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Weekend reading: One more rant in the aftermath of a wail of protest

Weekend reading

I’m depressed by the Brexit result and even more so by how it came about. Feel free to skip to the week’s good reads.

Some 25 years ago, I set off from the provinces for university in London.

My family waved me goodbye as the train began its journey through beautiful countryside that turned flatter, plainer, and more urban as I approached the South East.

Within hours I was in London – that vast city so near yet so faraway, which I had only visited two or three times in my lifetime and only then for a few brief hours.

I spent the first night walking around West London, astonished that seemingly every other person spoke a different language. Saw buildings from history books. Was amazed to find fabulously expensive cars that I’d only seen in TV adverts just parked out on the streets. Was bamboozled by one-bedroom flats in the estate agents’ windows at prices that now seem a bargain but back then – as I not-so-tactfully I informed my parents from a phone box a few days later – could have bought their semi ten-times over.

Give or take, I never left.

When Monday rolled around, it was time to become the first person in my family to go to university.

I learned two important things on that first day.

One was that they didn’t take a register of attendance, which I knew meant I would only be showing up when I felt like it.

The other I realized when I went to my first big lecture, alongside 150 or so other freshers on my course.

I entered the lecture hall and walked up the stairs towards the back, instinctively finding my level.

I kept going.

I sat down in the back row.

For the product of a 2,000-strong comprehensive school, the message of this seemingly trivial detail was clear.

I was the “hard kids” now. Nobody here was going to beat me up. Never again would I be fearful about the cast of violent, ill-tempered and stupid bullies that made each day at school a lottery as to whether you’d get a punch on the arm or worse – that forced anyone with a brain into unspoken alliances with robust friends, that made you laugh at the jokes of borderline psychopaths or accept the logic of a moron just because they were bigger than you.

I was free. Screw them all, I thought, as I remembered the yobs I’d left behind.

A design for life

Friday’s vote to leave the EU – and the sorts of places where most of those votes came from – was a punch in the guts that reminded me that you’re never really safe from the mob.

Of course, over the years my views towards the worst of my schoolmates softened.

As I began the typical thoughtful student’s grasping towards a political consciousness, I came to understand that to some extent it wasn’t their fault.

Most of even the dumb ones weren’t bad people. There were only a few monsters in each year group. They had almost certainly had terrible upbringings that I’d been lucky enough to avoid, and even if they hadn’t then perhaps they drew bad genes.

I also learned more about how economic changes had really hit hard the land where I grew up, and how even in the good times most of the profits had been siphoned off by owners who lived elsewhere.

I argued with girlfriends from the Home Counties who had no reason to know that not everyone grew up living next door to lawyers, newspaper editors, investment bankers, and directors at major pharmaceutical companies. That not every school was a safe place for learning. That not everyone was encouraged to be the best version of themselves.

Even after I cut my hair, gave up on true socialism, saw the reality of the workplace, and became the capitalist you know and tolerate today, I still tended to vote for Labour (though not exclusively).

In reality though, I’d become part of the metropolitan consensus that had everything to gain from global trade, open borders, and free markets, and saw very little to lose from the way the economy was headed.

I felt sorry for the marginalized, but I didn’t think their problems were my problems.

The second derivative

Perhaps this contrast between my past and my present was why I found a way to disagree with nearly everybody I spoke to in the run up to the Referendum – as I had for many years before that on some of the core issues that came to the fore.

Particularly on free movement.

As a Londoner who loves its polyglot diversity and all the cultural and economic benefits that accrue from it, I was all for it.

But I understand very clearly that not everybody feels the same way.

Some are flat out racists, and always will be.

But some are people who I can accept as wanting to preserve and be surrounded by a cultural identity they feel they belong to – John Major’s rosy vision of pasty-hued men playing cricket on the village green while their wives discuss kitchen extensions in the pavilion.

As I tried to explain to one of my innumerable London friends who cannot understand why not everyone wants to live surrounded by change and difference and colour, some people just find a universally frightening life more comfortable when they live near a pub where everyone they knew grew up with Fawlty Towers and The Spice Girls.

Are these people racist? I don’t think that’s the right word for it.

They have a cultural preference, just like me and my friends in London. I believe most of them would be happy enough in a workplace with (a minority of) colleagues from other cultures or races, although a good chunk probably wouldn’t ideally want their daughters to marry outside their ethnic roots. But even then, I think most are good enough people who would come to appreciate their new sons or daughters-in-law, given time to get to know them.

Rate of change is everything, always. Increase the UK population by three million in a decade and you’re going to have problems. I argued this again and again and we’ve just seen the results.

The same increase over 20 years? Not so much.

Then there are the security concerns. It is a tragedy – if not a coincidence, given that similar ideologues are involved in the backstory – that the refugee crisis on Europe’s borders has coincided with an existential battle against a new terrorist threat.

I don’t pretend to know exactly how Europe should have responded to the prospect of many millions of refugees arriving at the very same time when a large chunk of the population has rarely been so fearful of difference, but it’s abundantly clear – if only from all the subsequent backtracking, even by the Germans – that their first response was wrong.

Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good.

They’re not like us

UK politicians, European Union architects, and all the chattering classes should have been more pragmatic about the free movement of people long ago.

Clearly it’s core to the long-term project, but if there had been an honest appraisal of the fears it would provoke, then it might have been structured more sensitively.

Perhaps there should have been greater restrictions on the poorer Eastern European countries that joined the EU, or longer-lasting restrictions. Maybe there should have been a transitional process for new entrants that lasted 20 years or more, during which time Europe intervened to bring them up to speed. Clearly what curbs there were have not been enough to dampen the rate of change here.

I don’t know the solution, obviously. I don’t think anyone has good answers yet. But pretending it wasn’t a problem was never a solution.

Please understand that – as I’m forced to explain to friends who I have spent a decade warning about this bubbling resentment that was there to see for anyone who looked at it plainly – I myself am happy with the free movement rules of EU citizens as things stand, and even the consequent escalation of the UK population.

I can see the cultural benefits, the economic benefits, and the wider benefits for Europe of EU citizens going wherever they like.

And to return to a point raised in the previous section – I’ve fallen for women of all backgrounds over the years. (Sadly it hasn’t always been reciprocated!)

But I am not everybody. And you have to compromise.

There’s no point in me doing an amateurish rehash of all the arguments about this – you’ve heard it for weeks from better sources, and you can read more in the links below.

The bottom line is if you detoxify the perceived threat of immigration then you drain Leave of its pulling power.

Telling everybody that only racists fear migration isn’t detoxification.

The poor reason to vote Brexit

One reason it has been so hard to argue for free movement – and for the EU project in general – is because it is fundamentally a capitalist project.

Remove borders, remove tariffs, allow capital and labour and goods to move freely, and eventually most people across the Eurozone will be lifted up by the resultant greater prosperity.

You’re scoffing?

Exactly. Belief in capitalism has rarely been at a lower ebb.

You almost can’t blame the provinces for voting Leave, given that a chunk of them have seen their economic circumstances slide for generations.

And as an ardent believer in the good wrought by market systems, I’ve been warning for years that as a matter of self-preservation capitalists should be addressing income inequality as a top priority.

That really hasn’t happened, and Brexit is the first sign that there will be consequences for all of us, rich and poor.

I also blame my often lamented (if much-loved) left-wing friends and their Facebook posturing.

For years they’ve ranted that unemployment would soar to three million (employment is now at a record high) and that the NHS had been all but privatised and ruined (it hasn’t been and won’t be).

Rarely have they let the facts get in the way of their soundbites.

Well, now we see what happens when the other side picks up that particular ball and runs with it.

To Brussels without love

So the poor provincials get some of the blame. The rich elites also for their arrogance and indifference.

And the lefties played a part too, with their years of socially mediated scaremongering, and for telling the British people the country was corrupt and ruined for long enough that much of its population eventually believed it must be true.

Who else?

Obviously the Eurocrats. Jeremy Corbyn (who deserves a massive dollup of blame on a tactical level) famously said he was 70% for Remain. The well-argued gripes about Brussels put me at a similar level of conviction.

I never said Remain was an overwhelmingly slam dunk decision. Just that it was the right one.

To be sure, lots of the complaints about Eurozone bureaucracy are ridiculous. (It takes a massive organization and a big budget to administer to 340 million people in a dozen languages? Go figure.)

But the charges of aloofness and an anti-democratic impulse do ring true to me.

Again, I’m not smart enough to know how to address this, but surely we could have done more than we did.

In any event I don’t think the EU is sufficiently aloof, anti-democratic, and powerful enough to warrant pulling the pin. It has delivered economic gains for Europe as a whole, helped the rich get richer, and targeted money at the poor in places. It’s saved at least as much paperwork as it created.

And I’m happy to say it – it’s made violent conflict between or with Europe far, far less likely for decades. Not solely, but it played a role.

Seriously: How did we go from entering a partnership with the Germans just a couple of decades after they’d fought our relatives, murdered helpless millions and bombed our cities to smithereens to thinking the fact that they insisted fire alarms be fitted in all workplaces or that everyone should get a few paid days off a year1 was the source of whatever ails us?

The wartime generation really was wiser than us – once they’d lived through the evil education of the war.

Whatever the EU’s problems, it didn’t make our problems worse.

And we still had the pound, and our special opt-outs!

We had the best of both worlds and we might well have thrown it away.

Educated fools

The final group of people I blame is what I have called before the Grumpy Old Men brigade.

Well-educated, prosperous, ageing, and feeling themselves to be the owners of Pensieves recalling happier, better-educated, and even more prosperous times, I come across these people regularly in their guise as private investors.

In fact some of you fit right into this bracket.

Sure, we all have some wrong-headed views. However these guys are so pompous even as they’re so often wrong it’s not funny. Peak oil, the value of a manufacturing industry, the impact of women in the workplace, they get most things wrong and now they are on the wrong (albeit winning) side of the Referendum.

They are the supposedly financial savvy people who believe the poppycock money we pay into the European Union is an outrage, because they don’t understand it’s a force multiplier that delivers far greater economic returns.

At least the racists are right about one thing: Being in the EU surely means more foreigners in the UK.

The Grumpy Old Man brigade doesn’t even have that going for them. There is no economic argument for exiting the European Union. None.

Honestly, I almost wish London could enact the newly set-up petition to declare itself a City State just to leave these numbskulls to their dreams of returning ship-building to the Tyne and British-made bombers patrolling high above the channel.

I’d love to see how they got on without London’s smarts, its 21st Century business model, and its tax revenues.

Lies, damn lies, and the Leave campaign

Of course these grumpy men know better than the experts who have almost to a man and woman warned that Britain would be poorer in the event of a Brexit.

I certainly think we will be.

Perhaps not crippled, maybe we’ll even do quite well. But we would have been better off within – that’s been the case for the past 40 years, and it’s been abundantly so for the past 10 years. There was no reason why it wouldn’t have continued.

Britain has been, with Germany, the biggest winner in recent times from the project. London has boomed as hundreds of thousands of smart Europeans flocked to where the recovery was fastest and the prospects of getting a good job or setting up a new business was greatest.

London’s outward looking and increasingly digital economy thrived in a way that the regions should have striven to copy, not attempted to vote out of existence.

Everybody who knew anything said so – but who cares what the experts think?

This is surely the most worrying development, and many have already upgraded Donald Trump’s chances in the US on the same logic.

Politics has always been about exaggeration, and it’s true the Remain camp stretched some truths and forecasts to the limit.

But the Leave case was largely built upon fabrications and lies – not least evidenced by the fact that 24 hours after the win they’re recanting.

Boris Johnson – who was booed by the betrayed Londoners who made his political fortune as he headed off to deliver his victory speech on Friday – has already delivered a bewildering maiden speech, in which he explained immigration is a boon and that it will be business as usual under Brexit.

Let’s hope so, but that’s not what Leave said, nor what many of those who voted for Leave thought, Johnson.

Market madness

H.L. Mencken famously quipped, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

But many smart investors just lost a fortune by over-estimating the British people.

As skilled political animals, the likes of Johnson and Michael Gove have adroitly channeled the self-destructive mood of a huge swathe of the population to propel themselves within sight of the leadership role of a now-divided nation.

But for their part, global markets couldn’t believe we Brits would so dumbly vote against our own self-interest.

The resultant dislocations in the market on Friday morning were truly breathtaking.

Long-term readers will be aware of my active trading style that sits completely at odds with what this site in general and my co-blogger in particular strongly suggests you do. (In short, you should probably be a passive investor in index funds).

And the Referendum has been the most confounding event I’ve faced as an active investor.

I felt confident enough through the various Greek issues, the US fiscal cliff, the tumult earlier this year. Even the financial crisis felt logical, if sometimes terrifying.

But trying to figure out the best collection of assets to own in advance of and through the referendum was a mind-bender, and I changed my exposure many times.

While I tried to stay fairly balanced throughout, for weeks I was tilted more towards a Brexit. I sold out of much of my UK exposure, and at one point I had a pretty large wodge of gold.

A savvy friend in the finance industry didn’t see the need for this caution – like most in the City he thought the chances of Brexit were very low. Perhaps 8-10%, he estimated.

I was nothing like so confident, as I emailed back: “The danger is this is the mother of all protest votes.”

But with the horrible and pointless murder of MP Jo Cox, you could feel the market turn. (My first thought before I saw the news but felt the impact in prices was that Johnson had resigned from Leave, perhaps in disgust at Farage’s misleading migrant poster.)

As this shift continued, my current style meant I sought to reflect it in my positioning, and I sold the gold and upped exposure to some small cap UK cyclicals.

However I just couldn’t bring myself to the same sanguine position that everyone else evidently felt. And so my portfolio shed value daily as the anti-Brexit positions I held (mainly US stocks) wilted in sterling terms and the pound climbed.

All that changed on Friday night, as reality homed in. Before the markets opened, my portfolio notionally soared as the pound tanked. Stocks hadn’t yet had the chance to respond.

They got their chance at 8am.

My plan was basically to dump the less obvious positions I owned in UK exposed companies inside tax-sheltered ISAs and SIPPs, hopefully while the major funds and algorithms were concentrating on offloading the big blatant stuff like UK banks and major housebuilders.

I’d then reverse direction, buying certain blue chips they were throwing overboard in the panic, and hopefully the net result would be I’d get through the day fairly unscathed.

(Again, don’t try this at home!)

It half worked. I was able to get rid of a few UK positions, some in decent size, but for many I couldn’t get any sort of live quote.

I wasn’t prepared to buy “At Best” in a market in freefall, so my attempt to raise liquidity before the price rout took its full toll was only part-completed.

More surprising though was that I couldn’t even get a firm quote for the big companies I wanted to buy.

I was looking at huge banks down more than 30% and certain construction firms down over 75% in the early minutes of trade, and I just couldn’t buy them, at least not with any firm price guide.

The brokers at least stayed up-and-running – in the financial crisis you couldn’t log in at the worst times.

But they blundered, too, for example routing one of my orders into purgatory where it was neither executed nor could it be cancelled. (My fellow blogger Ermine saw his portfolio disappear for a while!)

By the time the US market opened, sanity had returned to UK trading – and then we were off on another rollercoaster.

At the end of the day, I’d achieved my aim; I’d lost less than 1% on what had become an all-equity portfolio.2

Sure, as Lars Kroijer noted to me later, it would have been far easier to hold a few index funds for a similar result, since most of the returns were down to currency swings. Home currencies often tank at the same time as home markets, he reminded me, which means overseas holdings in a diversified portfolio will see coincident gains. Another notch for his belief you should just own a global tracker.

From my point of view though, Friday was about survival in the chaos. I’ve done better by stock picking and trading over the long-term, and I hope to do so in the future.

I didn’t see the Brexit as a profit opportunity, but rather I had to negotiate a chasm of potential downside.

Young, less free, and singularly shafted

You’ll see more in the articles below about how the prospect of Brexit caused chaos in the global markets.

Glib comments to the effect that you shouldn’t care because your US shares went up 10% may well prove to be wide of the mark.

Uncertainty has massively increased, and Europe faces an existential threat.

Global growth will be without doubt slower than it might have been – simply because there is no mechanism by which this vote and this shock can increase it, though we can argue about the scale of the decline.

Yes, life will go on. The UK pound might even eventually rise as a haven, if the Euro goes to hell in a basket and even a stodgy, self-strangling UK economy looks like a better bet in comparison.

I have no doubt though that Britain is going to be poorer as a result of this vote. The extent to which whoever gains power in the aftermath implements the professed wishes of Leavers will determine exactly how much poorer.

It’s easy enough to paint apocalyptic scenarios – a run on the pound, soaring interest rates as we lose our triple-A status and foreigners refuse to finance our deficit. Maybe some localized violence.

However the truth will likely be more mundane, economically-speaking.

London will come off the boil, much global capital will head elsewhere. A few Northern exporters irrelevant in the grand scheme of things will sell a few more widgets to China and India. If immigration is massively curbed, then there’ll be fewer jobs but hourly wages for the crappest jobs might rise by a few pennies. But most things will be more expensive because labour costs will increase and for as long as the pound is weak we’ll import inflation. The poorer regions who voted for Brexit will see less money as tax revenues dwindle and growth slows.

Something like that.

But while I feel somewhat sorry for these poor and marginalized communities – and as I say I was concerned about them long before this vote – I save my greatest sympathy for the urban young.

The aging provincials voted in their imminent decline. The clever young overwhelmingly voted the other way.

As an FT comment that went viral on Twitter pointed out on Friday, young Britons may be about to lose their generation’s single biggest advantage.

They can’t see how they will ever afford a home of their own, job security and pensions are long gone, and they are crippled by student debts.

But free movement in Europe gave them the incredible opportunity to live elsewhere and to enjoy an entirely different life if they chose to.

That freedom, that potential – and all the living that would have gone with it – may just have been voted into oblivion, by old people.

In the worst versions of what happens next, the drawbridge goes up, those freedoms are lost entirely, and they’ll be stuck in the UK even as their bright young European peers drift home and their foolish parents who voted for Brexit wonder why it takes so long now to be served a coffee in Costa.

At its pre-Brexit best, Britain was a large cap version of thriving Estonia.

At worst, it’s now on the path to becoming a less socially ordered version of Japan.

Some Brexiteers are all for this, incidentally. On Friday I re-tweeted a comment by The Reformed Broker that sardonically congratulated the Brexiteers – they’d still have the immigrants, but now they’d have a whole lot less money, too.

One reply: “Good. To kill a tape worm you starve it out.”

Get poor and the immigrants go home. Genius.

Down with the revolution

I feel I haven’t said half of what I was going to say, but I doubt many people even read this far and I don’t blame you.

I avoided Brexit articles in the run-up to the vote, which I now slightly regret. It seemed a kindness to readers, but perhaps it might have swayed a few Leavers not to be so silly.

I know plenty of Monevator readers will agree with my sentiments – because about a quarter of this site’s readership hails from London.

We know London has its problems. Some persevere with it just for the salary. But others of us love the place as much as it has confounded and frustrated us, and know that this vote against the EU is as much a vote against our home.

They – and certainly many other Remainers around the country – will agree with a friend of mine on Facebook who wrote this morning:

Nigel Farage described the result of the referendum as a “victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people”.

So I am now proud to be extraordinary and indecent.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of history should shiver when politicians with ugly views start championing the cause of the common man. True lasting progress nearly always happens slowly – populism virtually always end badly.

From the demise of the Roman republic to the rise of communism in Russia, even when (as so often) the populace had every right to be angry, they typically cut their nose off to spite their faces and uprisings made things worse.

Some of you disagree. Some of you – mainly grumpy, mainly old – voted for Brexit.

That was your right, just as it’s your right to be angry (and wrong) about what I’ve written today.

I hope soon enough we can talk about expense ratios and using your new ISA allowance. I don’t think you’re bad people.

But don’t look forward to a vibrant debate about the pros and cons of the Referendum to follow this article.

And I wouldn’t bother explaining your vote to Leave.

I am likely to delete all but the very most thoughtful pro-Brexit contributions. My site will not be another platform for the wail of stupidity that has led to this result.

I doubt any of my old school bullies or their like read this website. But do I know some Blimpish investors do.

Well, Monevator is not a democracy.

You had your vote. You can take your views elsewhere.

Brexit articles: Quarantine box

  • England just screwed us all – Felix Salmon
  • After the vote, chaos – The Economist
  • Brexit will reconfigure the UK economy [Search result]FT
  • Boris Johnson’s Pyrrhic victory – Guardian
  • Evan Davis loses it with one Brexit liar – Huffington Post
  • Petitions: For London to declare independence; for a 2nd referendum
  • The sky has not fallen, but we face years of hard labour – Telegraph
  • Owen Jones: The escalating culture wars have to stop – Guardian
  • Brexit is a wake up call: Save Europe – Guardian
  • Britain is not a rainy, fascist island – Guardian
  • World’s richest people lose $127 billion in Brexit chaos – Bloomberg
  • The golden generation leaves a tarnished legacy [Search result]FT
  • London just threw its race with New York – Bloomberg
  • So it’s Brexit. What next for shares? – The Motley Fool
  • Bag a bargain post-Brexit investment trust – Citywire
  • Star fund managers on Brexit’s impact on shares – ThisIsMoney
  • EU exit expected to end UK house price boom [Search result]FT
  • More: What does Brexit mean for UK house prices? – Guardian
  • Why Brexit is so bad for the global economy – The Atlantic
  • Europe makes Brexit-voting UK a safe haven [Search result]FT
  • Revenge would be the wrong E.U. response to Brexit – Bloomberg
  • My secret plan for surviving after Brexit – UK Value Investor
  • Voted Brexit? How to forgive yourself – Aeon

Have a good weekend.

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Products of the week: The Guardian rounds up a collection of financial services that come with freebies. Why not get a free iPad with your mortgage, or a free eye test with your insurance? Well, perhaps because such deals will rarely be the best all-rounders. These companies are targeting an old part of your brain – the primitive beast within you that seeks a short-term pleasure hit. Better to get back out into the field to till the earth and mull over what’s cheapest in the long-term.

Mainstream media money

Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.3

Passive investing

  • Mispricing underlies profitability premium – ETF.com

Active investing

  • Do experts know anything? – Bloomberg
  • High household equity in the US is bearish for the S&P – MarketWatch

A word from a broker

Other stuff worth reading

  • Top 10 destinations for Britons looking to work abroad – ThisIsMoney
  • Interest-only mortgages are back, for some – Guardian
  • The Forrest Gump of the Internet – The Atlantic

Book of the week: Fancy some topical reading in the aftermath of the Brexit vote? Why not pick up a copy of Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. O Fortuna!

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every week!

  1. Or whatever, I can’t be bothered right now to look up the “red tape” that has supposedly crippled our growing economy. []
  2. I have a massive slug of cash and cash equivalents, but they sit outside my trading accounts and tracking, as they’re earmarked for a house purchase someday. []
  3. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. []

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • 51 Topman June 26, 2016, 8:38 am

    I voted Remain and now I’m grieving for our country. I hope you won’t expunge my words TI when I say that Brexit is a victory for ignorance and myopia. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, that the “UK” may now eventually only be England and maybe Wales.

    I’ve signed the online petition, because although I don’t expect there to be another referendum I do think that it’s hugely important that those of us who feel as I do make our anger as apparent as possible; it may influence our policy makers

    How will things pan out in the shorter term? Show me the interest rate, exchange rate, unemployment and inflation numbers in six and twelve months time and I’ll tell you.

    Keep calm but you have permission to weep!

  • 52 R June 26, 2016, 8:42 am

    Surely once the negotiation team has actually spent the many hours agreeing all of the compromises needed to agree an exit deal we need to have a 2nd referendum. Only at this point will it be clear what the IN and OUT options are. The simplistic leave and take back control message will be popped by the reality of what will be needed to live and trade with our neighbours. Hopefully then it will be clear that IN provides the best option for the UK?

  • 53 Richard June 26, 2016, 8:48 am

    Out of interest, those who are signing the petition to re-run the referendum. If remain had won and leave started a similar petition, how would you view it?

    I think the almost 50:50 split already tells policy makers how they should think about proceeding.

  • 54 clinging to the wreckage June 26, 2016, 9:23 am

    Nice article TI thanks.

    I’m not sure that the economic case is quite as pessimistic as some here seem to assume. Even assuming some fairly pessimistic possible outcomes the long term effect on GDP is not predicted to be critical. I’m not for one second suggesting this is a desirable or optimal situation, and there will be pain for some, just that it can be dealt with.

    To try to give this some perspective, based on my 27 years working in the economics dept of a London bank I would rate this as a lot less significant than 2008 (because apart from Friday’s monetary shock it is not a global event (yet?)), but more significant than say ’92. A serious but not catastrophic event. To really go back in time it is nowhere near as bad as the early/mid 70’s.

    So… this means a short-term slow down in UK growth (recession possibly) as the uncertainty puts investment projects on hold and after, when the trade arrangements become clearer business gets to grips with the new normal. In my experience, business and the dynamic, creative entrepreneurial people that run them have an amazing ability to deal with the clusterf*cks that come their way.

    The message to my investing self is:
    1. do the keep calm and carry on thing.
    2. keep in mind what my investment objectives are and relate my actions to those.
    3. don’t see the point of dwelling on the whys and wherefores of it all.
    For me this event has brought home the importance of global diversification – assets and currency, even a normally sensible country like Britain can do stupid.

    Disclosures, I voted remain. My own portfolio is long equities, global, mostly passive.

  • 55 Minikins June 26, 2016, 9:27 am

    @TI I am sorry to hear that you are depressed at the Brexit result and even more about how it came about.

    The result ultimately is about numbers not about what is right or wrong, so the prevailing view overall wins.

    It’s harder to stomach when
    a) nearly everyone around you and within your environment shares your opinion
    b) the majority in the media and prevailing political powers are relentlessly promoting your opinion and rubbishing the alternative view
    c) Spokespersons for your field of expertise and operations (familiar and established players you respect and trust) are on your side of the argument and confident that this side will prevail
    d) bookmakers and most commentators are predicting a win for your side, even the leaders of the opposite campaign.

    Regarding how it came about, well that is the democratic process, for all its flaws. As I keep telling my friends, you can’t keep rerunning a vote or referendum until you get the result you want. It’s only as good as the cognitive function of the majority of its voters and the honesty and competence of its ballot counting processes.
    Democracy demands a respect of its processes regardless of the results it produces, otherwise we may as well just have a dictatorship or a revolution. I am grateful that these processes are fair and well executed as I do remember a referendum which was held by the military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 80’s. I remember reading the question regarding basically whether I wanted this idiotic megalomaniac of a military dictator to continue his despotic military rule. Of course I didn’t but the referendum papers had a caveat demanding a name and address if you didn’t want military law to continue AND if you didn’t put your address down (which was only a requirement if you said No) your vote was invalidated.

    I would say the media and politics does a similar job in scaremongering, threats and misinformation in order to influence results and that there is a responsibility to be prepared for votes based on that as well as a backlash but that actually that people will ultimately be free to vote as they wish in a fair and well run system despite their brains being potentially washed or non existent.

  • 56 hariseldon June 26, 2016, 9:42 am

    The In Out vote was binary but the logic behind any such decision is not binary but the result of considering many factors to come to a decision.

    I was In but my internal reasoning was 55:45, i.e. I thought Remain was a better choice than Out by a modest margin.

    Life as we know it will not end and we will continue to prosper in the medium term. When the anger subsides then there will be accommodations such that the Out campaigners will be somewhat disappointed and the those who voted Remain will find the outcome not as bad as they feared.

    Thats how politics and democracy works, whilst there will be losses, there will be gains as well.

    Life goes on !!!

  • 57 magneto June 26, 2016, 9:58 am

    ” Tony Benn explained it best. In the UK you have a government it listens to you and if it screws up it gets booted out. He became anti EU as he gradually realised that the intention was to create an edifice that would not be bothered by such a tiresome construct.” Martyn

    Yes the inability to ‘kick the rascals out’.
    This is the democratic deficit, the reluctance of the Euro State to listen and respond to the electorate, who did not vote for this behemoth construct, and feel helpless as a result to influence the direction of travel.

    Many who voted Brexit (and possibly some of the Brexiteer leaders) did not expect to win. They voted Brexit as a protest against their helplessness and the deaf ears of the ‘establishment’.

    Could things change ?
    The more one ponders, the less certain the conclusion that Brexit will happen. There are so many problematic ramifications!

    Let’s say Theresa May becomes the next Conservative leader?
    As a Eurosceptic but not an Brexiteer, she might be able to get less intransigence from the Eurocrats, with the UK Referendum results very much in their minds, and the threat of popular movements in other countries moving in an Exit direction?

    That might open up the way for a second referendum with new, more reasonable, terms on the table, as mentioned by several others above?

    Investment-Wise, like others here, we have seen little action in our portfolio over the past week! Have put in one small sell order this weekend for International, and a watch alert on a few other positions.

    With investment methods, try not to anticipate events/market moves, but simply respond as opportunities/fluctuations present themselves.

    Watch those portfolios !

  • 58 The Investor June 26, 2016, 10:05 am

    Excellent discussion, perhaps better than my admittedly rather emotional post deserved. While as I said I’m on a short fuse on this, I’ve only felt the need to delete a couple of comments. Maybe this is self-censorship on the part of the sort of commentators you read elsewhere given I’ve warned I’m a benign-ish dictator here, or perhaps we just don’t have many in the Monevator audience, but anyway, good stuff.

    (There’s a couple of comments I have left up to give air to a particular sort of view, but I wouldn’t go piling on…)

    Far too many interesting points to address individually, but a few further thoughts.

    Firstly, there’s an admirable resistance here to calling people stupid. I understand the motivation, and I’m certainly not saying stupid people are wicked, ignorant in a wider sense, that they had every opportunity they might have had to improve themselves, or that they have nothing to contribute.

    Clearly the world takes all sorts, and amen to that. However the fact is intelligence in the human race is distributed on a bell curve, and if words mean anything than a chunk of our population sits well to the left on that curve and we might as well call them stupid. It’s a reality of the situation on the ground, not a criticism, and I believe it’s a valid point to raise because this Referendum choice was not a trivial decision to make even for people with above average analytical and information processing skills. It was however an easier decision to make on an emotional level, and when you look at the distribution of Remain versus Leave votes, I think it’s pretty clear what happened.

    Saying Leave voters were more inclined to be less mentally capable does not make every Leave voter stupid. Of course not. However we’ve all surely now seen enough Vox Pop interviews, campaign rallies, newspaper interviews, and comments on (other!) websites for a strong pattern to be emerging. I don’t think any unbiased observer would hesitate in drawing the obvious conclusion from the bulk of this evidence about the sort of people who made up a large proportion (not all) of those who voted Leave. The fact that many of these people have voted against their own self interest only adds to my conviction.

    (Does anyone *really* think the sort of people who led the Leave camp are the sort who are interested in or equipped to roll their sleeves up and sort out entrenched disadvantage, which even if it was their most pressing concern (it is nothing like it) is one of the toughest problems of our time? Come on… — and I say that as a floating voter, not a tribal lefty.)

    If these people shouldn’t have voted Leave for good economic reasons but weren’t well-equipped to realize it then should they have voted this way as a protest, or to try to make things better?

    Well, perhaps. They haven’t got many tools available to them and with this huge stick they’ve effectively struck back at “us” for whom the modern working world is to our advantage. But however much sympathy one has for the bottom couple of rungs on the economic ladder, that doesn’t make their disaffection with the modern world represented by a vote on Leaving the EU a good reason for leaving the EU. Not even for them, let alone for us urban globetrotters. For me it means, as I tried to say in my piece, that the elites should have been paying more attention and concern earlier.

    Regarding free movement and the economics of their plight, as I have said I don’t believe this is the reason for these people being in this position.

    Most of the big dislocations in the working classes happened back in the 1980s, when the Poles couldn’t have come here if they wanted to. More or less the same thing that ails them is also evident in other big economies, especially the US but also other EU members that don’t attract so much inward economic migration. And as I say, even if I was personally persuaded it’s had a small downward impact (I’m not), I do not believe that halting migration, leaving the EU, and taking the short and long-term economic hits that will surely come are going to reverse their situation. I am very confident in fact that such an extreme solution (which many of them would advocate) will make their plight worse.

    I say all this even while agreeing unconstrained free movement is the weakest link in the EU project. Mainly because I agree it’s made people fearful (regardless of whether it should have) and it’s changed some locales in a way many inhabitants don’t like (regardless of whether a metropolitan thinks they should or not). But also because it’s the toughest part of the capitalist component to the mission of the EU to get right.

    Move goods around the place more freely? Easy. Play some great game of trans-continental musical chairs for five or six decades until people have found their right level and are deployed most efficiently by the market — by leaving their friends and families, their culture, and setting up shop far from home? Infinitely tougher. I have long admired the Poles and others who’ve come here for having the gumption to do this but of course it’s not for everyone. Just look at how hard it is to get people to move from say unemployment black spots in the Welsh valleys.

    That UK language skills are so poor (particularly among the disadvantaged group we’re mostly talking about) while at the same time the UK’s national language of English is the common tongue of the global economy that their even poorer working class EU counterparts can speak to some extent only exasperates this. Realistically, not many people from Hartlepool’s council estates are going to learn Romanian or Estonian to seek a better fortune abroad.

    So while I’m still disagreeing on the economic impact point, as I said in my piece I fully agree something should have been done much sooner about the numbers for pragmatic reasons (even though it would have meant an economic hit for the UK as a whole) and to soften/think about the cultural impact. Not because I wanted it, but because the country seemed to need it and we are all in it together, to borrow a blighted phrase.

    Finally, on sovereignty and Brussels, I don’t think even many Remainers are saying the EU is perfect or even three-quarters perfect. However it’s at least halfway there, in my view, and it was a work in progress.

    I really struggle to think of truly terrible things the EU has got wrong that are so much worse than what nation states have got wrong. Fine, we can argue about fishing policy in this decade or some financial initiative in that. But national governments make mistakes all the time, too. In fact, huge policy blunders by the EU are notable by their absence (a stronger gripe would be that too often they do nothing) with the arguable exception of their stance on free movement and I’d say potentially on the implementation of the Euro. Perhaps they enlarged too quickly in the east.

    All those things happened slowly, though, and were enormously complicated issues. In terms of more sudden dramas where the EU hasn’t covered itself in glory, say the refugee crisis or perhaps the financial crisis, they were/are again massively complex problems, and national leaders soon stepped in anyway (which gives lie to the no sovereignty argument).

    Meanwhile the vast bulk of what the EU has done from day to day has gone on unnoticed and without celebration, which is perhaps how such things should be. Comparisons with Germany in 1938 are beyond the pale.

    Probably every one of us has some issues we’d prefer the EU had taken a different line on. That’s the nature of compromise. Not getting your own way all the time isn’t a lack of sovereignty, it’s a reality of human life on Earth. As we all trivially understand, nobody will get their way all the time even if all power is repatriated to London.

    You can add up the more reasonable Leave concerns about free movement, sovereignty, and have some empathy for the emotional impact on certain segments caused by a world changing too quickly, and even if you agreed with them all, in my view you’d get to about a 30% justification for Brexit.

    To get to more than 50% I think you have to start turning to the strong stuff.

    The potential exception is sovereignty, since it’s hard to argue that a nation (for what a nation is worth, we can debate nationalism another day) cannot be more in charge of its own laws* than if it makes them all for itself. But the idea that fears over our Parliamentary democracy was what really motivated anything but a minority of Leave voters is fanciful.

    *Note I say “make it’s own laws” not “be in control of its own destiny”. In today’s hyper-complex and inter-connected world, very many issues need so much involvement and compromise with other countries that I’d argue you get more control by working with more of them from the get-go. (E.g. Environment threats and global warming, international crime, tackling extremism, and many more).

  • 59 The Investor June 26, 2016, 10:16 am

    p.s. One last thing from me and then I’ll shut up. It’s true, as some are saying, that we have to deal with it. However I think some navel-gazing just 48hours after the biggest political and (potentially) economic and cultural shock since Thatcherism is not just justifiable, it’s vital. This is especially because some solutions/coping strategies on a personal and a national level will only come about from such reflection.

    Thatcherism turned out to be (at the least an approximation of) just what the country needed. I can’t really see how a true Brexit would be anything like that, obviously enough from all I’ve said, but perhaps the Protest element to the vote could be some kind of useful wake up call.

    If we’re still wallowing in hopelessness in three month’s time you have my permission to apply the bucket of ice water. 😉

  • 60 Marked June 26, 2016, 10:30 am

    Spot on post. Mirrors my own thoughts too.

    I do however believe many factors came to pass in remain not winning. Cameron “winging it” – I think he felt remain was a no brainer and only put effort in last February. Secondly whilst we talk about 1.25m vote delta, it’s actually only 625k vote delta if you had changed people’s minds. So the referendum actually feels undemocratic since a few right wing Tory newspaper owners peddled propaganda – eg the Sun, Torygraph, Daily Mail. They are puppets to their owners. Of course Osbourne stoking the fire with that stupid Leave budget when he won’t be Chancellor didn’t help.

    It really does seem like a perfect storm just for Cameron to appease some MPs in his party. Oh well at least history will judge him.

    Most of all I’m disappointed for the young generation. This decision means more debt, more taxes, no freedom of movement for them. Ironically the hardest hit will likely have more taken away – the government will be right wing remember.

    For me the biggest issue is economic malaise. No business plan, no idea what’s going to happen and 27 heads of state that can each veto a negotiated trade deal – some with an axe to grind! Eg France and Spain

    The best we can do is roll up our sleeves and get on with it. Johnson is not the person to heal the rift in our country.

  • 61 Topman June 26, 2016, 11:06 am

    @TI ….. “intelligence in the human race is distributed on a bell curve …..”

    My 50 years membership of Mensa is something that I normally avoid mentioning, because it tends to raise hackles and wrongly provokes accusations of elitism. It was through my membership that I learnt of, bought and read the now classic book “The Bell Curve – Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life”, Hernstein and Murray, Free Press Paperbacks.

    The book raised a storm of politically correct criticism but the authors stood their ground, supported by a raft of evidence. They were right, and Brexit is an example of their predictions writ large.

  • 62 Richard June 26, 2016, 11:24 am

    Isn’t the root cause of remains failure the fact they had nothing to offer other than fear? No message about how they would allay peoples concerns of the EU? Brought about because the EU would not compromise on its own position during DCs negotiations with them last year. Even a small concession I think would have swung it easily the other way. But no, remain had nothing to offer other than the status quo and fear of deviating from the status quo. That doesn’t win political campaigns. Leave had fear sure, but they also said they would be able to keep the economy going and address people’s concerns. They offered hope as well as fear. Hope is a winner.

    To the point on Europe wanting to hurt us, I feel they won’t. They have their own nationalist parties on the rise and if they hurt us they will hurt their own economies. If their people feel poorer they will probably turn to the nationalist parties making break up of the EU more likely.

  • 63 Damian June 26, 2016, 11:28 am

    Always enjoy reading your articles.

    There are some inevitable flaws in your argument. So this is just a fun take.

    As someone who lived and worked in London but now lives in provincial and poorer” West Sussex I can see it from both perspectives.

    The fatal mistake you make, my friend, is that you assume that London is progressive, richer and by inference happier. It is not. Life satisfaction is higher outside London, despite all the boons you and others understandably list. London can learn from the provinces in some areas.


    The second mistake is to assume that mass migration and diversity in London is overwhelmingly a wonderful thing. I grant you it is a fascinating social experiment and the fact so many different people can generally integrate well (not just tolerate each other which is defeatist to me), more than possibly any other city on the planet is an inspiring thing.

    The flaw is you, nor The Economist below (watch the video), take account of cooperative games. Paul Collier, the Development Economist, cautions against the “gung-ho” attitude of how society is changing. More than 50% of people in London were born outside it and that has long-term implications about how people co-exist. I am not even talking about Ben Judah’s bleak assessment of London.


    Social cohesion and democracy are like fresh air – they are taken for granted. All the utopias of the past – nationalism, communism and fascism – all ended in mass bloodshed. Liberal utopia is no different. Just ask the Greeks.

    The trick is to better balance the nation state with globalisation. It’s hard and no one has that answer yet.

  • 64 Richard June 26, 2016, 11:38 am

    “Probably every one of us has some issues we’d prefer the EU had taken a different line on. That’s the nature of compromise. Not getting your own way all the time isn’t a lack of sovereignty, it’s a reality of human life on Earth. As we all trivially understand, nobody will get their way all the time even if all power is repatriated to London.”

    One could direct the same argument at remain voters who didn’t get their own way and are now very upset about it :)……..

    If leaving is so bad, why have a referendum in the first place? Why not have a vote in parliament with our elected representatives. Who have the time and ‘intelligence’ to consider all the expert opinion. So either we are all over exaggerating the economic impact of this (and I would challenge that even the experts don’t really know what will happen) or the blame for this sits with the government who should never have called a referendum in the first place.

  • 65 The Investor June 26, 2016, 11:41 am

    @Richard — Let’s let some other people have a say now, eh?

  • 66 Richard June 26, 2016, 11:53 am

    @TI – 🙂 It’s a slow Sunday…….. It is an interesting discussion but will leave it before I get sent to the Monevator gulag

  • 67 PC June 26, 2016, 12:02 pm

    So where is Boris and what’s his/their plan?

  • 68 Max June 26, 2016, 12:09 pm
  • 69 john June 26, 2016, 12:20 pm

    @above – remain was the status quo so we had to argue the alternative was worse and something to fear. Also, you say it would be logical for europe to give us a sweet deal. The leave campaign has been saying logic rarely comes into the EU’s decision making all along and i bet you agreed then. Besides which, will europe want to make jumping ship look appealing to sweeden, holland, front nationale etc?

  • 70 CyclingHedgie June 26, 2016, 12:34 pm

    Yeah, I agree, feels like the risk/reward favours short UK/EU assets here. Either art 50 is invoked and we get another big leg down, or it isn’t, and uncertainty remains elevated, so it’s hard to rally.

  • 71 Jim June 26, 2016, 12:34 pm

    This was well written and I appreciate you sharing your personal views on this having grown up in almost two worlds, you can give us some insight and perspective you won’t get anywhere else.

    We have friends who live in London and they’ve been absolutely crushed by this, since they are paid in pounds but all their family is in the US (and they will eventually move back). Fortunately they’ve been there long enough that they’ve earned UK and EU citizenship, but the currency haircut has been brutal.

    May we live in interesting times. 🙁

  • 72 PC June 26, 2016, 1:02 pm

    Friday’s moves looked more like a pause to me. 3 months of uncertainty alone is likely to mean another leg, or two down.

  • 73 Felice_Pazzo June 26, 2016, 1:03 pm

    Some interesting comments raised here – not so much the “poor me/us” comments [I’m clearly at the mentally-challenged end of the IQ curve :-D] but for those looking objectively at the situation and considering the opportunities – those viewing the world “as it is” rather than “as it should be”; after all, isn’t the central tenant of Financial Responsibility to take responsibility, rather than blame others?

  • 74 Minikins June 26, 2016, 1:30 pm


    “A person who neglects what is actually done for what should be done learns the way to self-destruction.” –Machiavelli

    It also happens to be the opening quote of a superb piece posted today by Bent Flyvbjerg


  • 75 dustofnations June 26, 2016, 1:37 pm

    Thanks for the rant, much of which I agree with.

    The media’s 15+ year propaganda campaign against the EU has succeeded; their lies repeated so often that they’ve become fact in the mind of the public (see: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/euromyths-a-z-index/ – including the infamous straight bananas and square tomatoes BS).

    I think we’ve had a severe and growing issue with wealth inequality and lack of opportunity for the poorest segments of society; the misdirection of blame for this onto the EU has been one of the biggest achievements of the leave campaign.

    Anyway, onto my main point:

    I guess I can’t be the only skilled young person seriously considering leaving UK? I’m fortunate enough that I could likely get a job in a variety of different countries, EU or otherwise.

    Perhaps we’ll soon need a “Monevator Special: Leaving UK”, with guidance for how best to financially handle the move abroad!

    I’ve got a bit of time to figure out what I want to do and make it happen, at least.

  • 76 D June 26, 2016, 3:23 pm

    I am curious about the lazy assumption that the British media is fundamentally hostile to the EU.

    The Mail on Sunday and Times backed Remain along with the usual suspects on the liberal left, such as The Guardian, FT and The Economist. Most would accept that the BBC is pro-European. A powerful and influential group.


    What I do think is that the media has indeed been reporting bad news about the EU for years. To take one example: The Economist has been criticising it for years, such as one front page on Jun 21st 2003, “Where to file Europe’s new constitution.”


    To suddenly do a u-turn a few months before the election and unremittingly support the Remain, ignoring all its criticisms of the previous 15 years, comes across as utterly embarrassing by The Economist. They were not alone.

    No wonder people distrust the media of whatever persuasion and I agree that they have contributed to bad feelings about the EU, whether they intended it or not.

  • 77 valmiki June 26, 2016, 3:35 pm

    I live in Wales. I work for Local Government, and am a post-graduate. I am also born of immigrant parents. I am married, and have two young children. My salary is below 40k. I also resent being referred to as the bumpkin, the thicko, stupid, the closet racist, and all those other things that you would like to label me to try and understand why we are where we are.

    I guess I see myself as a moderate Brexiteer. I voted Leave. Why? Sovereignty. The ability to vote in *and* out those who govern our lives.

    I know why others have voted out. Instead of the sour grapes that I read here and the existential angst of ‘remaining’ in a country where half the population holds a different view to your own, perhaps you could spend the same amount of effort trying to understand your fellow man, instead of the usual vitriol that I see replicated. They feel marginalised, left out, sick of politicians blaming each other and then Europe whenever promises are reneged on. They are the globalisation losers.

    I’m sure many of you won’t give a toss, but try and get outside of your own bubble and talk to your countrymen, not just those that are in the same socio-economic demographic as yourselves.

    And as for your last couple of paragraphs? I can take my views elsewhere? Well, thanks. You take the ball home, I’ll go find some other friends to play with.

  • 78 The Investor June 26, 2016, 3:43 pm

    @all — If you’ve the stomach for any more, this take on the Brexit vote from PERC is thought provoking, especially on the nature of ‘facts’ today:

    One of the complaints made most frequently by liberal commentators, economists and media pundits was that the referendum campaign was being conducted without regard to ‘truth’.

    This isn’t quite right. It was conducted without adequate regard to facts. […]

    In place of facts, we now live in a world of data. Instead of trusted measures and methodologies being used to produce numbers, a dizzying array of numbers is produced by default, to be mined, visualised, analysed and interpreted however we wish. If risk modelling (using notions of statistical normality) was the defining research technique of the 19th and 20th centuries, sentiment analysis is the defining one of the emerging digital era. We no longer have stable, ‘factual’ representations of the world, but unprecedented new capacities to sense and monitor what is bubbling up where, who’s feeling what, what’s the general vibe.

    It goes on to make some pertinent comments about the markets.

    Personally, I’m bound to agree with *most* of the conclusion:

    If the EU worked well for any nation in Europe, it was the UK. Thanks to the scepticism and paranoia of Gordon Brown, Britain dodged the catastrophic error of the single currency. As a result, it has been relatively free to pursue the fiscal policies that it deems socially and politically desirable. […] It has benefited from economic stability, a clear international regulatory framework and a sense of cultural fraternity with other member states.

    One could even argue that, being in the EU but outside of the Eurozone, Britain has had the best deal of any member state during the 21st century.

  • 79 Cathy June 26, 2016, 3:44 pm

    Thank you for this article. My strong impression was that the leaders of the Leave campaign were also taken by surprise by the result. I think what Gove, Johnson and Farage were expecting and planning for was to lose narrowly but emerge from the vote looking like heroes “standing up for Churchill’s Britain”. This would offer the best of all possible worlds heading into the next election – with Britain firmly inside the EU, so facing a prosperous future, but with all the goodwill from the Leave voters to support BJ’s bid to become PM. Now I suspect they don’t quite know what to do. They didn’t offer any real plan for how Brexit would work and the reason for that is they probably don’t have one. I therefore have some hope, not a lot of hope but some, that Brexit may not become reality. Certainly there are huge numbers of people in the country who vigorously oppose it and as many have been pointing out the referendum is not legally binding, despite the fact that feelings about it are currently running very high.

    What gives me less hope is the EU’s response – “Go, and go quickly”. That’s not conducive to any potential discussions.

    Either way, I don’t think those who voted Remain should simply give up and say that all is lost. I think with so much at stake we should keep up the fight.

  • 80 PC June 26, 2016, 3:47 pm

    @Cathy I think that must be the explanation. They didn’t expect to win, so they have no plan.

  • 81 The Investor June 26, 2016, 3:49 pm

    They feel marginalised, left out, sick of politicians blaming each other and then Europe whenever promises are reneged on. They are the globalisation losers.

    I do try, no doubt imperfectly, to understand these sentiments, and I referenced some of those sentiments in the article.

    What saddens me is they’ve just voted to make things worse for themselves.

  • 82 OldPro June 26, 2016, 4:03 pm

    To “valmiki”, from The Guardian…

    …extract begins…

    Wales isn’t just a net EU beneficiary, EU capital funding has been an essential part of attracting firms to come here.

    All around town are signs marked with the EU flag for the Ebbw Vale enterprise zone. The website notes that as an EU tier 1 area, “companies can benefit from the highest level of grant aid in the UK”. Earlier this year the sports car company TVR announced it would build a factory and create 150 jobs there. Will it still come? Will the Circuit of Wales, a multimillion-pound motor racing circuit a private company has been proposing to build on the town’s outskirts creating 6,000 jobs?

    Will the £1.8bn of EU cash promised to Wales for projects until 2020 still arrive? And what happens after? Will central government really give more money to Ebbw Vale than the EU has?

    Even Kelly looks like he could be doubtful on this point. “David Cameron got a good kicking,” he says. So, what about Boris Johnson? Do you want him? “No way. He’s London through and through. He’ll just forget about Wales.”

    Or as Michael Sheen, the Welsh-born actor from Port Talbot, tweeted:

    “Wales votes to trust a new and more rightwing Tory leadership to invest as much money into its poorer areas as EU has been doing.”

    …extract ends…


  • 83 agranny June 26, 2016, 4:13 pm

    Thank you for your link to Aeon. I had a terrible shock on Friday morning. My Leave vote was a foolish whim and Remain was going to win wasn’t it.
    Very sorry to all the young.

  • 84 Jim McG June 26, 2016, 4:17 pm

    I read your post to the end and was sorry to read how disheartened you seem to be, especially as I generally find your blog to be relentlessly upbeat and encouraging. Personally, however, I’m less upset by the result, but perhaps that is because I am, as my wife accuses me, passionately in love with Merryn Somerset Webb, an intellectual siren in a world of boorish, frat boy traders. Given that she was for Brexit, I surmised it couldn’t be all that bad. Meanwhile, I reckon we’ll soon see another Conservative female leader against those obnoxious Eton boy Tories, that Mrs Merkel is already looking to cut us a good deal and surmise that Wee Nicola is a far too canny and smart Ayrshire lass to rush Scotland toward Europe. Therefore, as ever, we lads will be saved by the fairer sex. As we should be.

  • 85 JimH June 26, 2016, 4:20 pm

    @valmiki – Well said. I support all you say.
    Well, I would. I am a stupid, grumpy old man – a true provincial who does not appreciate the wonders of London and the financial blackmail it has imposed on the manufacturing industries of Manchester and Birmingham where I worked for many years. I worked with many human, caring but stupid people who worked on the production lines I supervised. Strangely, the most stupid person I came across was a CFO who wrote a budget assuming that brand new products could be introduced at the same yield as long established ones. Needless to say, it was our night shift that paid for his mistake with their jobs, not the CFO.
    I note that the rant states that Britain has benefitted from EU membership but then equates that to London booming and Londoners being made rich together with all the Europeans who have moved in to London to share the benefits. Not much sign of those benefits out in the sticks.
    London and Britain are in a very similar situation to Germany and the EU. The fact that you – London – generate the money and support us provincials does not make you any more appreciated than Germany is in Greece. Perhaps if OUR government had made the Northern Power House a reality years ago then we would not be in this situation. Perhaps if the Poles had stayed in Poland the Polish economy would have been dynamic enough by now to be a contributor to the EU.
    Why did I vote Leave? The intransigence of the EU during DC’s negotiations; the stupidity of accepting Greece in the first place and crucifying it now; the gravy train of failed, second rate politicians who rule in the EU bureaucracy; the very different political culture of the EU parliament; the stupidity of Project Fear in misusing statistics and over-egging every disaster they predicted – maybe lies, maybe not quite -but certainly not the truth; special relations who abandon us when we don’t follow their demands; remainers who accuse brexiters of lying when it is the remainers who have not listened, who are simply stirring for stirring’s sake.
    Incidentally, so far the armageddon has resulted in my portfolio increasing in value (in £’s). Thank you Monevator, it was your advice to diversify that ensured that increase.

  • 86 Mark June 26, 2016, 4:21 pm

    @ Duncurin, I don’t disagree that some of the comments made by Leave voters interviewed on TV have demonstrated a lack of understanding. However I’ve found many of the Remainers at least as ill-considered; one of the depressing characteristics of the campaign has been the poor quality of the debate and hence of the public reaction.

    This will be thrown into sharp focus as exit negotiations begin. Leave promised ‘an Australian-style points system’ for immigration but has also hinted at remaining in the single market, perhaps through EAA membership – something that requires a commitment to freedom of movement across that bloc, including the EU. This obvious contradiction was in my view insufficiently challenged during the campaign, but will become very clear in the coming months.

    @Financial Samaurai, Yes, democracy is about freedom to determine our country’s future, even if some other people think we’re mistaken. At the same time, history and economic theory both indicate that co-operation is usually preferable to isolationism, and it is a cause for concern for many of us that we’ve chosen the latter.

    You asked whether we voted out because we’re already very wealthy and can afford the short-term hit. No, that’s largely not the case. Those who voted out are, largely, a coalition of the poorest in society and the oldest. Some of the oldies have a lot of money; many don’t. The single biggest determinant of EU voting behaviour is terminal level of education: graduates voted about 70:30 for Remain; non-graduates by the same margin for Leave. So, excepting a few older voters who may remember the original vote to enter what was then the Common Market in 1973 and are alarmed at mission creep, this is mostly a last roll of the dice by people who feel they’ve been left behind (shades of Trump populism) rather than an exercise in deferred gratification by the wealthy.

    Could there be another vote in a couple of years? Wouldn’t rule it out. I doubt it’d be a full-on vote to rescind the exit vote, but rather an endorsement of something other than splendid isolationism. I could see the Government negotiating some kind of semi-detached relationship with the EU, which would have to be called something other than ‘membership’, which they would put to the vote, with the alternative being full exit. My guess is that it’d get 75-80 percent.

    As for how we view the US Presidential race, I can’t speak for 65 million Britons but can convey how I and those close to me see things. It’s encapsulated by a short comment piece, I think from the New Yorker, that has gone viral here since Friday. It observes that the Leave vote has deprived us Brits of something we prize, namely the opportunity to feel superior to Americans. Dubya, people campaigning against universal healthcare, police shooting unarmed black people, crazy citizens being allowed to buy guns and shooting each other (most recently, someone on the FBI terrorist watch list); we see these things and quietly congratulate ourselves for having more sense. On this occasion, we’ve lost the right to shake our heads, as we appear to have taken a step that is against our collective best interests.

    The article’s pay-off line is that we very much hope to regain our sense of moral and intellectual superiority in November when you choose either Trump or Clinton as your next President. I think a lot of us see Trump as your equivalent of Boris Johnson, but with added racism, misogyny and guns and Clinton as your Blair: in the pay of the banks and big business, detached from the people and lacking in deep-seated principles.

    @Magneto, are you a fan of game theory? I detect more than a hint of it in your thinking. It wouldn’t surprise me if Theresa May becomes the ‘stop Boris’ candidate for the Conservative leadership. Many grassroots members consider him a flaky opportunist and, being mostly elderly and small-c conservatives, worry about some of the more colourful aspects of his private life, some of which are not in the public domain but are whispered at party conferences. Possessing the qualities BoJo lacks – detail, persistence and diplomacy – I think she would be the ideal person to negotiate the mutually face-saving ‘EU member lite’ deal that would serve the economic interests of all parties.

    Yes, the same status might be desired by the peoples of other EU nations, but is that a bad thing? The Eurozone needs much closer fiscal and supply side integration to function – a painful process that will take many years – but for the countries that haven’t taken that plunge, only the egos of some Europhile politicians and Brussels functionaries stand between the peoples and achieving a looser affiliation of the sort that I believe the UK wants and, if the stars are aligned, may yet achieve.

    @The Investor, we differ in our assessment of the intellect of those who voted Leave versus Remain – I think there were smart people and idiots on both sides of the debate – but we share a view that one factor that motivated some of the former is a desire to hit out at those for whom the political consensus of the past 20 years has been advantageous.

    I’m no Marxist, but I wouldn’t entirely disregard the possibility that this was a wholly intelligent and rational action, correctly designed to redress an imbalance. As people at different points on the journey to early retirement – I’m over the finish line, and assume you are too – we share an aspiration to live largely on the returns generated by our capital, rather than our labour. To do so is to live on the surplus profits generated by the labour of others. This is, largely, a zero-sum game: for the indigenous population of Shirebrook, where Sports Direct is based, to improve their lot, it is necessary for the firm headed by Mike Ashley to be deprived of a limitless supply of Eastern European workers willing to be strip-searched in their own time every morning and to risk being carted off by ambulances for fear of being sacked for attending doctors’ appointments.

    Furthermore, wealth and poverty are relative, not absolute. One thing that saddens me about London is the extent to which it has been socially cleansed: increasingly it is occupied by the global rich (‘blocked’ may be a better word, as many spend little time there), a handful of middle-class Brits lucky enough to have done well out of working for rent-seeking professions (financial services, law, multinationals) and a few token proles lucky enough to have secure tenancies in legacy social housing projects. Deliberately harming London by making it a less attractive place for the global rich to park their money and eliminating the economic rents drives down the cost of London property and the cost of buying the services of the former oligopolists, which improves the lot of those hitherto excluded. Another zero-sum game,

    @Topman, I too qualified for Mensa membership, some 25 years ago. I attended two meetings before quitting. Two things surprised me. First, members are drawn from all walks of life; I met no QCs or investment bankers but befriended a sous chef, a primary school teacher, a plumber and a provincial accountant. Second, they seemed to spend their time together doing quizzes, attending WI-style lectures and pursuing hobbies rather than harnessing that collective intellect to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Yes, there was some intellectual snobbery, but in my view it was ill-placed since the demographics of the organisation undermined any suggestion of meritocracy and in any case it felt like an organisation more interested in self congratulation than in giving something back. Which might be an accurate description of the economic elite, as well as the intellectual one…

    @Dustofnations, were I in my early/mid 20s now I would doubtless emigrate. Perhaps not to the EU (with the possible exceptions of Germany and Malta, I suspect they face headwinds) but possibly to New Zealand, a country that combines high transparency and ease of doing business with self-sufficiency in food and water, plenty of natural resources, good trade links with the growing economies in Asia and, in my humble opinion, some of the world’s nicest people. I’m now 47, financially independent, and depending on how the Brexit negotiations play out, will explore whether the Kiwis might consider allowing me into their amazing country on an investor visa…

  • 87 Financial Samurai June 26, 2016, 4:51 pm

    @Richard – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I didn’t think about the older folks losing less b/c they already have their pensions and homes. It is too bad the vote was so narrow. Now perhaps there will be a lot of civil unrest.

    @Mark – Thanks for the clarification. So in other words, it seems that people who have LESS at stake voted to leave, which makes complete sense. In the US, we have a group of people who always vote for MORE spending, LARGER government at the expense of a certain group who have to pay for increased spending e.g. homeowners through property tax, and wealthier people through a progressive income tax system. Of course you would vote for more if you don’t have to pay for it.

    I’d be surprised if there wasn’t last minute negotiations or a revote. Come on, the MAJORITY of people in Great Britain will SUFFER financially long term. People will eventually come around to realize, THEY ARE STILL FREE even if they are a part of the EU.


  • 88 david m June 26, 2016, 4:57 pm

    I’m sure for many leave voters sovereignty trumped all other considerations.

    On the economic issues opinions were varied. Some leavers will have been reassured to read that “it is plausible that Brexit could have a modest negative impact on growth and job creation. But it is slightly more plausible that the net impacts will be modestly positive.”*

    * https://woodfordfunds.com/economic-impact-brexit-report/

  • 89 Topman June 26, 2016, 5:12 pm


    For the record, Mensa is protean, welcoming all who take and pass the selection test irrespective of their life situation.

    It is common for newcomers to agitate for a collective output from the members but that is wholly to misunderstand the nature of the Society. No two members are the same and quite often they will be polar opposites. You have more chance of fitting an octopus into a set of bagpipes than getting majority agreement on any matter. Tolerance accompanies the high IQ of those who stay the membership course.

    The richness of Mensa is the diversity of its membership, and its enduring attraction is the extent to which you can guarantee that someone “on its books” will have the right answer to any particular problem and that someone else will doubtless disagree!

    As for New Zealand, I lived and worked there for a while, with the intention of staying but I very soon couldn’t wait to get back “up over”. All that glitters etc ……

  • 90 Monk June 26, 2016, 5:24 pm

    I suspect that you would have taken out and paid off the mortgage on your long awaited house purchase TI long before the UK government get around to submitting any formal letter invoking article 50 in this latest brouhaha between the protagonists.

    In the interests of disclosure, I’m long fudge.

  • 91 Borderer June 26, 2016, 5:28 pm

    Perhaps the ultimate irony.

    BOJO campaigned on how undemocratic the EU was. How the key players were un-elected.

    Now he will stand for election as leader of the Tories, and maybe elected as the Prime Minister by that comprehensive quorum of the people in the UK that is the Conservative Party membership.

    Will he call an instant election to obtain a mandate from the wider electorate, I wonder?

  • 92 The Investor June 26, 2016, 5:50 pm

    @JimH — I am trying to understand (and I believe I do a bit, though not like those who are there of course) some of the frustrations of the provinces, and I tried to show that in my piece. I guess not sufficiently for you. That’s fair enough.

    As with @valmiki, I believe that if you get what you’ve just voted for you’ve made your situation worse.

    The EU was a force for redistribution from London and the South East, and given that our country has just lurched to the right and the provinces have made plain, as you mention, that their citizens don’t much appreciate the redistribution anyway, I fear the taps getting turned off in the worse potential post-Brexit incarnations. (Like many this weekend I’m currently hoping the whole thing will be kicked into purgatory somehow).

    Brexiteers are not going to find away to take us back to the UK economy of the 1950s and 1960s, which is what some of the sentiments I hear seem to suggest. I suppose they might find the 1970s, but much more likely they’ll go down an uber-free-market route of somewhere like a Singapore.

    I’d have picked a better target for my protest vote, personally.

    @david m — Yes, read that report when it came out a few months ago and I believe I linked to it. It was compiled by a company headed up by Roger Bootle, a noted Eurosceptic. Still, I don’t recall being able to detect biases within it, not that I’m sure I’d be equipped to unless pretty blatant.

    Regardless, I don’t think there’s any point in us engaging in a tit-for-tat link war with *old* articles/research. There were only a small handful of pro-Brexit economic studies and opinions. The Remain side will definitely win such a link war. We’d just fill the comments with old links, and eventually I’d have more to point to than you. 🙂

    Most commentators and even the Leave leadership admitted at some point the ‘expert’ economic evidence was overwhelmingly against the Leavers, who argued a combination of “they would say that, wouldn’t they?” and “wait and see” in response, and, as has been discussed above, even made the case that this vast weight of informed opinion was wrong / best ignored / should be rejected almost as an act of patriotism. That became a feature of the Leave campaign.

    Well, perhaps they were all wrong. Perhaps I am. Time will tell.

    As I say in the article, I think we’ll most likely pull off some version of muddle through, economically speaking. But I doubt it will be as good as what we gave up, especially with our special positioning in Europe and our own currency, and I doubt it will have been worth the risk.

    I remember most things and I believe am not bad at admitting when I’m wrong. My rant will stay up on this site. If the UK is thriving in five years having undergone a true Brexit in any meaningful fashion, I’ll hold my hands up.

  • 93 Jed June 26, 2016, 6:03 pm

    Hi everyone. Stand back and look at the whole picture the UK is still part of the EU today and tomorrow. The referendum didn’t convey the result to automatically become law. The result of the referendum was only advisory. David Cameron didn’t trigger Article 50 (which is the only official way to leave the EU) he just snookered the next PM. What PM is going to go down in history as the one who fried the UK economy and broke up the UK. Expect a lot of excuses and fudges because my bet is that Article 50 will never be triggered. Have a read of this http://jackofkent.com/2016/06/why-the-article-50-notification-is-important/.

  • 94 claudia June 26, 2016, 6:21 pm

    I feel very much understood and represented by the main post and most comments, so I will keep my opinion mostly to myself…just wanted to add something to this:

    “Put bluntly, employers would rather hire a smart, motivated, probably university-educated, likely young Pole than a morbidly obese, poorly educated, long-term unemployed possibly weed-demotivated, tattooed, British chav. Which explains why most of the new jobs created in the UK in recent years have gone to immigrants.

    Turn off the EU supply and employers have to hire the settled population, even if that forces them to provide training and supervision and accept lower performance than Piotr or Agnieszka might have needed.”

    The opposite is true – I am an immigrant and work in hospitality in London, so I have some first-hand experience in this matter.
    I have been working in the same restaurant for almost three years from 2012 until 2015, and we got several applications each week from people from all over Europe. In those three years, we had one (ONE!) application from a British person, and my manager took her on with open arms and a big smile on her face, just because her mother tongue was English – it would be easy to train her and she would be able to have a proper conversation with customers (turned out she was good! not stupid at all!). This is no exaggeration. The restaurant was used to hire people with no experience and mediocre (waiting staff) to poor (kitchen staff) English skills, because nobody else applied although there was a good HR department in place. I am now working at a different restaurant, and all staff was offered a bonus for successful headhunting among friends because we. can’t. find. proper. staff.

    Don’t think that a university degree makes a good waiter or cleaner, by the way. Big mistake. Also, don’t think that Eastern European, degree educated waiters don’t have tattoos, are never lazy or don’t enjoy their little weed cigarette after their double shift. People are not so different from each other.

    My point is this: there are very, very few English/British people applying for the jobs that immigrants do in London. I think we can also agree that these relatively low-paid service jobs will not magically move up to Northern England after Brexit, hence the poor people there who were willing to vote out immigrants of the UK because they supposedly make everything worse, will actually have no gain out of the situation. And maybe we can further agree that there are not many (legal) ways how a national minimum wage can get any lower by supply and demand of cheap workforce.

    On the other hand, the British poor are, like everybody else within the EU, free to move where the jobs are. They are free to move to London, pay a hefty rent for a room in a flatshare, have a lovely daily commute in a red double-decker for hours, all that for a way below than average salary. The difference between “the poor Northener” and the “the poor immigrant” is that the poor Northeners can catch a train to visit their families on their days off, that they don’t have to learn a new language and that they will have it even easier to find a job. But because they don’t want to use their right for free movement (not even within their home country, FFS!), they decide to take that same right from other people. So yes, I am really pissed, and my fascination for the stupidity of people is momentarily stronger than my compassion for “the poor” or “wealthy old Tories” or whoever. SORRY.

    It all sounds so easy, you know (@ermine, I love your blog and hate to criticize you, but I must.) – immigrants come here and make everything worse because they are willing to put up with bad living conditions and it is still better than in their home countries. No, it is NOT better. London is a challenge for everybody who comes here, no matter where you are from. I see 19-year-old girls who are still babies in their head leaving their family and their nice sunny beaches in Spain or Italy to come here and work 50-hour-weeks for 7.20 per hour and getting told off by their managers for being late for their 5a.m. shift, which happened because they don’t know what “this bus is on diversion” means. they are afraid to lose their jobs for minor mistakes, because how shall they pay their rent…actually, how shall they pay their rent? They don’t have a bank account and to open a bank account you need a proof of address and they don’t have a proof of address because flatsharers seldomly have their name on utility bills, and their NINO appointment is only due in four weeks. They are tired all the time, because they spend too much time commuting, and running errands or shopping for groceries takes five times as long in London as in any of their home towns. When I say that my main reason for being here is that I love to be here, they look at me as if told them that I love to swim naked in the Thames every morning. I could go on forever. No wonder that Londoners get a sense of pride and smugness after the first culture shock has fallen off. We couldn’t stop the waves, but we learned to surf, baby!
    By the way, I don’t know anybody who siphons pounds off the UK economy to send money home to their family…usually low-paid Londoners spend it all to ease the pain. Except me, I read monevator and invest 😛

  • 95 Valmiki June 26, 2016, 6:27 pm


    I read the same Guardian article and my conclusion was that throwing money at a problem is not always the right answer, relying on handouts can be deeply humiliating – people still want a voice. Even Gordon Brown learnt that lesson, too late. We in South Wales have much experience of firms coming in creating jobs whilst grants are plentiful, alas they don’t hang around for much longer.

    As for the companies that wrote to their staff to ‘inform’ them about the pros and cons of how to vote – an indirect threat if nothing else – it wasn’t that long ago in this country that factory and mill owners would have engaged in similar behaviour. Nobody likes to be threatened, especially by modern, global companies that would not hesitate to move jobs abroad if it was on their best interest. Have we not learnt anything? I’m sure that pushed a few votes away too.

    @JimH I was born in Manchester, my parents moved to the UK in the late 60s to work in the cotton mills and I was born there. Then of course, they closed and so we moved to Wales. Thank you for providing some coherent and intelligent points to ‘our’ side of the debate. It heartens me to hear me rational views such as yours, there are not enough of them. But, I’m guessing you don’t need to stand on a soap box and tell everyone at length. I concur with your points, to me regardless of immigration, funding or anything else the right to self-determination is paramount, which cannot and should not be bought.

    Yes there’ll be some short term volatility (in the markets and politics), plenty of navel-gazing and angst, the outpourings of grief on social media. It’ll be worth it, I have faith in the future, for all of us.

  • 96 The Investor June 26, 2016, 6:34 pm

    @claudia — Thanks so much for sharing your long post and insights, which add a unique contribution to this discussion so far. (I also know exactly what you mean about pride in ‘surfing’ London. Be careful… it becomes a drug that’s hard to unhook. 😉 )

    When you say:

    The British poor are, like everybody else within the EU, free to move where the jobs are. They are free to move to London, pay a hefty rent for a room in a flatshare, have a lovely daily commute in a red double-decker for hours, all that for a way below than average salary

    …I couldn’t agree more.

    While I have some sympathy for how income inequality/rapid economic change is challenging certain regions and demographics, this is one big difference between me and the people in the provinces who complain about a lack of opportunity.

    I left. They won’t.

  • 97 PC June 26, 2016, 6:36 pm

    I left too and never regretted it less

  • 98 Barry M June 26, 2016, 6:55 pm

    I am a provincial grumpy old man and the only reason that I abstained rather than voting ‘leave’ was to avoid the wrath of Mr and Mrs Accumulator.
    Rightly or wrongly my reason for wishing to vote leave was because of the disconnect between the establishment and me. Being part of Europe was what I voted for in 1975 and it has achieved the main objective that most of us had at that time – that of reducing the possibility of conflict in Europe. Conflict in Europe is now slightly less likely than Nicola Sturgeon declaring war on England. Job done.

    The problem is that Brussels is even more remote than Westminster and I and my fellow provincials don’t know which is responsible for our laws nor to whom to complain. I think the role of MPs has diminished as a result of Brussels and the increasing strength of the whip’s offices.

    I have been an honest financial advisor for years and I have been aware of the blind eyes looking away from highly questionable practices at the top of the financial institutions we provincials are dependent upon. It must be the most self-serving and unscrupulous industry of all so the remain claims that the countries most valuable asset, it’s splendid financial services industry was at risk after it having cost us a decade of growth infuriated me.

    My belief is that there should be less emphasis on the financial services industry and more on exploring the potential value of the rest of the U.K. work force. London appears to have raised the drawbridge and left us to contemplate our irrelevance.

    Once free of European rule the focus may turn back to the whole of the United Kingdom and, in export terms, to the wider world. Our parliament can create a more equal value driven society that is an example to the world. We will continue to value immigrants as much as ever but will place greater emphasis on improving conditions in Africa and the Middle East to reduce the immigration pressure on Europe. This is probably the most important and most urgent task we face.

    I know. Just the rankings of an aging idealist……..

    Immigration is good.

  • 99 Hamzah June 26, 2016, 7:01 pm

    Thanks for a great and cathartic article. I am very depressed about the outcome and increasingly angry that the leaders of the Leave campaign are now admitting to misleading the electorate with their claims. Your quarantine box gives some good flavour of that, but I am extremely disappointed that whilst journalists are now expressing their true feelings and incredulity it did not happen in the campaign when it mattered.

    As for the areas outside London. Message received; it isn’t just the bottom of the social groupings and although I understand the point of Owen Jones’ article there is a vast reservoir of discontent and a long history of neglect that has resulted in this collective two-finger salute from a much wider demographic.

    But two days out those who gave you a vision of freedom are furiously back-tracking. I voted remain, so am glad for any amount of damage limitation that prevents this becoming a gratuitous exercise in self-harm but what of the leave voter? Does it taste like freedom or has the realisation started to sink in that your campaign was led by cynical and lying opportunists?

    Anger vented. I’d truly love to hear how we can rebuild trust in this fractured society. The EU is not the underlying issue, but it has acted as the touchstone for a longstanding and deep resentment.

  • 100 Hamzah June 26, 2016, 7:10 pm

    Likewise, I moved from Yorkshire over thirty years ago to live in London as most of the pharmaceutical industry jobs were down here. Living in London is not that great, particularly the commuting but it does have a certain vibrancy that might be said to offset the disadvantages. To be honest I don’t think I would fit in if I moved back to Yorkshire. I have changed too much.