“How many Euros can we buy for £100 sterling?” we asked the man at the Western Union bureau de change at Brussels Midi railway station, a few days after the shock referendum result to Brexit. “It’s 99” he replied, and thanking him we quickly sourced another bureau on the street that was giving 110. Whether this proves that railway stations are bad places to get good rates – due to the kick-back demanded by the station owners – or that some of the currency traders in Belgium were anxious to force down the value of sterling and teach us Brits an expensive lesson for daring to Brexit is not known. But it did leave a nasty taste.
As did the news that a number of brave, mostly anonymous parties are paying money to law firms, such as Mishcon de Reya to challenge the legality of our government triggering Article 50 for the British exit from the EU, without first passing an Act of Parliament to do so. One must assume, we feel, that the reason for the anonymity is that companies involved do not want to be identified with a wish to overthrow a democratic decision for fear of upsetting, and perhaps triggering damaging boycotts from, the 17 million majority who want out. Bad news for those companies then, if someone public-spirited found out who they are, and such public-spirited types certainly shouldn’t start with the valued client list on law firm’s Mishcon de Reya’s web page, oh no.
Some Brexit fans, it is known completely disagreed with the concept of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, loved and supported by a misguided two-thirds of MEPs, that big corporates in the USA and Europe would be able to sue governments, and therefore their taxpayers, for billions if those governments should pass laws protecting their people that caused a loss of profits for say, Big Tobacco or Big Pharma. This, some felt, was a good indication that links between Euro politicians and big US businesses were too cosy for the general good. Others, noting the support of the EU for worker’s rights to damage other people’s lives to improve their own were not keen to make trade unionists any stronger by remaining in the EU. Still others worried about the demonstrable erosion of British sovereignty by the EU and our rights to control our own borders. These issues, for many, were more important than any temporary dip in the value of sterling, or the loss of enthusiasm for overseas travel until our currency stabilised.
Meanwhile for all those 17 million majority of those who voted for Brexit and upset those uninspiring business leaders and trade unionists whose vision for the UK in the future stops at the end of their wallets, a rousing chorus of a suitably gung-ho song should be sung to the secretive meddlers and dictators at the EU, so all together now, nice and loud ………”RULE BRITANNIA………”