11 August 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Deal or no deal – that is the question!
Adrian Leopard 347

Deal or no deal – that is the question!

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Up and down and round and about. I just feel dizzy this week with the Brexit comings and goings.

It has been a strange week and the public probably feels like it has been a real rollercoaster period. Even now, we do not know if there is going to be a deal when Brexit clicks in fully at the end of this month. We were told it would probably go up to the wire and now both sides are saying how unlikely a deal is – but then they keep talking. What on earth is the point? If the gaps between the parties are so wide, the chances of closing them must be minimal.

We have been going down this road now for a very long time and we continue to hear the prophets of doom who think that no deal will be the worst outcome ever. They consist of the remainers and many business people who already do loads of business with Europe and they see their particular businesses affected.

What appears as ever to be missing are the Brexiteers who think that business will be better. The trouble is that it is very difficult to make that assertion before the event. We hear about Australia and are told that the UK does minimal business with Australia these days. That may well be true but there was a time when 9% of our trade was with Australia and it was joining the European Union which caused that percentage to change over a period of time. Who is to say that the position will not now be reversed and slowly trade with Australia will grow again?

Life is all about making adjustments to changing circumstances. Brexit certainly represents changing circumstances but it must not be forgotten that the public voted for it. No doubt this topic has been the most divisive subject we as a nation have had to deal with for generations but changing popular opinion always starts slowly and when the opinion changes, it is usually by a very small margin – just enough to tip the public view the other way.

So who is to say that the present tip will not continue once we have settled down?

And what of the future? It would be naïve to suggest that a no deal Brexit at the end of December will be the end of it all. Of course not. What it will be is the opportunity to start afresh and work on deals initially which will suit both sides – there will be many. We do not have to have a new global treaty on day one; relationships can redevelop as countries feel they want them to rather than the present state of affairs which has felt like being dragged down the road unwillingly from the word go. It really has not been a time of sweetness and light. Whether you are a Remainer or a Brexiteer, you cannot deny that starting afresh at this stage may be just what is needed.

The thought of the Royal Navy patrolling our seas is a very compelling one. Are the French really going to ignore everything and breach international law? In my judgement that would make them very bad losers and you then have to ask the question do you want to do a deal with a country which is prepared to act in such a fashion. I remember the cod wars years ago back in the 1970s. The boot was on the other foot then and the UK was the aggressor refusing to accept Iceland’s claims to territorial waters. In the end the UK lost; many jobs were lost in our fishing industry and the UK then declared a 200 mile zone which afterwards became the norm. You can read about the cod wars in Wikipedia here:

It is an interesting account of what happened and of course anyone under 40 now was not even alive at the time.

Whether we shall see more of the same, I guess we shall find out fairly soon if it is going to happen.

So – deal or no deal?

Adrian Leopard 12-12-20

Photo Sudan Ouyang

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