And so, at last, Brexit was done.
It might have got a bit lost in the ongoing coverage of the COVID crisis, but 2021 dawned with the UK now, finally, out of the EU and going it alone.
And, despite assurances to the contrary that the UK government intends to stay firm friends with their erstwhile European partners, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to see a future conflict looming. The principle bone of contention will be Boris Johnson’s recently stated intention to turn the UK into a Singapore on the Thames.
What exactly that will mean is anyone’s guess. And although senior ministers have downplayed the idea, it’s fair to say that it would involve positioning the UK – and London in particular – as a low tax, low regulation, business-friendly territory welcoming to any and all outside investment.
Naturally those across the Channel may not find that prospect terribly appealing (not to mention the 50% of the country that voted to Remain) but make no mistake, the UK will need to carve out a new niche for itself outside of Europe. And there’s no doubt its existing strengths will serve the UK well: being the world’s leading financial centre has its advantages, certainly. And now a ‘deal’ has been done, the real work can begin.
So it will be worth keeping an eye on developments as we (hopefully) leave the pandemic behind and usher in a new era. We’ll be right there to help no matter what the outcome is.