This week I was a bit torn over my blog post. I feel as if I should discuss Brexit in the context of what it means to Financial Independence and Retiring Early but, after long reflection I decided that, on balance, and in the long run, what it all adds up to is Sod All. As the French would have it – although we won’t be having them – “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose”.
To be fair though, my actions probably speak louder than my words, and I’ll admit that I shifted a fair amount of my money over the weekend out of a Eurostoxx Index fund and into gold. This is a fine example of me putting my money where my mouth isn’t, but I honestly think that Continental Europe has a bigger economic problem with Britain being out of their financial equations. I’ve done absolutely no research on this whatsoever of course, but then I don’t study form when I pick horses either. Will gold go up and European stocks go down? Well, that depends. But I do feel a wee bit more comfortable having finally shifted some of my investments into the gold market as I have been considering doing so for quite a while. As ever, the relief of making a decision and taking action is almost justification in itself.
(As I write, England have just gone down 2-1 to Iceland in the Euro Finals. I have to chuckle at the metaphorical nature of it: a bunch of prima donnas, disconnected and inured from the communities they are supposed to serve, frightened to put a shift in (and having no plan of attack anyway) while being vastly overpaid for what they do – if that’s not a synopsis of a screed of the British and European political classes, I don’t know what is.)
I suppose there are other considerations that Brexit raises questions over going forward. What now for my retirement dream of sunshine in the Costa del Sol? Well, that’s easy, because I never had one. I was always of the opinion that anyone buying property abroad without the intention of living in it permanently must need their head examined, and I’m sure there’s a lot of ex-pat Brits in Europe now examining their heads as they hold it in their hands following last Thursday.
Okay, what about the future for our youth? Has it been blighted by Brexit? My gut response is that I’m not convinced that freedom of movement in Europe for British youth is all that big a deal, really. It’s not as if the door is going to be closed permanently upon them and, if they have the talent, I’m sure they will find work wherever they choose. It’s more the future of European youth I’d be concerned about if they find it more difficult to come and work here. The last company I worked for saw our London office like the United Nations, full of bright young things from France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Holland, to name a few (mind you, now that I come to think of it, no Germans). I reckon I could quickly count fifteen or twenty Europeans working in my old organisation versus the English people I knew who’d gone to work in Europe, who numbered, ehrm, one – and she came back after six months of suffering sexism, racism and intellectual snobbery in Paris. On the other hand, I did know of two British youngsters working in New Zealand, one in Australia and one in the States. They didn’t seem to be keen on coming back anytime soon either.
Although I’m a bleeding heart liberal Internationalist with left wing tendencies, I’m really not sure about the freedom of movement in labour. It seems to me that the rich West is effortlessly draining the brightest and best talent from developing countries that are in desperate need of this class of people to help them flourish. I saw first hand the benefits of immigration in my work on a number of fronts, and it seemed to be a selfish virtuous circle – because of our multi-cultural workforce, we attracted more of the same, we facilitated their arrival and helped them settling in, found them accommodation, and appreciated and benefited from the energy, ambition and the enthusiasm that they brought – the qualities that had led them to consider working abroad in the first place. It does seem a shame that we now have probably undermined that – but a shame for whom?
Of course, there are other aspects of immigration that Ermine has outlined in his latest post in reference to the working poor which I tend to side with but, living in Yorkshire, I hardly dare tread in that direction for fear of being classed the kind of pig-ignorant Northern Blackshirt that caused Brexit in the first place.
That’s my tuppence worth for now though. Quite frankly, I’m becoming thoroughly sick of the whole thing and I’m hazarding a guess that you just might be too.
P.S. As anyone, Brexit or Remainer, knows, the whole world has already been classified in the first ten series of The Simpsons. For light relief, here they’ve managed to sum up some of the games I’ve watched so far in the Euro 2016 Finals.