First published in City A.M
The December breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations led to a relief rally in sterling, and a more general sigh of relief that 2018 would not begin with deadlock.
But despite the recent optimism over the progress of negotiations, I am preparing for a sense of uncertainty and foreboding to return.
We are certain to be warned regularly through 2018 that a bad Brexit outcome is not only possible, but likely. There are too many “Remainers” here, and “anti-Brexiteers” across the EU’s Commission and Council, who will self-interestedly claim that the UK’s EU exit will be more tortured that it actually will be. Indeed, many supposed experts are charging lucratively to speak at investor conferences where they exaggerate matters to justify their “repeat fees”.
So, with the warning in place that 2018 will be full of “fake news”, let me reflect on some fundamental truths.
First, consider UK employment, which is at an all-time high. Recruitment firms are registering hiring intentions widely across sectors – a feeling that appears to be vindicated by the record high job vacancy levels.
Look more specifically at what the likes of Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg are doing in London (rather than what their top brass are saying about it). Just like Siemens, Boeing, Merck, and many other multinationals, they are actually building out their presence here.
Second, what of the argument that other EU countries are looking to capitalise on the UK’s misfortune by attempting to poach British jobs for their own labour market, in particular the lucrative jobs of London?
Here again we are up against very much fake news.