Thursday, June 30, 2016

In the UK Last Week / Brexit Thoughts

 I was in the UK last week on business and also got to observe the Brexit Vote and shocked reactions on Friday morning with the results (more on Brexit below).

Here's the view form my office at one of our portfolio companies (Clear Score) which is located near Lambeth bridge in London.  Typically sunny British weather.

My apologies to my UK gaming friends but I just didn't have any free time in my schedule - hopefully I'll plan better when I'm over again.
We currently occupy the "Bell Building" which just been refurbished and is a nice space for tech enterprises with the exception that the power goes out once a week!
The highlight of the trip was taking in my first cricket game at Lords.  It was a 20/20 format game pitting Middlesex vs Somerset and I must say I found the game fascinating and a lot of fun.  I'm planning to take in some more games when I'm next in London - what a fun game!

I think I'm becoming a cricket fan.

OK, this is how the weather really looks like most of the time and is a more fitting setting for the somber reaction in London to the news of the Brexit vote.  It's not my place to comment on the right or wrong of the vote - that's an internal British policy decision.

What I can comment on is an extreme disappointment with the way the campaign was conducted on both sides.  The leave side was basically racist in it's depiction of immigration and the stay side portrayed immediate armageddon and execution of all puppies and kittens upon voting to leave.

What's more disappointing is the apparent lack of planning on what to do next if the vote was to leave (when jumping off a cliff it pays to peak over the edge and plan for the landing).

Countries evolve and immigration is a very important factor in keeping a society vibrant and supporting a growing middle class - especially in societies with declining birth rates.  We often have overly optimistic memories of how good the "old days" were or fall to ease of blaming subgroups for our current problems.

As an investor, I really have no idea what the outcome will be of the "Leave" vote but suspect it will be mildly positive for the UK short term but then turn negative as the weight of losses from the migration away from London as the European financial hub and the unending grind of the demographic reality of an aging population take hold.  I still really like the UK as a market but will raise the bar on investment returns to compensate for the increased uncertainty.  By the way, anyone who states they "know" what will happen post leave isn't really being honest.

As an US citizen who spends a lot of time in the UK and has a deep affection for the nation, there is one silver lining from the conduct of the Brexit campaign and the Leave vote:  My British friends have forever surrendered the high ground of making snide comments about the US's national disgrace of Donald Trump.  I'm afraid your just as bad as we are BUT here in the US, we've still got a chance to send Mr Trump packing in November.


Martin Cooke said...

Glad you enjoyed the Cricket, think baseball in 4D. Hope Historicon goes well

jmilesr said...

I'm not sure I can handle the multi day events. It seems the 20/20 format is designed for people like me with short attention spans!

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

20/20 is for the MTV generation... :o)

Can you imagine it - Boris and Donald as national leaders... doesn't bear thinking about....

Paul O'G said...

Delighted to see you are embracing the most gentlemanly sport of kings. Down worry, one day games are the next step up from 20/20, so you dont have to jump direct to a Test match (though it is indeed worth the wait). We'll have to show you how we antipodeans play when you come visit me out here :-)

In my own county with increasingly Republican leanings, I am a staunch Royalist and anglophile: and yet I think the Brexit result has significant potential to be the undoing of Great Britain. Sadly, no democracy is immune to the politics of fear. I hope the rest of us take sufficient heed.

Paul Robinson said...

20/20 is smash and grab cricket. the real nuances of the game only come out in test matches where strategy and tactics really play a part.
I think you're being a tad unfair with the weather. It is not usually overcast and dismal in our summer despite what we may say. we do have reasonable summers most of the time but we only ever remember the overcast days.
As for Brexit - no comment.

jmilesr said...

I am being unfair with the weather - last week most mostly sunny and your winters beat mine hands down.

On Cricket test matches - give me some time to build up to it. I can see the benefits a of full day out in the sun watching the game and drinking beer. Some of the Clear Score staff are going to let me play on there team next time I'm over the pond!

Pat G said...

I've dabbled in watching the game myself. Did you know that the first international cricket match was between the US and the "British Empire's Canadian Province" in 1844 in New York (Canada won btw).

We should get that going again. ;)

Loki Greathall said...

Glad you enjoyed the 20/20 match. I glossed over the politics bit as I am sick of both sides abuse during this...

Pat G said...

Just to add - there is the Auty cup:

john de terre neuve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john de terre neuve said...

Nice photos, yes not much thought was given to the possible outcome of voting LEAVE by the politicians or the voters.

I am British by nationality and went to university there, although Canadian (well Newfoundland really, but that is completely another story) culturally.

My old mum, who left 50+ years ago and who is English as one can be, is dismayed by the overt racism and stupidity displayed (her words not mine).

Little England indeed! You are right going back to the "good old days" is just not going to happen.

And yes the British (maybe I should say English) have lost the high ground to be sure, imagine the great Anglo-Saxon peoples being lead by the likes of Boris (although not now I understand) and Trump.


ps I am a little jealous, you went to Lords!

pps. I suppose I am especially pi..ed about Brexit, as my plans to retire to Italy (well my wife's, I prefer France) have now been flummoxed. No longer an European citizen!

Ray Rousell said...

Sorry Miles I don't do cricket, used to have to play it at school, it bored the life out of me, least said about Brexit the better as far as I'm concerned!!!

Hendrid said...

Pretty much as Ray said, don't do cricket and least said about Brexit definitelt the better, hurumph!

Lee Hadley said...

Never been to a Cricket match in my life. Not much if a sport man I guess.

And as for Brexit... sigh. I'm dumfounded and dismayed by the result, as are 48% of those that voted. I believe in democracy and as much as I dislike the result I know we have to abide by it, but my country feels more fractured and angry than at any time in the last 50 years. Laughing at our neighbours and allies politics is something of a national pastime, but I guess we'll have to find something else to laugh at now!

Peter Douglas said...

We were in the formerly United Kingdom a month ago and the Brexit craziness was just starting. I am absolutely astounded by the result.

It is very rare indeed for the UK to out bat shit crazy the USA in politics, but they've well and truly achieved it now. WTF?

I have to say that both countries are making CAnadian politics look very good, charming and mostly harmless is looking very good right now!
Cheers, Peter