A couple of days ago, our new Prime Minister Theresa May stated that “Brexit means Brexit, precisely because it does“. This is the sort of language an exasperated parent might use with a querulous and unruly child, and it brooks no further discussion.

But I think that there are a couple of interesting things to point out. I’m not going to argue in favour of or against Brexit, but I am intrigued by the fall-out of the vote, and the unexpected things that have happened.

First things first, everyone involved in the vote (from a leadership perspective) has resigned / retired from public view. Farage has stood down as leader of UKIP, Boris Johnson withdrew from the PM leadership race, despite being the bookies’ favourite, and Gove stood for the leadership but was knocked out in the early rounds.
Cameron resigned the morning after the vote, despite pledging to stay and negotiate the will of the British people. Poor guy, probably the main things he will be remembered for are Brexit and pig-bothering (at least one of those is an actual fact). Farage and Johnson weren’t in any position to promise anything to the British people, such as an extra £350M for the NHS, or a points-based immigration system. None of them were in power, and so they couldn’t enact any policies or initiatives to deliver what they were promising. If Johnson had seen through his leadership challenge, he could have issued directive after directive from No. 10, but I believe that when he peered over the edge of the abyss and thought through what he had signed up to, he decided not to accept the offer of the poisoned chalice. Who would want to be remembered as the PM who took Britain out of the EU?

Well, it seems that Theresa May does. Maybe her desire to be PM trumps everything else, and maybe she thinks she can stall until she is voted out of office, but it does seem that something weird is going on. Article 50 hasn’t been invoked yet, and we are now two and a bit months after the vote. We need to get our skates on, I think.

The other weird thing is the level of confidence in business circles has risen dramatically. Of course the stock market crashed after the vote, and the £/$ exchange rate plummeted, but since then the FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250 have roared ahead with all guns blazing. My pension, invested as it is in stocks and shares, is feeling positively healthy. And it seems that there is a healthy dose of optimism washing over the nation.

It isn’t washing over me, I am still waiting for “the other shoe to drop”, but maybe that’s because I’m a pessimistic middle-aged man, who is now used to living in a zero-inflation, zero-growth environment. If inflation does start to kick in, I believe I will be worse off than I am now, and thinking back, I believe I had more disposable income five years ago than I do today. Sad, isn’t it?

But I hope that the markets have priced Brexit in to future expectations. Although that would be hard to do, considering that currently it seems that no-one knows what to expect from Brexit. Apparently the “experts” have been saying that we would do well if we managed to deflate our economy, and we seem to have done that overnight – the £ is now worth $1.33 (approx) when it was worth nearly $1.50 before the Brexit vote.

All in all, we are in uncharted waters. Some people think we should be able to negotiate trade deals outside the EU now, while others take the opposing view. Some people think we should invoke Article 50 as soon as possible, while others think we should delay (and even now we have no idea when it will be invoked). We are in a state of limbo while our “leaders” decide what Brexit looks like, and whether it is acceptable to the members of the EU. And in the meantime, life goes on, we have to buy goods & services, and city folk have to trade stocks and shares. And currently things seem to be on the up, much like Dennis Waterman, but I can’t help feeling that there is more to come, like a particular Vic & Bob ad for yogurt. I guess we will see.

What I am trying to say is that the jury is still out. We need to see how things pan out. Good luck, and see you on the other side…


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