit the UK are from Europe, using wave of the card swipe through immigration will have second thoughts relating to visas. Those who come to work will probably have a different regime to follow compared with those from other parts of the world.

It all opens up new jobs and business opportunities provided--and that's a big if, the British are willing to take on the low-paid working facility. That `Europeans are there in the first place is all about rates. Lower wages in Britain are still better than even lower ones in their own countries. Supporters of the Leave campaign, that is beginning to face scrutiny for over expenditure and under reporting of campaign funds, believe a deal is still probable and the new `Brexit `Secretary is bubbling with enthusiasm. The future of small businesses particularly the traditional corner shops is in doubt given that these, once run by Indian and Pakistani families have yielded inevitably to nationals of smaller European countries. The language that reverberates through the streets of Oxford Circus is a mixed gabble of Euro-Asian origin than the typical cockney that used to prevail. How that will be reversed in an economy producing new jobs but at pay rates that barely match inflation, is a big question. The clarity with which the US has apparently ruled out a special deal with the `UK is sobering beyond all the gallons of beer that the British consume.  And the prospect of a hard-border between Northern Ireland and the UK infringes on nationality issues.

As of now, there are three distinct possibilities. If Ms. May fails and new elections are held they may well be a platform of a different campaign rather than governance. If a no-deal Brexit takes place Britain's preparedness is either chugging along beneath all the cacophony of political rhetoric or they are playing blind. The third option will be a benevolence shown by the EU towards Britain. Academically speaking none of them really help the UK, economically or politically.

mahmudrahman@gmail.com

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