A week, no a day is a long time in politics

To misquote Sir Alex Ferguson, “Politics – bloody hell!” As a spectator sport, this is great fun: just a shame that it’s serious.

We have now had the spectacle of political journalists running from one sensation to the next – to the extent that I’m worried about pressing “send” on this blog in case something happens between me pressing that key, and you reading it.

Let’s recap. The referendum took place because David Cameron felt he had to promise it in order to try to keep the two factions of the Conservative Party together. That worked, didn’t it? Since then. (and I wish these were my original words, but they aren’t) the Leavers have left and the Remainers have left. Nigel Farage has wandered off. We may be facing another General Election (and that prospect must be causing panic in the Labour Party, seems to be on the point of self-destructing). And who said politics wasn’t interesting?

So where are we? In terms of Brexit, this somehow feels like the end of something: perhaps we have just had our amuse bouche and are about to start on the real meal. But what does this all mean for business?

Business really wants boring politics, so we are not there yet. And we haven’t  even started discussions with our EU colleagues, let alone know how they are going to turn out. So, there are bound to be many more twists and turns ahead – but it does feel slightly better to have someone leading the negotiations who doesn’t start by laying down their list of wants without considering what the other party wants. It might even be a good idea to bring to this party people who have successfully negotiated something in the past – but that’s probably me being silly again.

Therefore, from a business perspective, no change yet after 23 June. The possible outcomes remain as before and in effect, and despite all the political noise, nothing has really changed yet. So, I am afraid, the business uncertainty goes on – and on, and…..

But, let’s not be too isolationist about this. Some Italian banks are in such a state that there is nervousness about the Euro; there is deadlock in Spain following the latest election there; the Australian Prime Minister may be about to be kicked out following their latest election; and we also have elections to look forward to in Germany, France and elsewhere.

Could this be the new export that will revive the UK economy? Exporting political chaos?

But please do remember to read this quickly before checking your news feed, as everything may have changed (again).

John Clarke

12 July 2016