They Think It’s All Over

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.


5 thoughts on “They Think It’s All Over

  1. Ah – Yorkshire. Now that sounds like a nice place to end up … might jion you up there one day. Park my backside up on a fell on a summer afternoon and while the time away – a touch of the summer wine thing sounds ideal at present, while Londimium burns..

    Simpsons on soccer is fun – though I think the scene goes on to feature the crowd getting so bored they start a riot that burns half the town down. Let;s hope it doesn;t come to that.


    • I know what you mean, but I miss the sheer buzz of London. I know people are joking that because the city voted Remain, they should break from the rest of the UK too. Anyone from the rest of the UK paying a visit London can’t help but notice how different it is and, I think, it is effectively a city state that operates (and often thinks) on a different plane to the rest of Britain in many ways.


  2. I hope your shift to gold didn’t hurt you on the Tues/Wed rally we’ve seen in the USA Markets. It has been quite a bounce back and my portfolio is basically back to where it was last week (pre-Brexit).


  3. A few thoughts that come to mind now that the dust is starting to settle:

    I think we can largely dismiss the protestations of the millennials as the bleatings of
    a generation yet to acknowledge their own insignificance in the grand scheme of things. We’ve all been there; we all grew up.

    Oldies have every right, if not more right, to vote. Many lives were lost protecting the very thing that the No Border brigade are so keen to give away. If we take their idea to it’s logical conclusion, we should all leave our front doors and windows open so that complete strangers can come and go whilst we sleep in our beds. Like it or not, sovereignty matters. It’s just a question of where you draw the line.

    Living through a 40+ year experiment probably gives you some basis for making an informed decision about whether it’s working or not. Erm, 5-10 years, probably less so.

    If passive investing is the holy grail of personal finance, why are so many people agonising over their portfolios instead of focusing on the non-economic arguments for Brexit? Contrary to popular opinion, this doesn’t automatically make you a racist or an idiot.

    Certainty is the realm of the insane. You can be certain about nothing.


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