New York Times business columnist James Stewart thinks it through:
Unless Britain finds a way to undo its decision to leave the European Union, London’s days as the pre-eminent global financial capital, ranked even ahead of New York, may be numbered.
Who might win this high-stakes financial sweepstakes?
Here are the criteria most frequently mentioned: English-language facility, which is essential for attracting a global work force; a favorable regulatory environment, especially regarding employment; excellent transportation and communications infrastructure; availability of prime office space and luxury housing; good schools; good restaurants and cultural offerings; and finally, an intangible quality that includes a certain energy level and openness to an influx of highly paid, competitive City of London-Wall Street types.
I scored numerous cities in the European Union on a 60-point scale: five points for office space and housing, five points for restaurants and cultural offerings — because it’s easier for any city to build new offices and housing, and import talented chefs and entertainers — and 10 points for each of the others.
So who's on top? I'll let you read it, but for my money, I'd live in any of Stewart's top 3.
Two more photos from last weekend. This is what I walked around in near Tring on Sunday:
down well-marked paths:
That, I tell you, is England. Which I hope very much will stay in the United Kingdom.
I visited the Tate Modern on Saturday to see their new building and snapped some photos. Here's the north face with the Millennium Bridge off to the left:
A better photo of the west entrance foyer:
And one of the staircases in the new building:
Later today or tomorrow, a couple photos of my hike in Buckinghamshire.
Cranky Flier points out that while tourism to the UK is really a great deal right now (as I'd attest), it's going to be a lot more expensive if Brexit actually happens:
Today the UK is part of the European Common Aviation Area (CAA). That means that UK-based airlines can fly anywhere within Europe they want, just as if they were based in any of those other European countries. The same goes for European airlines flying within the UK. It also means that bilateral agreements negotiated by the EU with third parties outside the EU apply to the UK. And there are a host of European aviation regulations that govern air travel in the UK as well. Some or all of this may go away completely when the break-up occurs. That is to be determined by those negotiating the terms.
...[T]he EU may decide it doesn’t want the UK in the CAA anymore. That would be quite the blow to the UK, but it would be a warning shot for anyone else contemplating the same thing. I keep coming back to that castle scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
That would mean that the UK and the EU would need to set up a more traditional bilateral agreement. It would be shocking if those restrictions didn’t include a ban on UK-based airlines from flying within the EU. That would mean foreign ownership rules would apply. For EU-based airlines this wouldn’t be a huge issue. They’d probably lose the ability to fly domestically within the UK and they couldn’t be majority-owned by a UK shareholder anymore. That’s not really an issue.
For the UK, however, it’s bad news. Think about easyJet, a UK-based airline that criss-crosses the EU all day every day. It would no longer be able to do that. Instead it would be forced to create an EU-based subsidiary, of which it could presumably only own 49 percent, and then have that company handle the intra-EU flying. Half the profits of that company would go into the EU instead of to the UK as they do today. The airline is already investigating this possibility. This wouldn’t hurt easyJet other than adding a little more complexity, but it would hurt the UK.
Yesterday, I thought of a different problem, but related not just to Brexit but to the general British mindset of never wanting to change anything. That problem is Heathrow. It's not fun connecting through Heathrow to go anywhere, mainly because it's only got two runways servicing its five spread-out terminals. Compare that with, say, Amsterdam's Schiphol, or Munich, or even Brussels, and it's difficult to see how Brexit doesn't make Heathrow even less attractive than its continental competitors.
The UK will screw itself by leaving the EU so many ways that porn stars will be flabbergasted. Aviation is just one small area of this.
I'm heading home from London having talked to dozens of people about last Thursday's vote. No conclusions yet, or at least none that really challenged my earlier beliefs that the vote itself was a bad idea that went badly. Jeremy Corbyn probably thinks so too at this point. (Link when I'm back on a real computer.)
Let's see what Parliament screws up while I'm in the air.
At least the exchange rate cushions the blow immediately. Sterling is about £1 = $1.35 today, which changed the economics of the Duty Free shop quite a bit just now.
Today was pretty full. I took a train to Tring, hiked for two hours, came back to London, and walked around Kensington for a couple more. Now it's 11pm on Sunday night and everything is closed.
I won't have all the photos I took yesterday and today ready until I get back to Chicago, but here are a couple. First, the Tate Modern:
Second, this guy, who rode in my train carriage on the way back from Tring:
These are just from my phone. I did lug my real camera all over the hills of Buckinghamshire today, so I'll have real photos later in the week.
Right around the corner from where I'm staying I found this:I don't believe I need to eat anything else today.
A couple of things happened in the 10 hours since I got on a plane today:
Only two of these are a result of Thursday's Brexit vote. But all three of these affect me.
OK, I'm going to go find some curry.
It's 6:30 am in the UK, and the results are mostly in. The United Kingdom has apparently voted to secede from the European Union. That makes David Cameron about the unluckiest person ever to head Her Majesty's Government.
Cameron pushed the "Brexit" vote on the understanding that it wouldn't pass. How'd that work out?
In literary terms, the apotheosis of Nigel Farage is the dramatic climax in the story of the United Kingdom. David Cameron mooting the referendum was the technical climax. The denouement? England winds up a has-been little country surrounded by the European Union states of Scotland, Wales, and a united Ireland.
Prediction: By 2020, an independent Scotland and an independent Wales will join the EU, while a very confused Northern Ireland struggles to decide whether to join the Republic or Scotland. (My bet's on Scotland.) Meanwhile, Nigel Farange, having succeeded in his lifelong ambition to destroy the UK, finds himself having to explain to his geriatric, ineducable supporters why England can't make it on its own, and why no one wants to build in London anymore.
Congratulations, you lot who voted "Leave." You're about to find out why it's better for the head to rule the heart in matters of economics.
And this chart below? You idiots who voted to leave the EU? This is bad. Bad, bad, bad. But since you obviously don't believe rational thought is an important part of statecraft, what do you care? It's only your economy collapsing.