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Moving Abroad and Brexit

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Moving Abroad and Brexit

It will soon be time for me to write my end-of-year articles on the world of real estate. This year I will no doubt have to update you on the property market in Australia, and most definitely on Italy.
The big issue for most people will no doubt be the effects of  Brexit. Those of you who follow my writings will know that I believe Brexit will be a non-event.
I keep getting asked about Brexit. This is sad. People should not need to ask me. What this shows is that not only do the political parties either say nothing useful, or simply trot out thoughtless garbage, but that the same goes for the media. I reckon I am a reasonably intelligent person. I ended up with a doctorate from the University of Oxford so I would have thought I could classify myself as at least being literate, but from reading the garbage pumped out by politicians and the media I have no idea which way is up. If I can't work it out, what chance has anyone who doesn't have a degree in something useful, or even an O-level or two?
I did write a piece of Shakesperian verse on the subject (I was goaded into writing). I am supposed to be a poet as well as all the other things I do, and I rose to the challenge which asked: where is our poet laureate in our time of need? Where is a modern Shakespeare to rouse us to support our island kingdom?
You can listen to the piece I wrote on You-tube. Here is the url: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1EDMAQHAFs&t=12s
Okay, that's blowsy rhetoric. Actually, I'm rather pleased with it, but what about rational argument?
There are reams of letters to the papers about how we will lose this, that, and everything other, and how we are going to cope after we leave. The last piece of idiocy I read was in the local paper for Frome in Somerset (I have a home there) from some twit bewailing the fact that after Brexit he'd have to get a separate driving licence to travel in France.
I have lived in various EU countries ever since my school days which were well before the EU came into being, and no-one hassled me, and I travelled around with no paper problems at all. Post Brexit will be the same.
The important thing to get firmly into one's skull is that politicians are largely not very bright, and have an obsession about telling other people how to run their lives. Luckily, there are folks who can lean on them when their idiotic ideas get too far out of line. One should view Brexit from that perspective.
There are industrialists in France, Germany, and other EU countries, and they want to keep trading. They want to sell cars (and anything else they can) to the Brits. Any politician who tries to stop that is going to get voted out of office not just by the industrialists but by the workers who fill their factories.
There is a profitable cross-border movement, and that is not going to go away. People who want to carry on making money will find ways round the restrictions, and most restrictions will fade away.
There is also the problem that most EU countries are in big trouble economically and socially at the moment. In France, nearly two-thirds of the population is unhappy with the way the EU currently functions. In Italy, the vast majority of the population feel they are being persecuted by Brussels. Even in Germany there is massive criticism of the immigration policies, and the way in which Target 2 banking rules mean that German trade balances are in too many cases written down as IOUs in lieu of cash. Southern Europe is buying from Germany with IOUs. That does not go down well with the home team.
I have dealt with Target 2 in other blogs, but I'm sure if you don't understand the technicalities Wikipedia will help.
I think I have also mentioned somewhere that one doesn't have to have the crazy euro system as currently used.
I was born in the West Indies, and things are done differently there. That part of the world is greatly overshadowed by the dollar region of the USA. So are the countries of Central America. When I was last there I used the ATMs to withdraw cash. I had a choice. I could use the local currency or US dollars. The latter was the simplest option, but that did not mean that Nicaragua, or Costa Rica and the other countries had to have their economies tied to Washington's decrees. They set their own budgets and their own currencies are pegged to the dollar, but that peg can be adjusted. That can't happen in euroland, and so Italy suffers with too stringent an economic system, and Germany suffers with too lax a system. By Brussels seeking a mean, they make sure that no-one is happy. This system can't survive. It will crash. It has to.
The counter argument is that the euro is used by too many people. There are half a billion people living in Europe, and a third of all the planet's wealth is held in euros. The euro is not going to disappear any time soon, but it cannot stay in place using the current rules. Something has to give.
Okay, so hands up all those who are currently unhappy with things the way they are.
By a show of hands I note that Italy is seriously unhappy and has resorted to financial blackmail. Greece has always been unhappy, but then it could be said they brought disaster upon themselves by fiddling the books to join in the first place.
France is seriously in trouble because of so much local discontent with the current system, and their banks hold rather a lot of Italian debt which is worth very little.
Spain is seriously in trouble financially because the country cannot address fundamental problems due to the EU financial rules. The same is true of Portugal.
Italy and Spain are also front line when it comes to boat people landing illegally and demanding financial support when the countries can't support their own unemployed.
South Eastern Europe has it's own problems with people trying to escape from the Middle East.
The whole European ethic is held together only because no-one is addressing the problems because they pretend they are not fundamental. The trouble is, they are.
Almost as an aside; I still don't understand the UK remainers. If you happen to be a remainer, I would like to ask you a few questions.
1.  Do you want to keep sterling or go over to the euro, bearing in mind the fact that the EU banking situation is a total disaster? If you remain, the goes. That's a given. Bearing in mind the euro can't survive in its present form wouldn't it be a better idea to hold off until after the crash?
2.  Do you want to keep your own government, or do you want to be ruled from Brussels? The UK has an 800 year history of democracy. That goes if you stay in the EU. The idea is for the whole continent to be ruled by unelected civil servants in Brussels. Sounds like a disaster to me.
3.  70% of the country's wealth comes from London's financial centre. If we stay in the EU that gets moved to Frankfurt. Do you think moving our most wealthy business to Germany is a great idea? The UK would be economically castrated, and over the course of a generation would turn into a third world country.
4.  The whole legal system of the UK, built up from Roman times, and firmly routed in Common Law, would ultimately have to be changed. I can't imagine what a mess that would create. Do you really think Common Law is so much worse that Administrative Law?
I could go on, but it becomes rather depressing.
Let me turn instead to the property markets, and deal with the prospects there. But this blog is getting overlong, so let's address that particular problem next week.

>>>>> Part 2: To Buy in France or not?

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