If Brexit does go ahead (and probably even if it does not), the European Union is ready to chip away at Britain’s dominance in the financial sector. At least, that’s what a recent speech by François Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of the Bank of France, suggests.
One of the main complaints of some of the “Leave” voters was that Britain is a “small island” and it is “full up.” Immigration “puts pressure” on local services such as hospitals and schools, but, most importantly, on local housing.
Even Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was Home Secretary, said immigration was putting pressure on the housing sector.
Intriguingly, however, it seems the kind of foreigner whom the UK government welcomes is the foreigner who buys homes but never lives in them – the foreign investor.
“I take the advisory point” about the UK’s EU referendum. These were the words spoken by Nigel Farage in a BBC interview over the weekend. He added that he wants to see constitutional changes in Britain that would make all referendums binding.
The best part of this statement, of course, is the fact that the man who predicted riots on the streets if the government ignores the referendum’s result was forced to admit publicly that the government, under current legislation, does not have to act on the plebiscite.
Some eight years ago, while visiting Paris with a friend, a couple of young Parisians asked us where we lived. “Oh, London, so cool!” was their reaction. Understandably, I felt smug. Would these young people say the same thing today?
The way the markets have reacted to Brexit, you’d be forgiven to wonder what the fuss was all about.