You can see it unfolding like a slow motion train wreck.
A badly negotiated Brexit is put in front of a Parliament that smells blood. Perilously close to a No Confidence vote, Theresa May is hanging on by her fingernails. A second Brexit Secretary has resigned, not exactly a ringing endorsement of the 585 page deal that has landed with a thud on the table.
Prominent Brexiteers like Michael Gove and Liam Fox are being strangely supportive. Keeping their powder dry in anticipation of an imminent leadership contest? Andrea Leadsom appears to be the leader of a group within the cabinet that is trying to make some last minute changes ahead of the EU council at the end of the month.
You might think that a document requiring the destruction of half the Amazon Rain Forest to print a single copy might cover all the bases. Clearly it does not. The biggest hole in the plan surrounds the status of Northern Ireland and its border with the Republic. All we seem to have is a proposal that, if no trade deal can be reached that avoids a ‘hard’ border between the exited North and the remaining South, a backstop plan would require Northern Ireland to be treated differently to the rest of the UK by remaining closer to the EU’s rules on things like food standards. You can se that going down well with the DUP, can’t you…
The extent to which we’ve been done up like a kipper is brought home when you realise that the UK could not extricate itself from this ‘backstop’ arrangement without the agreement of the EU! It’s like resigning from a job then being told that your notice period won’t end until your employer decides that you can leave. It’s Brexit without the exit, which just leaves a chilly ‘Brr’ that matches this week’s weather forecast.
If the gods were wanting to cause our ailing PM as much pain as possible, they couldn’t have choreographed a better outcome. The headline issue surrounds the corner of the UK of most interest to the very party on which the government relies to stay in power. In one of her earlier and, perhaps, biggest errors of judgement, Theresa May went back to the people to get a stronger mandate and ended up with £10 billion of egg on her face. That was the rumoured bribe to get the DUP onside. And now they hold her fate in their hands.
Add in a Labour party now believing their own PR and opportunist Tories measuring the curtains at 10 Downing Street and the likelihood of Parliamentary acceptance of this deal seems remote. Where would that leave us? Crashing out with no deal might be the least worst option – some real pain on the streets might put pressure on EU politicians to put something more sensible on the table. How long can Germany survive without exporting cars to her biggest market? Macron’s fuel protest woes would seem trivial if France was denied access to the City of London’s financial markets.
OK, I’m probably dreaming. But there is a bigger fear that I’ve been banging on about for most of 2018. There’s no doubt that May is a manager rather than a leader. Churchill or Thatcher she is not. But, if Parliament rejects the deal, it’s hard to imagine that she won’t receive a visit from the men in grey suits of the 1922 Committee. If the new leader decides to go to the polls for a mandate to sort out the mess, who would bet against a split vote ushering the bearded Marxist into 10 Downing Street?
2019 looks like being an ‘interesting’ year. I use that word very much in the spirit of the well-known Chinese curse. All Elite Investor Club members should keep their suitcases packed by the door and await instructions on the secret location of the Airbus A380 that will whisk us away to a better place.
All I have to do now is find that place.
Until next time.
P.S. In order to overcome Brexit Jitters, one of our investment partners is now offering a Brexit Break where you can change your mind at any point in the first 3 years and get your money back! Click here for details.