This week I’m sharing a birthday with Les Halles. Albeit from a distance. I’m back in the UK for work. My first few eventful days home have been punctuated by plans to suspend parliament for a month. Swiftly followed by a no deal Brexit induced kick up the parliamentary butt for Boris Johnson in the shape of party rebellion.
Asleep on the job. It’s only Brexit, after all
MP and Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees Mog, was caught asleep on the job. Lounging on the front benches, barely able to remain upright despite the desperate scramble to block a no deal exit. Juxtaposed with Boris Johnson. Dazed, hunched and displaying the repetitive behaviour of a caged, demented, Sasquatch. Perpetually massaging his unkempt champagne mop, unable to fathom why the rest of the pack have turned on him. His bid for world domination from a small, internally warring island scuppered. For now.
Please leave my town
Hero of the week? the man in Morley, West Yorkshire who strode purposefully towards BoJo, whilst on a whistle stop, flesh pressing mission. Knuckles wrapped so tightly around a walking stick that they had turned white, security didn’t view a man in a fleece jacket, sporting Joe 90 glasses, with a cane as a threat. Or, perhaps, just like Mogg, amidst the tedium of standing by Boris, they were simply too listless to intervene in any meaningful way. He politely shook hands, before asking Boris to “Please leave my town.” Rewarding our troubled PM with a good natured slap on the back and a smile when he replied that he would, “Soon”. Only in Yorkshire.
It’s business as usual. Just a wee bit stranger and scarier as the Brexit deadline approaches. We still don’t know what will happen on 31st October or how easy it will be to travel, live and work across Europe. Selfishly, I’m wondering how it will affect me. As my birthday approaches, I wonder if I will continue moving as freely as I have most of my life. Whether I will need a visa to be in Paris. How many weeks or months I will be able to reside there before being required to leave. If the pound will slump so low that €5 for a coffee, really is the new norm (“Flask” the northerner in me whispers). On this side of the channel, nothing is clear.
No risk assessment on the impact of Brexit
After canvassing over 1500 business leaders, the British Chambers of Commerce estimates 41% of UK firms have done no risk assessment on the impact of Brexit. We’re all in denial on the Kubler Ross change curve. It might never happen. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve always done and hope for the best until we hit the second stage on the curve. Anger and frustration. If you’re already there, you have my sympathy. I’m reduced to oscillating between the two.
A dress rehearsal, French style
Meanwhile the French government is planning to simulate life post no deal over a four week period beginning next week. During an interview with radio station RTL, Gérald Darmanin, French customs minister stated “For a month, we’re going to pretend there is Brexit. For a lot of companies, we are going to have a sort of dress rehearsal so that we are ready at the end of October.” He went on the outline France’s preparations for Brexit, consisting of 700 additional customs officers along with a “smart border” to reduce stress on the 100,000 French companies currently trading with the UK. Darmanin later added “Our duty is to prepare our country for all scenarios.” It’s good to know that someone is awake on the job.