Tag Archives: Brexit

Brexit Pains

Hey you Brexiteer Brits, how painful was that decision you all made back in 2016? That promise of independence from those awful Europeans and a restart of those great old days when England ruled the waves. Well, it’s starting to look shaky at the moment.

First of all, if they ran the referendum today, a lot of the people that actually voted without a clue would now reverse their vote and vote to remain. But of course, this puts the current government in a sticky position as they pledge to honor the will of the people during that awful referendum vote. Meanwhile, because of the uncertainty, the effects are starting to play out in the economy.

I was chatting with a leading provider of jobs to the European youth market at the World Travel Market. She reported that applicants from Europeans for jobs in the service industry were 30% down year-on-year and they weren’t being replaced by Brits. These were the Spanish, Italian, French, you name it, all looking for that first year or two in a base industry to perfect their English and have fun in a capital city like London or Manchester. 30% down and where were they going? To other European cities like to Amsterdam, to Dublin, and to Scandinavia. Not to mention, there are about 100,000 jobs that are already projected to leave the financial center as companies begin to develop strategies around Brexit.

At least in American politics, when we have a polarized political situation (as we do now) we can at least count the days down before we go to the voting booth again. Brexit has no statute of limitations, it’s forever….like a cold sore, except we really know what it is, we just don’t like to call it by that name in public. I think one day they might want to put a statue up of David Cameron under the title “The Architect of the Most Devastating Decision that will Linger Forever in the annals of English History.”

Oh well. Abajo y atrás.

Brexit Marmite Pietro Place Peter Jones

Update on Brexit

With all of this populist talk in the air and Trump grabbing most of the headlines through his really bad behavior, some people may have forgotten that the Prime Minister of England, Theresa May, is firmly committed to pushing the Brexit button next March.

The good news for travelers is that the British pound continues to sink, products that we buy in the UK are as cheap as chips, and sadly for my mum, the average cost of a glass of sangria in Spain just went up by around 20%.  But that is not the end of it and lines have to be drawn.

Marmite has been brought into this whole ugly and distasteful mess about Brexit and the pound.

Apparently the makers of Marmite, the mega monopoly, Unilever, have decided to pull back some of the lost profitability of the falling pound and increase the price of our beloved product.

This is causing mainline supermarkets to refuse to stock the beloved brand and deny the right of all English people a taste on toast of their staple diet.

For the American tourists, there is good news of course in all of this.  Americans traditionally loathe the taste of Marmite, a black, sticky, glue-like yeast extract that Brits have been brought up on since they discovered what to do with the waste from brewing beer.  In Australia they call it Vegemite and it tastes the same.

For most ex-pats, Marmite is headlined with digestive biscuits, custard creams, and oxo cubes as things I dream about when I’m asleep.

It’s the stuff that we were raised on.

Now the beloved brand itself is merely a pawn in the gain of the Brexit politicians who promised a different world but in actual fact delivered a depressed currency, higher prices, more unemployment, and good news, an opportunity for Americans and Europeans to take advantage of a strong dollar and euro.

I was opposed to Brexit but I never thought that they’d touch my Marmite.  Those bastards!

Image courtesy of https://twitter.com/mnchstrdesign/status/706414679686561793

Brexit: The Days After

Brexit: The Days After

As a Brit living in the USA and holding a UK passport and a USA passport, I felt that I had this unique opportunity to work and travel in 29 countries.

That changed. The United Kingdom has just experienced a political nightmare.  What most thought would be a very passable referendum to remain inside of the European Union sparked such fierce political divisions that the vote went into the night and became a cataclysmic defeat for those that wished to remain in the EU.

The political fallout from this is still happening.  The Labor Party, Britain’s main opposition party, has been splintered and almost certainly sidelined for many years to come.  The Conservative Party has lost its leader and the Prime Minister.  As two populist conservatives, Boris Johnson, the disheveled and outspoken ex-Mayor of London, and Nigel Farange, a leader of the generously named but highly racist Independent Party, became the outspoken leaders for the “leave” camp.  Neither of these two villains will see power but they did enough damage to offset the gains made by being a member of the European Union for the last 45 years.

It was a campaign fueled by fears of immigration laced with racist terms.  Bringing “England back to England” banded around with frightening repetition.  At the end of the day, England is out.  The ramifications of this will be most obvious in the years to come.  In a global society, in a global economy, England has chosen to be isolationists fueling the immigrant polemic and walking confidently backwards into a “we once were great” illusion.  If that is not enough, English hooligans were on display everywhere during the European Championships of soccer.  To let you know what you really will be getting if you cut off the supply of bright, young Europeans who come to England to study our language, our culture, and more importantly, to work.

What does all of this mean for the traveler?

On a positive note, it means that your dollar will go further because the pound is tumbling and the euro has taken a hit as well.  It will probably mean more border checks and as England is not in the EU, the lines will be a little longer on the Eurostar and at the airports.  The fact that the United Kingdom is not in the Schengen Agreement which entitles free mobility between 19 countries will make it less of a problem.  For the United Kingdom passport holder traveling to Europe, it will mean longer lines and no freedom of movement.  It will mean that people will not be able to work freely with a British passport in any of the 27 member states and of course vice versa.  It means that in five to six years’ time, London will probably seem a little bit more English and that is not a good thing!  I love hearing the sound of foreign languages on the streets of London.  It makes me feel that I am in a cosmopolitan city, it encourages languages to be studied, and cultures to be learned.

Europe just lost one of its stars.  The United Kingdom is also the second largest economic country in the 28 countries with Germany still as number one.  But critically, Europe will still be a trading block of over 450 million people and therefore the second largest trading block in the world behind China and ahead of the USA.  The United Kingdom, in addition, may also become somewhat disunited within itself.  Scotland, who fiercely voted to remain in Europe, will probably elect to have a referendum and leave the UK.  Northern Ireland may do the same.  That would leave a very strange United Kingdom.  But for us tourists it would mean that we would have to go through border control to get to Edinburgh and the drive from Dublin to Belfast would also have a new border constructed.  Maybe we will have a united Ireland!

Of course none of this will take place right away.  Article 50 of the EU is the thing that has to be invoked.  That will set a two-year timetable for the unprecedented departure of one of the member states.  Thank goodness my grandmother is Irish!  I am applying for my Irish passport now!