Post-EU Election Brexit
I know that you’re probably sick to death of Brexit, but I think it’s important to have a quick word on it in the aftermath of the latest European elections.
The biggest winners were the Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage and the LibDems and the biggest losers were the Conservatives and Labour – the latter of which has just announced that it will support a second referendum after spending quite some time sitting on the fence. I would say that the Conservatives lost Remainers to the LibDems and Leavers to the Brexit Party while Labour saw a big swing of its voters to the LibDems who are ardent Remainers. I think that most people are getting sick of the whole thing and want to simplify everything so they can just pick a side – although it’s not as clearcut it as that.
As things stand, it would seem that the next Conservative leader is now more likely to be a Leaver than a Remainer to appease voters who flipped to Farage and all the other mainstream parties will push for a second referendum. Who knows – if a Leaver like Boris Johnson gets in the driving seat, he might be able to get a better deal out of the Europeans given that he’s not afraid of a no-deal, but given his track record I doubt it.
The irony of this whole thing is that the very agreement that has been painstakingly hammered out since the referendum back in 2016 is the only option NOT on the table at the moment – while no deal, a second referendum and even an early general election are still on the cards!
The other thing I wanted to talk about today was Fiat Chrysler’s announcement that it is seeking a merger with Renault – and it would do it without having to shut down any plants.
If this went ahead, it would create the world’s third biggest automotive group. Fiat says that a combination would help to spread costs of R&D for electric and driverless vehicles as well as offering EUR5bn a year in cost savings. On the downside, the French government might stick its oar in given that it has a 15% stake that will be diluted as a result plus even the enlarged entity still wouldn’t have a strong presence in Far East markets, which are expected to have big potential.
The deal could take about a year to finalise, but it is symptomatic of the continued evolution that the automotive industry is undergoing at the moment.
Other than that, in my Watson’s Daily online blog that you can find on watsonsdaily.com, I talk about Bitcoin’s comeback, why your car insurance premiums are going up, Miss Selfridge closing down its flagship London store and the latest goings on in meat-free alternatives.