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Brexit Diary: ‘Wait, no one told us that was going to happen’ (Actually, they did)

• More good news for the United Kingdom’s financial sector … Jamie Dimon, head of the largest U.S.-based bank ranked by assets, has a message for Brexiteers: “You blew it.” In an early 2020l newsletter to JPMorgan Chase shareholders, Dimon stated the financial conglomerate might one day move all of its EU-focused business out of London and into Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt, according to multiple media reports. Not today. Not even tomorrow. But someday soon if Brits can’t right the ship, adding that EU officials will always have the upper hand in future negotiations, DImon wrote.

JPMorgan employs about 19,000 people in the UK including 12,000 in London.

• If the goal of Brexit was to banish all the financial giants from London – along with their well-paying jobs – then Brexit already is a huge success. Bloomberg has an eye-opening post, “Seven Charts That Show How Brexit Has Already Changed the City of London,” documenting how Brexit has bolstered the positions of Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and other European Union financial centers.

A lot of the charts in the post look at arcane aspects of finance such as swaps, which are really insurance policies on deals going bad. But the number of jobs moving out, and the capital leaving The City, is no abstraction.

• We’ve told you what has happened with Brexit, but an interesting thing hasn’t happened that Brexiteers have been predicting since 2016. The now-retired Nigel Farage predicted Great Britain leaving would be only the first of many European Union dominos falling. That immediately after the UK left, other countries would leave – specifically Italy and France. Once they saw how the UK – freed from the tyranny of the world’s largest common market – instantly returned to greatness, the EU would collapse.

That this never happened – not even extreme right-wing leaders such as Hungary’s Victor Orbán have proposed leaving the trade bloc – matters not a wit to the British tabloids still assuring stalwart Brexiteers the EU is breaking up right before their eyes. The Daily Express has a post about Far Right French fringe politician Florian Philippot saying that leaving the EU would be like “leaving prison.” There’s just one problem – Philippot’s party, Les Partriotes, has exactly one seat in the 577-seat French Assemblée National.

If you Google “frexit,” you’ll see the Express has posted no fewer than 23 Frexit stories in the past three weeks … but is the only publication on the planet where editors think there is a story. Meanwhile, legitimate media such as Financial Times are covering how the UK’s exports to Germany have bottomed out, Amsterdam is claiming The City’s financial might and British manufacturers are suffering due to Brexit delays.

Read more here about how the tabloids caused Brexit and pretty much everything else that’s bad including Meghangate.

• This is one of the biggest “we told you sos.” The European Union has firm-by-firm stolen much of the share-trading might of the City of London’s once mighty financial-services hub. As of mid-February 2021, Amsterdam replaced London as Europe’s main share-trading hub, according to the Financial Times (via Bloomberg.)

Here’s the nut graph from Bloomberg:

The City of London lost its rights to access the single market on Dec. 31 and the EU has not permitted investors inside the bloc to trade shares in companies such as Airbus SE and BNP Paribas SA from the U.K. That saw more than 6 billion euros of daily EU share trading leave London since the start of the year.

This is hardly unexpected as everyone from business leaders to academics to economists warned this was coming. The question is, do the hard-line Brexiteers even care? Clearly, they didn’t and don’t.

Here’s “Bitter, table for one: What it will be like to be British after Brexit,” our eerily prescient take on the glorious restoration of British greatness.

From that post:

The most fervent Brexiteers always say they’re willing to trade the economy for autonomy, and that’s how it’s worked out. Win – win, as the Americans say. Though, it turns out in the global economy, an island nation of only 65 million people – and with no clear competitive advantage in technology or finance – doesn’t have much leverage.

• Everyone knew Brexit could restart The Troubles in Ireland. Everyone warned that a return to hard borders would be a violation of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 that’s lead to 20-plus years of peace. And yet those predictions did nothing to stop Brexit, which now separates the Republic of Ireland – part of the European Union and largely Roman Catholic – and Northern Ireland, which is predominantly Protestant and part of the United Kingdom.

The issue is that British officials basically sacrificed Northern Ireland, which remains part of the EU trade bloc … which means goods going between Northern Ireland and the UK have to pass through EU customs, which has led to shortages of goods in Northern Ireland and issues related to supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

Post-Brexit complications over goods flowing between Northern Ireland and the Republic have led to the Loyalists in the north increasingly angry that they’re cut off from smooth trade with Britain, so Boris Johnson is considering triggering Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Separation Agreement. The EU and the UK both have the right to break the glass and pull the Article 16 switch to reset the Irish border if problems arise.

Those problems everyone warned about back in 2016.

Basically, the UK is asking EU officials to delay full implementation of the Irish protocol until January 2023 on the way to renegotiating the Irish border.

Believe it or not, between investigations into Malin Anderrson’s underwear and Rita Ora’s new mansion, the Daily Mail has the most detailed explanation of this thorny issue.

• The Brexit-supporting Times of London has suddenly awakened to the fact that leaving the EU has put the UK into an existential crisis. In a new post, the Times says a survey it commissioned in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland indicates “the sense of British identity that once bound the country together is disintegrating.”

Our reply to that is, “Well, Brexit was always about England. But a thousand years of subjugating Wales, Ireland and Scotland hasn’t done much to make the Welsh, Irish and Scots more enthusiastic about the union.”

• The end of free movement somehow caught many Brexiteers unawares and Brexit-enabling tabloids such as the Daily Express and the Sun featured posts about how UNFAIR it is that Brits can’t continue to spend as much time as they like in France, Spain and Portugal. Moreover, the UK has new requirements that expat Brits with non-British partners must earn at least 18,600 pounds per year to return to Blighty … more if they bring children who are not British citizens.

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