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Brexit: Humble pie can do you good?



In May’s Leasing World editorial comment I predicted a win for Remain with a 55pc-plus vote, otherwise there would be some serious Humble Pie consumed here. Well, I was wrong about the result and have consumed a goodly sized version of Humble Pie since, which wasn’t all that bad as I discovered that Humble Pie was historically a pie made by the medieval poor filled with whatever low quality scraps of meat that could be found, which I suspect makes it little different to the meat pies down our local pub, which is where I went to commiserate.

But, I am not trying to wriggle off the hook here, I was shocked by the win and the events that followed, dismayed by an early conclusion I was forced to come to, that the EU referendum had been hijacked by up and coming politicians using it for a free ride into the spotlight, and positioning for jobs coming free in the wake of political resignations from a political upset.

I was also dismayed by TV interviews with voters in the street, for example one from Canvey Island (with its memories of gruesome childhood holidays) which demonstrated the way in which Mr and Mrs Average had arrived at their voting decision, expressed in language that made little sense to me as an FT-reading finance professional interested in international politics, fine art, and celebrity chef cookbooks.

For a few days, I clung to opinions that despite it all Brexit might never happen, Parliament might vote it down, there might be a second referendum to accept a renegotiated deal, we could go for the Norwegian option, etc, etc.

Yet today, seven days after the vote, I am starting to feel differently about it all. Maybe there is a way forward that’s better. Maybe lower sterling Will boost our manufacturing exports and develop our exporting muscle, maybe the City’s dominance in say trading euro denominated bonds doesn’t do a lot for our country as a whole, and could be ceded elsewhere. Maybe we are underestimating the strength of our reformed financial institutions and they Can motor us through any rough patches, maybe a limit on expat communities from the EU could not only take the strain off our social structure and peoples’ anxieties, but also benefit the countries those expats came from, where they are missing their emigres’ youthful energy more than we gain from it?

And finally, the elephant in the room, maybe we should turn our attentions to fixing the “great divide” in our society that has been exposed? Somehow today, these things seem self evident and more meaningful than before. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop experimenting with Tom Kerridge recipes, or reading the FT, or going to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, but I am going to stop bemoaning the outcome of the referendum, calling Brexiters dimwits, hurling insults at politicians on the TV, and I’m going to get on with making the new changes work, even if sometimes it costs me.

Nietzsche famously said, “If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.” I say, “If you don’t let change sway you, it might break you.”

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