While many investors are experiencing Brexit fatigue, I must admit I can't get enough of it. It's like watching a car accident in slow-motion. I feel guilty watching it, but I just can't turn away. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May faced the House of Commons, answering questions from members of Parliament. She spent two-and-a-half hours answering what seemed like the same four questions over and over. Her poise in answering the questions was what stayed with me, as the questions were mostly politicians building up their highlight reels. A politician politicking is to be expected but that it comes at the expense of the livelihoods of millions is saddening.
Brexit has largely not made Theresa May, but it will almost definitely be her downfall as there is no story-book ending to it. Short of a last-minute miracle, the United Kingdom will leave the EU without a deal. By March 29, the EU will make Brexit as uncomfortable as possible for the U.K. so as to be a warning for those considering a similar break from the common market. On the eve of the 29th, however, they will do what's in the best interest of the EU. With Wednesday's release of manufacturing numbers far below the several year averages, the EU has returned to a drop in production not seen since the 2008 Great Depression. This means the EU may not be able to risk making an example of the U.K. as it has previously stated. The drop in trade with the U.K. will be bad for the EU as well and with economic uncertainty looming large, they may allow a last minute deal to save their own economies.
The most often asked question of Prime Minister May Tuesday was if the UK could continue to stay in the customs union while "Brexiting" simultaneously. May's answer to this was that that would entail allowing for the continuation of "freedom of movement" or allowing EU citizens to move freely to the UK to work and study without limit. This is after all the main sticking point of Brexit. Ending this freedom is what those that voted leave actually want.
As the heated debate continued in Parliament, a notable event took place that may shed some light on the future of the U.K. as it relates to the EU. Ian Blackford, a deputy representing a district in Scotland and of the Scottish National Party plainly called Prime Minister May a "liar." He had previously implied that Scotland wanted to separate from the U.K. and that Scotland was largely being held hostage by the U.K. during the process of Brexit.
Most Scots appear to align themselves with the EU more closely than with the U.K., he implied and his repeated threats of leaving the union with the U.K. and joining the EU union left many wondering if the EU is actively courting Northern Ireland and Scotland in an effort to split up the U.K.? Weirder things have happened but the very notion of discussing these issues out loud is almost certainly music to the ears of Donald Tusk, Angela Merkel and other EU elites.
Whatever happens in the two weeks before May comes back to the Parliament with either a new deal or no deal at all, it is clear that Brexit will continue to be a sign of uncertainty for both the EU and the U.K. The role for responsible politicians at this point is to minimize the lasting damage to the lives of those impacted by it and allow people to get on with their lives.
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