Terrible news: McDonald's is moving its non-US HQ to the UK. So not only will the original global corporation and face of American cultural imperialism be bringing yet more of its disappointing beef patties and sugary bread to our shores, it will bring misery to those who said that business would collapse moments after a vote for Leave was announced. George Osborne even went as far as predicting that bankers would be fired within hours of a Leave vote being declared. I wonder if he experiences embarrassment?
Sorer still are those who said that a Remain vote was vital for our service sector as a single EU market in services was just around the corner, meaning that Britain would be able to take its advantages and multiply them as we conquered formerly-protected French and German professionals. Services have been enjoying their strongest growth in a decade. Maybe David Cameron's "bomb" was a transcription error.
Having decided to leave dodgy old Luxembourg, McDs could have gone anywhere: Hong Kong, Singapore, Amsterdam and so on. They will have wanted two main things: a place where contracts are readily made and enforced and a reasonable tax regime. Their business must surely be based hugely on legal rights and contracts. After all, the megacorp itself runs very few actual restaurants. The UK is therefore a good place to be based because our lawyers are for the most part excellent, our courts are trusted and we have competitive corporate tax rates.
We can of course do much better. The courts could be more efficient and more available to small firms. Our tax rates could be simpler and lower. We could make sure that more people have the education and skills to take advantage of the opportunities that the McDonald's and the Facebooks and the Googles can offer. Now would be a good time to revisit our competition regime.
If other awful reports are to be believed it seems as though the trade deficit has been narrowing due to a nasty combination of higher exports and lower imports. Who would have predicted that? Worse still, the boom in export orders appears to be coming from non-EU countries. How can this be?
So the bits of the economy which have been doing pretty well "#DespiteBrexit" are also the bits which aren't dependent on the single market and the customs union. Our non-EU exports come under either bog-standard WTO rules and tariffs (e.g. UK-USA) or an existing EU-third-party agreement (e.g. EU-Korea). The word on the street is that the government is taking advantage of the hiatus in anything actually happening to make exactly the sort of continuity agreements with WTO members that we were told were utterly impossible by certain groups just a few months ago. Meanwhile services were never properly IN the single market, so how can they really be more OUT after we leave it? Are the French going to ban their firms from entering into contracts with British providers? It would be fun to watch them try.
So in summary:
- A more sensibly-priced pound is boosting trade and rebalancing the economy, especially towards countries with which there will be at worst no change in trading arrangements when we Leave.
- The sector which forms the bulk of our economy is growing at its fastest rate in years.
- International companies are choosing to relocate to Britain because of the rock solid reputation of our institutions, our skills base and our competitive tax system.
- All the bankers are relocating to Paris, which is where they are all from originally anyway, solving London's housing crisis and enabling Canary Wharf to be turned into a theme park.
This Brexit thing SUCKS. What's for lunch?