17 July 2018
People eat and drink in the sunshine at the Canary Wharf financial center in London after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Photo: Reuters
People eat and drink in the sunshine at the Canary Wharf financial center in London after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Photo: Reuters

Bye euro, buy UK!

LONDON – Nothing is more unpredictable than the weather in London, but the weather here has been at its loveliest since Brexit.

Most commentators see a cloudy outlook for this global city and the rest of the United Kingdom after the Brits voted to leave the European Union – thunderstorms are forecast for the eurozone and the rest of the world as well – yet all I see is a sunny day with blue skies and occasional drizzle.

Yes, many Londoners are unhappy and worried. They’re upset because three in four voted to stay, but the majority of the British citizens chose to leave, leaving a big question mark to everything from the pending new government to the expectedly long and winding negotiations with Brussels in the next two years to what would happen to the most internationalized football club, the English Premier League.

But I have not seen any mass, much less violent, protests at Westminster, although the horrific killing of Member of Parliament Jo Cox, a stay campaigner, still casts a pall of gloom over the nation. 

There are a few bad and angry words on Facebook over the referendum result, but as a whole, Londoners would rather turn to their paperbacks or smartphones to pass the time in the Tube.

The most dispiriting words I’ve heard so far in this part of the world was from a hotel receptionist with a European accent who congratulated us for having more money to spend because of the weakening pound but could not hide her anxieties, telling us that she has booked a summer holiday in Europe – and now she is worried about her job following the market turmoil that greeted Brexit.

For many Brits, leaving the EU is bad, but not too bad.

Just like in a break-up, no one really blames a wife for deciding to leave a bad husband. Who knows, she may be much happier being single again than staying with the wrong man.

From a national perspective, there are many countries that turned out to be better off after leaving a bigger but bossy guardian. Singapore is one example, and there are the Eastern European countries that left the Russian sphere of influence.

Right now, it seems all the nightmarish scenarios are turning into reality, with all the political and economic uncertainties triggering shockwaves across global financial markets.

No one knows if Great Britain would have to be downsized without Scotland (or even Wales and Northern Ireland) or if the EU itself would be dissolved in the next decade, scenarios that the deeply analytical British press is now busily conjuring up after failing to predict that Brexit would win.

Interestingly, however, many visitors from the so-called Far East share the feeling that now is the best time to be in Britain – whether as a sightseer or shopper in the short term, or to pursue secondary or tertiary education in the medium term, or invest in real estate and other assets in the long term.

After all, Made in the UK is an authentic and reliable brand.

And this made me think: how many Chinese tycoons and communist cadres are now salivating over the opportunities resulting from Brexit?

Given China’s slowing growth at home and its penchant for aggressive acquisition of assets overseas, a win-win solution may just emerge from this crisis.

Think the UK will lose? Think again!

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EJ Insight writer

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