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Preparations companies are making for Brexit (threader.app)
129 points by seapunk on Nov 12, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 159 comments



It's sad that the discussion of Brexit and EU-related matters in general always revolve around perceived economic issues.

Sure, a healthy economy is important for everyone, but the long-term goals of EU have always been to create a unity of countries with largely shared values to prevent future wars (incl. trade wars and cold wars) and to increase collaboration in all cultural, scientific and social matters. To grow together instead of alienating more and more until a new war breaks out, like it always happened in Europe's past in almost every century.

And now it's all about the money...


Many of the current conflicts within the EU arguably originate from the EU trying to be more than an economic entity.

It's true that the EU, and its antecedents the ECSC and the EC, has been a tremendous force for peace on the European continent but make no mistake:

It's original intent first and foremost was economic collaboration and prosperity.

The impact of international trade, however, goes way beyond mere economic considerations: If you trade with people from other countries you have to communicate and negotiate with them, which in turn helps with reducing prejudice and creating bonds between countries on a personal level.

In my opinion, this has done more for ensuring peace in Europe than lofty political goals.

The centrifugal forces that most blatantly show with Brexit but the alienation of other EU members also is a symptom of are mostly caused by EU politicians indiscriminately pushing for an ever closer political integration without considering if that's what people actually want in each and every case.


This shouldn't be a surprise though - Ever closer union has been the slogan since 1983. The EU has always been more than an economic entity, and is better for it IMO - economic union without political union is unstable and untenable in the longer term (just as one example, people in states like Greece have no effective political power over a brutal fiscal policy which impacts them deeply).

I suspect the intention was always to promote a political and cultural union via economic and fiscal union first, then gradually political union. This is why the Euro project is so misunderstood - in isolation between Nation States it is madness, if viewed as a necessary step to a federal European state it makes lots of sense.

Perhaps a federal state will always have too much concentration of power, however our short experiment with nation states over the last couple of centuries shows they are not a very good alternative IMO, and we'll hopefully find better forms of government (perhaps far more local power over tax/policy down at the county or town level with overarching federal entities for foreign policy and trade).

The nationalism we've seen resurgent across the globe, of which Brexit is a celebration, is the easy answer, but is not the answer we need, and will in my view lead us only to war.


I absolutely agree on the matter of nation states. Because they have been the reality for longer than any living human being can remember we usually consider them to be the natural order of things.

However, on a historical scale nation states are a fairly recent concept. Before the 19th century allegiances for the most part were much more local on one hand and centred around religion (rather than concepts such as nationality) on the other hand.

Nation states helped with getting rid of feudalism and gradually ushering in modern democracy. So, historically they certainly were beneficial. In my opinion, they're increasingly and continually becoming obsolete, though.

That doesn't mean, however, that a supranational entity such as the EU necessarily is the right solution to each and every problem in the future. As much as nation states served a purpose in pre-globalisation times the EU was useful in the post-war, Cold War era but it remains to be seen if or in which ways it can continue to be useful in the future.

On the matter of Brexit it'd be pertinent to ask why a disintegration movement should stop at a national level. Why not further devolve power to for example the countries the UK is made up of or eminent city 'states' such as London?

I concur in that I think some aspects are probably still best dealt with at a unified supranational level (foreign policy, currency, removing trade barriers) while a lot more should be handled at a local level.


That doesn't mean, however, that a supranational entity such as the EU necessarily is the right solution to each and every problem in the future.

Sure, perhaps a federal superstate isn't the answer - I certainly don't think it's a great answer for local gov, taxes or accountability, though given the world we live in surrounded by hostile autocracies I think having armed forces and trade at that level is advantageous, so that's why I'm for it, but further devolution of powers would be ideal in my view, if coupled with free movement of people and goods at a federal level. Given that I see no reason for Nations to exist.

Free movement of people at least within large federal states and later globally is a worthy ideal to strive towards - why should the place of your birth dictate the rights and opportunities accorded to you? Why should nation states claim the right to bestow and strip citizenship?


> why should the place of your birth dictate the rights and opportunities accorded to you? Why should nation states claim the right to bestow and strip citizenship?

These questions give rise to an ethical dilemma. On one hand you're absolutely right: The birth lottery shouldn't determine your opportunities in life. However, communities also have a legitimate right to try and ensure their continued sustainable economic welfare, which might be endangered if there are more immigrants over a period of time than that economy can reasonably handle.

This is why - again - economic development not only has to tie in with but often is a prerequisite for pursuing desirable ideals.


The European Economic Community was meant to prevent wars by tying the economies of European states together. Economic integration brings people closer and makes a break between them costly for all parties.

At the end of the day, the economy is our life, and it has a massive impact both on our day-to-day and on state affairs.


Money is the means through which that unity is established. Country join up because it makes economic sense, because that's a short term reward, the long term reward which is less chance of war, is more uncertain and politicians rarely get the chance to be allowed to think long term about big decisions like this. Hence the whole Brexit fiasco in the first place.


For the brexiters it hasn't in general been about the money. I think most recognised we'd take a hit to gdp but wanted freedom from EU control, less immigration and the like. The remainers have tended to focus on economics which may have been an error.


Nonsense. Most high profile Brexiters are millionaires. And most people voted aren't working or don't understand modern supply chains.

Let me tell you the plan: Those troublesome EU workers have rights. Wouldn't it be great to ship in a load of people on visas from developing countries who aren't allowed to change jobs and who'll work for a pittance. That's why some of those millionaires are so in favour of Brexit. There won't be reduced migration, just a reduction in the rights of people who come.


Dominic Cummings claims that the most effective of the Leave campaigns he was responsible for was the "£350m for the NHS" one.


The one that Farage started backing out of mere hours after the result.


Reminds me of a TED video I watched a few days ago. We shouldn't always be Interest first, there are always going to be Interest conflict. But Values, where we share a common ground is where we need to think first before Interest and a decision.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bFs6ZiynSU


If we take a step back and notice how much time per day on an average we think/talk about money, it isn't a pretty picture. It seems as though every decision revolves around money and economy. Yes, I do understand a stable economy is vital to peace and the very existence of human race. But do we need to compromise so much and put money over everything?

Few days ago, the American president was talking about $110B when asked about the murder of Saudi journalist. That is just one example.


I agree that one of the main problems with current politics is the "experts know best" mentality, of which the reduction of political issues to their economic components is one example.

Scientists, economists and others should contribute with their specific expertise, but at the end of the day, it should be up to the electorate to make up their minds - which, in the case of Brexit, they did.

This faith in technocracy is in my opinion at the root of the democratic deficit in EU institutions - and also the myth that the electorate somehow "got it wrong" in the case of the Brexit referendum.


Gove: "The British public has had enough of experts"

Raab, later: “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing,”

Experts: at this point you might want to consider stockpiling your essential medicines...

Come on, this is hacker news. We're all (supposedly) experts. You wouldn't let random members of the public rewrite your pull requests. We have to stand up for the idea that knowing the difference between a good plan and a bad plan matters.


Either the issue is too technical for the electorate, and you don't hold a referendum in the first place, or it's not, and you do, and then you live with the results. What you don't do is try to cancel the referendum if you don't agree with the outcome. That's disingenuous.

And yes, this is Hacker News, but no, I don't think politics can be reduced to technical issues. I'm not British and I don't have an axe to grind regarding Brexit. But it seems reasonable to frame the issue in terms of taking a cut in GDP in order to protect national sovereignty. Which goes to show that the issue goes well beyond economics.


When a government is clearly deadlocked and damaging the country rather than delivering on its promised better deal, people don't insist there is anything "disingenuous" about suggesting that the country might be better off calling another election rather than the living with their mistakes for the originally-proposed full five year term. Why would a referendum in which the EU status quo lost narrowly to a range of optimistic alternative visions of the future, most of which are now ruled out be any more irrevocable?

It seems far more disingenuous to frame the issue in terms of taking a cut in GDP in order to protect national sovereignty when the Leave campaign's key argument was framing it as the precise opposite: their headline claim was about how much more money our government would have to spend on public services. Sure, some of the people that voted Leave would have accepted the "less EU jurisdiction for less GDP" tradeoff, but certainly not enough of them to have won the referendum if they believed that was the choice they were making.


But you would let the product owner do whatever he likes with the code. Does the Government serve the people or should the people serve the nation?


I have no idea what 'should the people serve the nation' means. Sounds like you wrote something that sounded cool but completely forgot that phrases should actually mean something.

In a representative democracy, the people elect others to represent them in the legislature (and sometimes if it is separate, the executive). There are different ideas as to how representatives should operate/vote. But you would hope that for issues that are too complex for the public at large, the representatives would make the decisions as they are in a better position to do so. Government being accountable to the people has proven to be the best form of governance, but governance by the people has never and will never end well.


At other times on HN we've had the "would you commit a change that you knew would be unsafe, illegal, or even get people killed" discussion. Such as the VW "defeat device". Brexit is another one of those - the worst-case scenarios are extremely bad, and rather than addressing them seriously they get dismissed by the government and Brexiteers.


> To grow together instead of alienating more and more until a new war breaks out

Between NATO members?

As long as it stays together, I doubt it. Which is why it's been successful in preventing another global conflict for the last 70 years, and hasn't been impotent like the League of Nations and the United Nations. But then, things that quietly work don't get much attention.

So if Macron and EU friends continue their power grab, and further develop the EU army, provoking Putin near his borders. Secede from NATO, leaving the remaining members to continue operating in their interests. More factions with vested interests capable of mobilising against each other. I wonder if anyone was really paying attention yesterday?


Money is very important to people who don't have much money. If you are a plumber whose wages are going down and down because the market is being flooded with cheaper Eastern Europeans, you know who to blame. Of course I don't expect HN users who are sitting on a pile of money in SF or London to ever understand this.


Or are Brit plumbers simply overvalued and Eastern Europeans represent the true value of plumbing? I’m not sure if I should put a /s here or if I actually believe this.


That Brit plumbers are more expensive does not mean they are overvalued. It means they are not cost effective, and that means they'll get less jobs. You can only be overvalued if anyone is actually paying you for your job. The reason that they're expensive is that cost of living is too high.

So the real question to ask is, do British plumbers expect a too high quality of life?


Anything has to be overvalued because there wouldn't be benefits then.


Neither proposition is true to the exclusion of the other. British ${plumbers} have had it easy; those from the East will work for less.


Until the foothold is gained, and then the immigrant's prices start to go backup when they establish themselves better in their new home. All of this is still a market force, and is how it works in general. On another note, I think you need to see a list of what people think they are gaining for a good comparison to this list of what you are potentially losing.


Depends if you value plumbing as a skill or something anyone with a few basic tools can accomplish well enough?


Personal anecdote: about four years ago, living in London, I needed a plumber to do a small job just before Christmas (replacing a leaking shower tray).

Of the three who came out to quote, we went with the Polish one because he was the most professional in his manner, gave us a written quote on paperwork with a company VAT (tax) number, and gave us confidence that he would do a quality job using quality parts.

This he did, for the amount he quoted.

As for cost? His quote was the most expensive.


Multiple studies have shown that in a lot of areas that's total bollocks, and in the pockets where it is true, is a fraction of a percentage difference: https://fullfact.org/immigration/immigration-wages/

Try harder when trolling.


[flagged]


I'm 100% sure that you are too.

I trust their bias more than yours[0][1]

[0] https://fullfact.org/about/funding/ [1] https://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=diazon


Of course I am not unbiased, I am a person with my own political leanings, like all of us. What I posted was my opinion, that's why it's called a "comment". It's not an article or a paper. But I'm not going to believe for a single second something like "fullfact" is neutral, the same way Snopes isn't, it doesn't matter to me where they get their money from. Those organisations aren't created and funded just for their love of truth and kindness.


If you have any facts to back up your opinion though, that'd be helpful. Otherwise divisive horseshit comments with no substance, meant to instil an "us vs them" attitude to people who contribute more to the UK than they take out, and have a net positive impact on the country as a whole, will be treated with the unreserved contempt they deserve.

It's some people's opinion the world is flat, there's evidence to the contrary, but they don't believe it as they see the scientists as biased. Think on that one for a moment.


Ah, we are all wise on our own conceit.


Are plumber wages really going down, though? I am not familiar with the situation in the UK, but in Denmark where I live, demand for plumbers (and construction workers) has outstripped supply for many years now. It's difficult to find a plumber who's willing to pick up the phone let alone commit to a job, and when you do find one, they are outrageously expensive. In this environment, I have a hard time sympathising with anyone who complains that e.g. Polish workers are coming and offering to take the assignments for less money.


Plumber wages in the UK are above average and growing faster than most salaries, and self-employed plumbers in undersupplied regions can make six figures whilst turning down a lot of work. Of all the industries to pick to argue "the market is saturated with too many workers", plumbing and specialised construction workers have to be the weirdest


I see you've created an account just to make provocative statements on various political issues, which isn't the purpose of HN.

The "immigrants depress wages" trope is never that simple, as the UK is about to find out. In an economy where unemployment is very low, like the UK, they need that supply of labour to keep business ticking over. Should it disappear, growth will become constrained, and prices (along with wages) will have to rise.


Well, microeconomic theory is not that complicated either. If you take a particular labour market, and increase the supply, the point of equilibrium for wages shifts downwards. The magnitude of the shift depends on the elasticity of demand. If demand is fairly static, as is the case for basic services such as plumbing, then the shift in wages will be large.

Now, the question of immigration is not just about economics. It's a political question, so other factors come into play. But as far as the economic part is concerned, there is no question that substantial immigration depresses wages in specific labour markets.


Had a little look around for empirical data and came across this, looks like trade wages are about stagnant but this is only over a few years. https://infogram.com/2018-trades-salary-survey-electricians-...


And if you build cars for Nissan's European plant in Sunderland, you know who to thank... except that Sunderland voted to leave. So clearly the leave vote was not based on rational economical terms.

The economy isn't a zero-sum game, and of all the countries in the world it would be most hypocritical for the UK to criticise globalism...


They actually understand it very well. Many of them complain about the same thing happening with H1B workers.


Yes, money is important. But it is not the only thing that is VERY important to most poeple. As a EU citizen I am yet to see any overflow whatsoever of plumbers! Nor do their wages, at least in my country (in Scandinavia) seem to go down at all.

That point aside, EU /is/ a peace project and will continue to serve that purpose as long as it is standing. I do not dare think too much of how fractured western Europe would be at this point in time if we had to rely on Russia and USA for our peace.

EDIT: switched ""rely"" to "rely". Not sure why I quoted it in the first place.


Oh sure, and if you're a plumber whose wages are going down and down because businesses aren't investing, you know who to blame, too.

Blaming based on hypotheticals is fun, even even more so when the hypotheticals sound plausible. Let's do more of it!


Or maybe people who seemingly understood this "simple issue" forgot to see how the economy takes a hit, because of thousands of reasons, the middle class in GB becomes less wealthy and thus has less money to pay for plumbers.

And then maybe realize that it's all the same plus a bunch of downsides, but now the cheap Eastern Europeans cannot be blamed anymore.


My experience suggests that people in dire circumstances, regardless of location or time, will always find ways to blame foreigners for it.


The problem with the EU is that it's a half measure which turns out to be worse than all or nothing. The original idea of creating a "United States of Europe" is a laudable one but it may now be further away than it was before the EU was formed.

The gap between wealthy Northern countries such as Germany and less-well-off southern countries such as Greece, Portugal, or Spain has grown substantially.

And now it's all about the money...

For as long as money has existed, that's what it's always been about. Money is the means to survival and prosperity. When people exploit one another for it, resentment is the product. Resentment is the most powerful emotion of all; it's what leads to war.


That's not my experience as a German living and working in Portugal. Economic differences between countries will always exist, just like there are poorer and healthier regions within every country, but in daily life these play no role. Differences are superficial, people here and there share the same values and overall culture, and European countries are migrating rapidly towards each other in these terms.

Of course, not paying for structurally weak regions has always been a popular topic among the inhabitants of richer parts (see the Länderfinanzausgleich), but in the end this attitude is just selfish and unrealistic. The EU sceptics of today are the same kind of people who were against the unification of Germany yesterday. Let's all go to war with Prussia then.


That may be true, as far as cultural "western" values of democracy, liberty, secularism, etc go. However the vast gap between the economic standard of living of e.g. Germany and those of Portugal are a source of (justified) friction. The less wealthy states see themselves as subservient to Germany and the wealthier states, with no real power and no real say in how the (supposedly democratic) union is run.


That's not how the Portuguese see themselves and their role within the EU.

That being said, of course, there will always be friction, just like there is friction inside nations due to unequal distribution of wealth and structural disadvantages of certain regions. That was my point. Monetary transfers and other aid to certain regions are unavoidable unless you want to get into a vicious long-term downwards spiral. That's the same everywhere, whether in Europe, in China, or in the US. If you leave the economically weak countryside without any help and perspective, they'll turn against the rich regions some day or migrate towards them, and you've made things worse than if you transfer money right from the start and try to decentralize resources and services from the beginning.

Portugal is currently doing fine, but other countries don't do so well. There will always be a region that is not doing well. It is wholly unrealistic to expect this not to be the case within a union of any kind - whether it's a union of states/regions within a country or a union of nations.


> The gap between wealthy Northern countries such as Germany and less-well-off southern countries such as Greece, Portugal, or Spain has grown substantially.

Has it? Over what time period and by what measure?

At the time when the UK joined the EU in 1973, all three of those countries were military dictatorships!


<pedantic> Portugal was a dictatorship but not a military one. It was in fact the military that overthrew it.</pedantic>


I believe that the title sounds more dramatic than the story actually is. A shifting regulatory environment is unpleasant, but not unusual for companies of certain scale, or certain industries. Ask any internationally operating bank.


The banks and multinationals will be fine. The employees who find their jobs/departments have been relocated, the local service providers who benefited hugely from the larger companies' business less so.


So, sort of like when the workers found their jobs/industries have been relocated to cheaper places in EU, China, etc, but now for the tenpercenters and/or financial employees who benefited from that previous round?


No, everyone will be poorer (in money, opportunities, and in spirit).

However it will mostly hit the poorer portions of the population - manual labourers who will see industries predicated on EU access disappear (car factories), agriculture, fishery which depends on EU subsidies that a London-centric government won't replicate, factories in poor areas like Wales which again rely on EU distributed subsidies, those who depend on benefits which will have to be dramatically cut due to falling tax revenue. The 'elite' or 'tenpercenters' as you call them will be just fine - they are flexible and wealthy enough to move country if required to preserve their wealth or found companies elsewhere, and will continue to have that opportunity.

It's going to take decades for this to play out though, because of transition agreements and attempts to soften the impact we probably won't see it at first (unless they opt for the WTO rules version of Brexit).


On the other hand, good to hear about. Our team had 8 Europeans (including me), and while 6 of them left after Brexit (including me), I know a few people who are still on the fence. Life has largely gone on as normal, and the lack of talent has driven compensation up * . But unless you're a contractor making hay while the sun shines, it's good to keep things like this in mind.

* also helps that a lot of business expenses, such as hardware, are USD, so GBP losing value hasn't affected dev salary budgets much


>also helps that a lot of business expenses, such as hardware, are USD, so GBP losing value hasn't affected dev salary budgets much

I don't quite understand, wouldn't a falling GBP make expenses higher?


If you are paid in USD, and expenses are in USD, then the GBP salary budget looks better.


Right, a lot of multi-national budgets are USD, so even if you aren't directly "paid in USD", that's what the beancounters see.

And of course, you can always simply pass on the price increase to the customer, e.g. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/10/24/microsoft_price_ris...


> ....and while 6 of them left after Brexit (including me), I know a few people who are still on the fence. Life has largely gone on as normal,

Brexit hasn't happened yet, so it's too early to say if life will go on as normal or not.


This is a bit pedantic, I know, but you mean the UK, not England.

It's the UK that's leaving the EU, not just England.


That kind of depends on how the political process plays out north of the border where 65% (or thereabouts) of the population voted to remain within the EU.


Speaking as someone who wants Scoland to become independent and join the EU, at this point it seems clear that the UK is leaving the EU (or - very small possibility - the UK is not leaving the EU).


Can't remember the percentage, but I do remember that every single polling area in Scotland voted remain.


That was a certain "Goodbye Union Jack" thought.


That's because they a) voted based on their rivalry with the English, b) think they'll do better as a tiny independent country within an EU where the big dogs do whatever they please (or, rather, a single big dog with its satellites, even France plays by their agenda).


I keep hearing this, but small European countries are doing pretty well. If anything, it's bigger countries such as France, Spain, Italy that are having problems, because they're not nimble enough.


Scotland voted remain due to several major factors, the main ones being:

1) SNP have their own agenda to get Scotland independent...

2) ...and the SNP believe that keeping the UK in the EU will make it easier for Scotland to become independent AND remain an EU member at a later date (not true btw, they would have to re-apply regardless).

3) Rural Scotland depends on EU subsidies for farming, and losing them would mean major economic problems for them.

4) An independent Scotland without EU support, is not economically viable.


I thought I'd reply (being a Scot and living in Scotland I see th propaganda first-hand).

1 - They seem to be playing their cards close to their chest rignt now as I believe people are being turned off by the independence thing. I'm sure there were figures earlier in the year from polls saying two thirds don't want it now. Anyway, we voted already

2 - I agree. The EU have been quite clear on this. Also, I believe a few countries have said they're gonna scupper the vote anyway and not let Scotland in. Don't blame them...

3 - It's about £5bn I believe. This is gonna hurt. I suppose it means we have to pay more for our produce.

4 - This is the real reason I am commenting. See below.

I was at an SNP meeting in 2017 at Prestwick Airport and they wanted to talk about business post-Brexit. They talked shite for the most part: I mean that there were no answers in what they were saying. It was more about laying the boot into the Tory gov.

However, I asked them a question that they couldn't answer - SNP's own figures show a £12Bn deficit that is being "funded" by the UK Gov at the moment and as soon as we leave the UK we are now responsible for that £12Bn ourselves. Their own figures also showed that post-Brexit Scotland will be hit with another £8bn shortfall.

That's £20Bn - The largest deficit of any OECD country. Basically Scotland will be flung into the dark ages on day one of independence.

So, I asked them what was their plan to fix this? They stood up and said they can't give an answer until the UK Gov confirm the figures... despite them throwing the figures around and blaming the UK Gov.

Needless to say I took issue with that and gave them a hard time about it but they didn't budge on their answer.

Not sure why I posted this but I thought a bit of context would be good.

Edit - Grammar


Thanks for your direct viewpoint. I married into a large Orcadian family, and now have relatives scattered all over Scotland, and what I know is from them.

Personally, I'd like to see an Independent Scotland, but only if it is truly viable and the right thing for the country.


I've debated the independence thing with many people over the years and, for me, it always comes down to this:

I will look at all the other benefits to independence when I get an answer on the £20bn deficit... this trumps everything for me.

I honestly can't see anything being more important than this.

If SNP truly came up with a viable plan to fix/mitigate this deficit I will, with an open mind, look at all the other things they say independence brings.

Another poster mentioned the anti-English rhetoric and, being a Scot living here all my life, I honesly think there is an element of that: It's not the driving force by any means, but it's a factor... imo.


It's clear that you're trying to call Scots primitive, prejudiced and motivated purely by spite. Really you're just revealing your own prejudices.


A people voting while considering historical relationships with England, modern power relations, etc, is not "spite". Nor is it primitive.

If someone believes relationship with England didn't factor out in the Scottish remain vote they are probably deluded.


There's only one deluded person in this exchange pal, and it certainly is not me.


Jaruzel, I can't reply directly to you, but in fact a majority of all party supporters in Scotland voted Remain, so an analysis that focuses entirely on SNP strategy (whether true or not - I have issues with it) isn't going to explain it.

The most Leave-heavy party was the Conservative and Unionist party, but I believe they still voted Remain.


Maybe I was a bit heavy on the SNP influence as I have many family members in Scotland (from Borders, to the Islands) and they are all anti SNP. Regardless, my points about Scotland not being economically independent without EU subsidies still stands.


Really the problem is trade barriers. Independence is much easier if the rest of the British Isles are in a Single Market and Customs Union.

In fact Scotland would likely be a net contributor to the EU, given its GDP, so it's not an issue of EU subsidies. That is probably the weakest part of your analysis.


Well they'd also just decided to stay with England precisely to avoid the kind of problems a Brexit would bring them.


Utter rubbish.


Well, that's not an argument.

Do you disagree with the first, or the second argument?

Because both have had lots of corroborating evidence (including centuries of history and a whole recent-ish referendum to split Scotland into its own state for the first, and tons of scholarly debate and criticism against German control of EU policies and ECB in the NYT, Guardian, Economist, etc).


Or alternatively, people in Scotland voted to stay in the EU because they want to stay in the EU, and it wasn't just to spite the English (around whom the world revolves, apparently).

This meshes with public opinion polling in Scotland where people say they want to stay in the EU. Sometimes the simple explanation that isn't based on all the foreigners hating you is the correct one.


>Or alternatively, people in Scotland voted to stay in the EU because they want to stay in the EU, and it wasn't just to spite the English (around whom the world revolves, apparently).

Sure, whether they want to "stay in the EU" or not is also based on their relation to their English neighbors, not to some magical enlightened political culture that Scotts have and the lowly English masses lack.


Dear me. I will quietly bow out of this discussion, as it seems to be turning into somebody giving voice to their own strong feelings about the "Scotts". Too much heat, not much light.


That's a condescending non-response.

I don't seem to be the only "somebody" with an opinion about the cultural and historical differences and power plays between the Scotts and the English playing a role:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/adam-ramsay/eight-reasons-s...

The alternative is what? One or the other ethnicity having the unique capacity of rational thinking to vote Brexit/Bremain? Or one side for some reason having some very different actual benefit or harm from the EU?


The Scotts are a family of people with the surname Scott. The Scots are the people of the country Scotland.

Since you know why the Scots voted Remain, I'm surprised you keep making that mistake.


Are you also surprised to learn that not everybody on HN is a native english speaker (and could make the mistake easily since the people are also called "Scottish" with double ts)?

Or just wanted to add another ad-hominem to the non-responses?


Why bother countering a baseless (and bitter and resentful) assertion with an argument?

It reminds me of the brexiter voices in England who are furious with Ireland for having the temerity to stand up for what the UK has already agreed on - the NI backstop. It's a chauvinist sense of entitlement and over-confidence that has to some degree led to the brexit mess.


>> for what the UK has already agreed on

Both sides would do well to remember that "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." [0]

[0] Press statement by Michel Barnier http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-18-2161_en.ht...


And currently it looks like we're headed for "nothing is agreed" - No Deal. Nightmare.


>Why bother countering a baseless (and bitter and resentful) assertion with an argument?

What exactly is "baseless"?

That Scotland has a long-term rivalry with England? Last time I checked, 45% voted in favor to break up with England in the Scottish referendum -- does the 55/45 result point to some friendly buddies?

Or that Germany has disproportionate control of EU policy to its population/economy? That's a lively matter of scholar and political debate in the Eurozone, not some "baseless" opinion.

(By the way, do you know that EU project (with its ECSC predecessors) was started with the explicit -- and openly stated -- goal of constraining Germany, from people that have actually lived the damage its national ambitions have done twice in the continent e.g. [1])

[1] https://carleton.ca/ces/eulearning/history/moving-to-integra...


Your argument is baseless because you are leaping to there being some connection between a "rivalry" and the brexit referendum results.

In fact, even if you look only at people who voted "no" in the Scottish referendum, the great majority of them were Remain voters in the brexit referendum. For "yes" voters there was actually less of a Remain majority than for No voters. So much for your theory of rabid Scottish nationalism and England-hatred causing the result!

There's some irony in you complaining about the EU being dominated by bigger countries, while expecting Scotland to just "like it or lump it" when it comes to decisions made by England in the UK.

At least in the EU you have a veto - in the UK? No such luck.


I think they project their worldview onto the EU. The UK is a collection of countries where the large country decides what happens. So therefore the EU is painted in the same cynical terms. That's not to say that large EU countries don't have more clout, but the EU is not a Franco-German empire as some like to imagine.


You're making a mistake in your analysis of the independence referendum result that's colouring your views on Scotland. People can want independence without it being a personal slight against you. In fact, the vast majority of people in the world are in favour of their country existing. Don't take it so personally.


>People can want independence without it being a personal slight against you

I'm not sure what that means. I'm pro Scottish independence, and I would even be pro Brexit (given the state of democracy in EU).


If you look at the vote, it does seem like it is "england' that wants to leave though. </pedantry>


and Wales.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the financial industry the primary reason London has become extremely unaffordable for normal people?

Is it possible that the negative economic effects of Brexit will have positive cultural ones, by lowering prices and allowing for more non-financial workers to live there?


London is a capital of the world, like NYC or HKG.

There is a lot of money, you've got all the CEO, head, partners, billionaires and their families to drive price up. When you move closer to the center and the most desirable locations, income are orders of magnitudes above a typical worker.

Then there is all the money laundering and foreign investments to drive prices up everywhere.

Don't get it wrong. London is affordable for normal people with a qualified job, just like NYC, Paris, Hong Kong and every other city in the developed world.


It's not the primary reason, but it's a factor.

Low interest mortgages push up what people can afford, which contributes too.

But the housing crisis is fuelled almost entirely by investors, and seemingly many of those are foreign. They buy property in London because it's a relatively safe investment, recently it's been very high yield as the supply is nowhere near reaching the demand.


And as well as just not building enough! If you add more people to a city, but don't add more housing or fast commute then prices will go up. Basic lack of supply and rising demand...


The home counties are stuffed to the gills with housing already. The right answer is better high-speed commuting services (not HS2 though; that route doesn't help anyone).

We need fast train services to places in the UK where the population is quite low. Then incentives to get business to set up shop there. Once the jobs are there, the people will follow. There is 20 times the amount of people in London, than there is in the northern counties (per sq mile) - we need to stop cramming everyone into the South East.


Agree entirely, as do many sensible people, yet what is happening is the exact reverse. The North of England, for example, would have benefited greatly from a fast rail service but it's a can that's been kicked down the road for the past couple of decades.


Building enough is impossible with enough speculation. In Vancouver, the city would plan for 200 new condo units and see 100+ of those units get snapped up by real estate speculators and left empty.


Also planning laws; if ~8 story blocks of 3 bed flats were built the dynamics of London's market would be completely different. These would be ideal for families and the density & low construction cost per unity would mean that the supply of family homes in the market would seriously improve. As it is apartments in London are almost exclusively 2 bedroom where one of the bedrooms is small. This is ok for a family with a baby, but untenable (by law) for a family with two kids over 8/9 (can't remember) who have a biologically different gender (no judgements from me - I just believe that this is UK law as currently written). This creates pressure in the housing market for single dwelling footprints - which are mostly used and poor by modern standards (but mind-blowingly expensive).


There are no laws in the UK around children sharing bedrooms, regardless of any characteristic of theirs. Source: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-protection-s...


Odd - I thought that there were; I stand corrected.

In any case I think that a three bedroom apartment is viable for a family, whereas a two bedroom apartment where one of the bedrooms is very small isn't really.


To be fair, a 3 bedroom flats is approaching a million dollars. There aren't many of them being built because people couldn't buy them.


If the planning laws were changed and a couple of thousand were built then the market prices would come down. Developers would still turn a profit because the cost of building is ultra dependent on the cost of land in London, which if the planning laws were changed would change.


Buy prices are already slighly down compared to 2 years ago, something to do with Brexit.

There are literally properties being built everywhere. Just take the overground to any direction and look around you. It doesn't make prices go down. There are too many people and too much money.


The issue is that these are properties that suit single young professionals /couples and speculators. This creates scarcity in the middle of the market and drives onward pressure for family dwelling units. In turn the pressure for family dwelling units drives cash-in-and-commute out to the home counties. All of which hollows out communities and the city - schools and infrastructure suffer much.

Prices are also down because of tax - sharp tax; which is a good thing in terms of dealing with speculation.


Perhaps, but I never thought the Tory party would be the ones to exile the finance industry from London.


No, the financial industry has close to nothing to do with affordability in London. The main causes are the UK's cultural obsession with owning property, speculative property buying, and regulations put in place across successive governments to encourage property buying and keep house prices artificially high.

In the UK we historically associate wealth with land holdings and this has persisted to the present day. 'An Englishman's home is his castle' is long standing and famous adage that was at the core of Thatcher's economic reforms in the 1980's to increase home ownership amongst the UK population. One of her more famous policies was to allow people who were in social housing to be able to buy the properties that they lived in. This falls in line with Conservative policy and traditional ring-wing thinking that private ownership encourages positive, pro-social behaviour as you have a greater incentive to take care of things you own. To compound this further, average house prices are generally interpreted as barometer for the health of the economy.

You obviously don't want large swathes of the population to be upside down on their mortgage. But the wealth effect that occurs from increased house prices both on a household and on a nationwide policy level is largely illusory as the value generated is, for the most part, totally inaccessible. Homes are quite personal assets and to craft policy as if they simple financial instruments is misguided.

The UK government's staunch commitment to keep house prices in the UK is such that the barriers for foreign investment to buy property in the UK is almost non-existent. London's property market is basically the biggest money laundering scheme in the world. The UK government has passed some legislation to curb this activity but it is by and large just for show. This puts pressure on domestic property buyers as they now have to compete with foreign speculative/dirty money for the same supply of housing, driving prices up.

Plus, governments over the years have been hell bent on increasing home ownership as a policy (for God knows what reason). So they have instituted schemes to subsidise buying houses (which as far as I am aware have been discontinued for the most part). This only serves to push the price of housing up even further with a subsidy of the taxpayer, which makes absolutely no sense to me.

If prices were to ever fall drastically, this would be considered on the whole a failure of the incumbent government, which is why governments try everything they can to push prices in the opposite direction. This is despite the fact that a fall in rents would be the best thing that could happen for enterprise as it would make it so much cheaper for business. Now, the problem is that everyone is so attached to the value of property that if a dramatic fall were to occur this would likely destroy commercial and consumer confidence in the UK. But if you think about it, it is quite insane that the price of property has such a stranglehold on UK economic perception as it does not (directly) affect output of the UK economy whatsoever (except for real estate sales). Despite what I have just said, the fact that a large amount of households would end up in negative equity would be devastating to so many that the UK is essentially trapped in this cycle. So we are heavily invested in keeping the world's dullest ponzi scheme alive and well, and this will likely not change for a very long time.

So no, financial operations moving out of the City will likely not have such a big affect as to push prices low enough for lower earners to move back into central-ish London.

EDIT: I should also add that despite the recency of my arguments, increased property prices in London is nothing new. The average house price for London has doubled every decade since the 1900. I guess my point is, successive governments have essentially stoked the fire to the point where it is out of control and the only way to stop the fire from burning out is to keep stoking it even more.


I'd say the UK is too centralistic. Back when my field of work included "media" it was said that every company with a foothold in the UK needed to be in London, anything else wasn't so important. I think it's a bit the same in France - be in Paris or be bust. Take Germany as a contrast. If you exclude weird fringe stuff (not on this site, you should get my point) like startups - it's all over the place. Sure, the banks are in Frankfurt - but the media stuff is pretty much divided between Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart. Also all the "big" well-known companies have their headquarters either in any big, or even a small city. That's why the rent in Munich is quite high, but nothing compared to London - and Berlin is quite cheaper.


I wouldn't say it is a problem on its own. Look at Japan. Almost everything being in Tokyo is not a problem because their transport system is excellent.

The UK's problem is that transport policy is abysmally backward and our property market is outrageously disparate and historically overvalued (as land was how a person demonstrated their wealth which has perpetuated unlike other countries where industry holdings are valued much more, e.g. America and Germany). Take your example of Paris, much smaller but equally historic, yet prices there are much lower than in London. London is a more global city than Paris but not so much as to explain the discrepancy in property market values.


I am a European living in the UK and personally I have not even thought for a split second to leave the country because of the referendum. Doesn't matter to which British person I speak to, they are all extremely welcoming and polite. I have never felt unwelcome (even though I have Polish heritage and apparently Polish people are not welcome in the UK - at least if I believe the mainstream news).

It's not a very popular opinion, but given that my wife has an ethnic background and we travelled to many other European countries the only racism we faced was outside the UK.

Also I really don't like how everything is measured by GDP. Yes, economic growth is important, but that is just a number and doesn't express how much ordinary people benefit from that growth. I think we should start measuring how well a country does by quality of life. What is it good for if banks and financial institutions yield big profits year on year and meanwhile ordinary people are being pushed to the borders of the city, can't get a doctor's appointment for weeks, are stuck in overcrowded public transport for hours every day and struggle to get a spot in a nearby school for their children.

The main issue with free movement in the EU is that it is easy to move 1 million people across a border in one year, but it is a lot more difficult for a country to build the necessary infrastructure (train lines, schools, hospitals, etc.) to comfortably accommodate an influx of migrants year for year. It only makes sense for each European country to be able to have some control of the numbers. Integration is as important as immigration and integration requires additional resources which a country has to have available. I am not saying that this is the main problem with migration, but there is so many factors that get completely ignored in this debate that I am simply sick of reading news articles which only focus on a very narrow narrative to push their own political agenda.

Brexit is a complex issue and only time will really show if it was good or bad for the UK and the people living here.


The UK for me was also the least racist environment in Europe, agree. Never felt unwelcome and people genuinely seem to be polite and in good faith.

That said, I don't enjoy my right in the UK being a negotiation chip and that my future business or employment in the UK will no longer be based on my qualifications but on my paperwork I have.

It's quite likely that maybe sometime in 2024 when I apply for a position in a company I would not be considered because they wouldn't like to deal with visas and work permits. Even if I happen to be hired, what happens when I get old or economy stumbles and I need the benefits that native employees enjoy? All these things are now under negotiation and may or may not be provided depending on the deals the politicians negotiate.

I don't like the non-meritocratic system. Maybe it's better to live somewhere where I have equal rights with the locals and sell services to the UK and pay visits to this lovely country. The nicest thing about unregulated professions like those in IT is that you can work anywhere in the world.


How is your application for indefinite leave to remain coming along? Do you rent or own your home?


Interesting, which countries did you find more racist?


Any known list about migration of tech jobs from London, what EU cities will now be more interesting for software engineers? Im still in Dublin, but on lookout for some other city/country because of crazy prices in Ireland (rents going up much faster than salaries), and stability (not sure how will Ireland handle Brexit since it depends on UK for lot of import/exports).


This is just anec-data but from a friend who has spent a lot of time in London this year. It appears that the EU nationals are leaving in droves. As a result many IT departments are becoming seriously understaffed. So there may be a boom in jobs for UK nationals or the companies may be forced to go where the employees are and move to an EU country instead.


Here's anec-data from someone who lives in London, I know EU nationals who have always complained about the UK, and even they are not leaving.


> It appears that the EU nationals are leaving in droves

EU nationals in low-skilled jobs left in droves. UK is very lenient to give visas to skilled immigrants of any country in the world.


> UK is very lenient to give visas to skilled immigrants of any country in the world.

That doesn't seem quite right. Getting a visa isn't harder than Australia or the US, but they don't just hand them out willy nilly. I know a few Americans in the UK who find it very hard to even change jobs. Again, that's always a risk until you get permanent residence, but it's hardly lenient.


Doesn't mean that someone who was living somewhere will suddenly fancy having a visa attached to their head.


Brexit will be good for the Irish tech/finance scene but disastrous for agriculture and tourism.


Why tourism? Ireland will stay part of the CTA, so no change to accessibility from the UK, and of course it will still be equally accessible to the rest of the world.

Unless this is about GBP dropping in value making it more expensive for potential UK tourists.


I predict a hard border in Ireland, drop in value of pound and an effective end to the CTA. Ireland is going to ultimately have to adopt Schengen which means an end to CTA if the UK leaves the EU fully. We currently don't have to join Schengen because of an opt-out the UK got in one of the treaties.


"Ireland is going to ultimately have to adopt Schengen" - I don't see this happening, although with the debacle of how brexit is being handled by the UK government, who really knows. To a certain extent geography dictates policy, and Ireland being in Schengen is a bit silly given the lack of land borders with Schengenland.


> To a certain extent geography dictates policy, and Ireland being in Schengen is a bit silly given the lack of land borders with Schengenland.

Counterexample: Iceland is part of Schengen. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area#Current_members.


Hard border in Ireland leads to border poll and reunification of Ireland within a decade.


Inaccurate title

It's a list of the preparations that companies are making.


Most of that list is about relocating operations/funds outside the UK or cancelling plans to move them to the UK, and the title reflects that.


A lot of garbage in this list, including company extending with no relation to Brexit and regular asset moves.

Just remind me when I saw my company listed in a major newspapers for leaving the UK, even though we were not. Journalists would say anything to get some clicks.


Yeah that was my first thought. If they were honest they would compare the numbers from a different year before Brexit. For every 10 companies leaving in 2018 if only one did in 2014, then sure you can say Brexit is causing a large outflux.


I wouldn't be shocked to see a more favorable tax environment set up after Brexit to encourage financial firms to stay in London. Its pretty important they do as financials make up a huge chunk of the economy.


They already plan to cut corporation tax down to 17% and possibly further later on.


Most companies are well known to be super short sighted, especially large ones. If it makes sense to get out of the UK to make the next quarter targets they will do it. Not surprising one bit.


Moving countries is not that easy though. Leaving the EU means loads of additional paperwork vs now. You need someone who understands and is legally responsible for VAT. You didn't need that before. You need to know how to fill out all kinds of custom forms. There used to be a large amount of custom agents for that, you don't have them in the amount you need because they weren't needed for decades. Loads of companies won't know what to fill out.

BBC went to the Swiss border to transport an exhaust from Switzerland to UK via Germany. Although this has required loads of documentation for many years the custom agent in Switzerland mentioned there's problems with the documentation in about 20% of the cases. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hWQ0T10v6Y. The terminals/crossings aren't designed for that! There's not enough space for 20% of the trucks to wait an additional 2 hours.


It's not that hard though, in the past when working for folks importing from China it wasn't too hard to do.

Most of the work was picking a commodity code for your imports/exports but you would have been doing that anyway for Intrastat reporting.

For direct to consumer sellers above the VAT thresholds (€35,000 or €100,000) the new regime will arguably be simpler as they no longer need to register in each market but can register with a single authority.

I suspect the Irish VAT office is about to get a lot busier.


You only took one bit and responded with a "it's not that hard". Please explain in detail to all the things I mentioned, not just one.

Regarding your experience: it's unrelated. I mentioned loads of businesses didn't have to deal with this for decades. They're not known, didn't apply to be registered, don't know what to do, etc.


It sad for the UK, but maybe it can at least serve as a warning example to what populism leads.


Honestly, who cares? Even if my country suffered economically from leaving the EU I would still vote for leaving.

I don't think the UK will suffer economically, at least not more than many countries that still is in the union but just have a bad economy in general.


I suppose it can mean more opportunity to pick up slack.


So, mostly banking and insurance companies then. Is this really such a big deal?


Well considering that's one of UK biggest sectors, then yes it is.


The UK economy is disproportionately based on global finance, so it's a bigger deal than it might be somewhere else.


There is more than 50 companies in the UK. what should be news is companies that are not moving at all and staying in the UK during the storm.


It's cherry-picked, although I'm sure some more companies are thinking along these lines, but aren't as vocal.

A list of big companies that have committed to staying would genuinely be useful. I doubt you'll find many, since saying something like that before there's a clear deal is a bit irresponsible, like a blank cheque.


Only if you don't use banks or insurances.


Financial services is a huge part of the uk economy, so banks are quite a big deal.


Edwin Hayward is a mega-remainer, I've seen him on social media, so the chance of this being a balanced piece is zero to none. Presumably seapunk is also. I work in a company that is largely foreign, and no one has left because of brexit. This is project fear.


It's just a bunch of facts on a specific subject: "companies leaving UK because of Brexit". How would you "balance" a list of facts to make you happier and avoid what you call "project fear"?


Can't believe you actually asked that. How about a list of the opposite?


List of companies that are not moving outside of UK after Brexit? Sounds pretty useful. Go for it, compile it. The author was apparently interested in those that are moving out, though, but you are free to create a "list of opposite" if you think this is more interesting. Or, even better, perhaps you want to create a list of companies that are moving to UK because of Brexit? I would really like to see it.


The thing is, Brexit hasn't even happened yet.


Do you wait until after the event to react to it? Knowing it was coming?


Personally? Probably not. Large groups of people? Quite likely, yes. "Common sense is not that common", and all that :)


You make it sound like their leaving is probably a good thing.




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