Leave and breathe or Brexit wrecks it?
No matter what the result might mean for your business both camps seem to be relying on more emotional arguments.
It’s a funny old world when despite the unknown economic implications of either a remain in the EU or a Brexit result the issue of Turkey suddenly becomes the main topic of debate. The general public are further confused when both sides claim that the threat of terror attacks would rise should you cast your vote for the “other side”.
For businesses it’s also a confusing and worrying time. Regardless of what business owners might think about the effects of the EU referendum, at the end of the day it boils down to what Joe Public makes of the scare mongering in the tabloid press.
The only certainty is uncertainty
The fact that no country has ever tried to leave the EU means there is a huge gap in knowledge concerning the likely effects. No matter what the supposed experts on either side say one thing is clear; businesses and the markets don’t like uncertainty as making any decisions surrounding future investment and growth will be made wearing a blindfold.
Interestingly (or worryingly depending on which side of the Channel you sit) there have been some recent indications of what a potential Brexit might mean. As the polls slowly tipped in favour of a leave result £98bn was wiped off the value of the FTSE 100 and Sterling headed south. London isn’t the only city suffering from the tremors as the markets in Germany, France and Spain have also suffered big losses.
Unfortunately, the headlines in most of the tabloids would rather scare the public with stories of Eastern European benefit scroungers flooding the UK than pointing out that their pension funds may no longer cover their retirement expectations.
Jeux sans frontiers or it’s a knockout?
The big issue for businesses trading overseas of course is how the many trade agreements negotiated over the years of EU membership will be affected should the UK vote to leave.
If you believe those who wish for Brexit then the UK is big enough and globally important enough to walk back into them on our own terms and ditch a lot of Brussels red tape on the way.
On the other hand, if you believe the words of the President of the USA, our biggest ally, along with those of the head of the World Trade Organisation, it could take ten years to negotiate a deal and we would be starting the process from scratch.
Make no mistake Mrs Merkel and Monsieur Hollande will want their ball back. At the end of the day it’s not a song contest.
By Steve Leeves