A host of things to think about as the week wends towards a weary close…. How about the potential of a hot-war in the Gulf as Iran squares up to the US. That's not going to end well. Or check out Brussels where the Eurocracy are divvying up the top jobs among themselves. And then there is a record high in US stocks on the back of "you've promised us a rate cut"! Gold looks increasingly the medium term winner.
But here in Blighty, the little wet island at the unfashionable end of Europe, get ready for a general election!
I reckon the UK looks cheap as chips, but we still face a few more months of fraxious uncertainty. I'd hold off from placing any big bets on sterling or UK yet. It will all get clearer… Let me try to explain:
It now looks inevitable Boris Johnson will be elected by members of the Conservative Party as the 61st prime minister of Great Britain. (actually, no one is quite sure on the number, as no one noticed when we had a first one.. who might have been Walpole.) Boris will win because the UK electorate might be 48/52 on leaving Europe, but the conservative party is 90% certain we should move our whole Island and set it in a new silver sea some 30 degrees to the West.
Boris winning is no Big Deal. It changes nothing.
It is extremely unlikely Boris will be able to secure a parliamentary majority to push through whatever Brexit wheeze he has concocted – the Tory remainers and the DUP will oppose him.
There are a host of Tory Iagos he's insulted, trashed and belittled over the years who will rejoice to see him humiliated. Michael Gove, his erstwhile friend and who is an honorable man, will haunt and stalk him… For Gove is an honorable man…
Brussels is not going to let Boris tickle its tummy. They don't like him. There is not going to be a renegotiation. They won't consider new plans for the Irish border or vague comments about Free Trade.
How does Boris escape the trap he so willingly walked into? Few can escape what they have so long desired. Boris certainly can't countenance a second referendum – his head would be on a stake on Tower Bridge in micro-seconds. He will likely conclude his best course of action is a General Election figuring he is popular, and betting the Brits still love a rogue. Lay on Corbyn, and damn'd be him that cries hold!
But an election won't be about party politics. It will be about Brexit. What deal will Boris be forced to do with the Kerns and Gallowglasses of Farage's Brexit Massive? Deputy Prime Minster Nigel perhaps? Or worse.. send him back to Brussels?
And does Boris have the strength and personality for what is to come? In recent weeks we've seen a fitter but curiously muted, dull and boring Boris. Perhaps it's the influence of his new girlfriend – be nervous if she develops a compulsive need to be washing her hands.. Can Boris the serious former clown prince of politics win an election? A dull Boris is one thing, but he's still the same big picture/short details Boris…
Continuing to mix my rather random mix my Shakespearean metaphors: Who is going to be Fortinbras when the bodies of Boris, Gove, Hunt and others litter the cabinet-office? I'm think the Saj got out at the right time.. (Yep, I would vote for that..)
The Key Thing is – it doesn't really matter. Brexit is and will remain messy, confusing and destabilizing, but Long-Term it's just another speedbump. Sure, the UK will stumble from shooting itself between the eyes… but it will recover, and having reinvented itself be better placed in the new Global Economy.
I'm hoping to post this week's Blain's Financial Porridge Podcast later today, and it will include an interview with David Murrin, former trader, hedge fund manager and author of Breaking The Code of History. Without taking a position on Brexit, his read on where the UK heads post exit is very interesting, and should be must listen to any long-term investors in the UK. Clue – he's very positive.
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