Chicken - Inconsistent with the UK's Brand

“So do you have a view?"

- a job interview the other week

I’ve become convinced British Prime Minister Theresa May is playing chicken.

The other day, the Tories (Conservative) held their party conference where May declared an end to austerity, called for a softer Brexit and declared that “there are better days ahead.” I fundamentally don’t understand how this can be true given the mindset of its leaders across both parties, an ugly superiority complex fundamental to national identity that the country has failed to shake since the dissolution of the Empire, and a general failure to grow.

The United Kingdom has a mandate to withdraw from the European Union before March 29, 2019.

No trade deals have been secured. Multinationals continue to switch the headquarters of their European operations to the mainland. The future of the border with Ireland (a member of both the EU and the common market - though not Schengen) has not been resolved.

They don’t have the necessary legal framework to even have a moderate degree of success here. May’s only plan for Brexit seems to be for her and her party’s inaction to prompt a redo of the whole referendum because the consequences otherwise would be so severe.

May isn’t the British leader with a destructive mindset. In her own party, former mayor of London and Home Secretary (British equivalent to Secretary of State) Boris Johnson sews discontent with dreams of a crisis in which he can become a modern day Churchill, and resignations have been manifold in the Cabinet.

The opposition party too is in disarray. Labor party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn is mired in an ugly string of anti-Semitic allegations, reshuffles and resignations have been extremely common in the Shadow Cabinet over the last two years and Sadiq Khan’s (the current mayor of London) government has just filed a judicial review claim regarding a planned third runway at Heathrow – this is desperately needed: London’s other major airport Gatwick is the busiest single runway airport in the world and both airports already operate over capacity.

British growth for the past three decades has been buoyed by an influx of foreign money seeking stability. Russian, Arab and African capital flows employ the ice cream scoopers at Harrods, builders of investment properties far beyond the Green Belt, and countless humble Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche dealers. London and a good chunk of the rest of the United Kingdom have built their economy on being a safe harbor. If Britain continues to coast on the basis of stability its leaders are actively undermining at the highest level, the music will stop and the money will move (perhaps to the US — though we have a case the same disease with less intensity, maybe to Canada — look at Chinese capital in Vancouver –, Singapore, or the Nordic countries).

Related reading:

The expansion of Heathrow is estimated to create up to 180,000 jobs and up to £187 billion in economic benefits across the UK by 2050

Heathrow is a slot controlled airport which pushes prices up and has caused some airlines to operate empty flights to hold their slots.

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