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Bothersome Brexit

Kitty Miv, Editor
27 September, 2019

Well, the topic of Brexit is pretty much unavoidable this week, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson attending the UN General Assembly in New York hoping to talk the big talk (so what's new?) regarding his plans post-October 31, including with regarding to taxation and investment, while back in the United Kingdom, the 11 Supreme Court justices tasked with deciding whether the PM's decision to prorogue Parliament was lawful delivered their verdict on Tuesday. (Spoiler alert: They decided that it wasn't. Unanimously. Where we go from here, both politically and legally remains to be seen at the time of writing)

So... just because we can't avoid talking about it, doesn't mean that we know what is likely to happen in the coming months, weeks, or even hours. You'll be familiar with the saying: "A week is a long time in politics"? Currently, it is. It really, really is.

Anyway, let's concentrate on what has been said so far with regard to post-Brexit plans, and by whom, and to what possible effect, should it come to pass without further upset. (Which is unlikely, in my opinion, especially given the aforementioned Parliamentary and legal rumblings in the United Kingdom following the delivery of the Supreme Court decision...)

It had been reported that the PM's UNGA appearance would be dominated by announcements of "rolling out the red carpet" to investors, particularly from the United States, with a proposed reduction in the corporate income tax rate to 17% planned to set the cat among the European pigeons, post-Brexit, and a trade deal with the US hoped to be on the cards.

However, the major Boris Brexit Blockbuster speech was somewhat derailed by events in the courts back home, and his speech on technology matters (a key planned focus area once freed from European regulatory and tax 'shackles') as delivered to the UNGA was – by all accounts – both perplexing and perplexed, taking in limbless chickens, Greek mythology and malevolent household AI.

Matters of tax and economics have remained mostly off the table since the Prime Minister's earlier than anticipated return to the UK as well, with bad-tempered debate in the reconvened House of Commons focusing on the Benn bill – designed to force the government's hand in the face of no deal being agreed ahead of the October deadline – and the divisive language employed by Mr. Johnson and his compatriots to describe the contentious piece of legislation.

Meanwhile, outside of Westminster, the UK population is being cautioned, via billboards and advertisements, to ensure that they are "ready for Brexit" on October 31. Quite apart from the ongoing uncertainty regarding whether the split with the EU will actually take place, and the timing thereof, if it does, this begs the question: "How?" According to a recently released report by the National Audit Office on the preparedness level of the Department of Health and Social Care, the DHSE has pretty much no idea of whether its stockpiles of medicines will hold up in the face of a no deal Brexit, so I'm not sure what hope the rest of us mere mortals have!(And this aside from the current tangles in which the government, opposition, and other Parliamentarians currently find themselves, as I say.)

With the subject of tangles in mind, then, I'm off to attempt to have a sensible conversation on politics with Lady Hale's now infamous spider brooch. Until next week...

Tags: Euro

About the Author

Kitty Miv, Editor

Kitty was born in Argentina in 1960 to a Scottish cattle rancher and his Argentine wife. Educated in Edinburgh and at Princeton, Kitty worked for the World Bank as an economist, where she met and married an emigre Iranian banker. During her time with the Bank, Kitty worked in a number of emerging markets, including a spell in the ex-USSR as a Transition Economies Team Leader. Kitty is now a consultant in Brussels and has free-lance writing relationships with a number of prominent economic publications. kitty@lowtax.net


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