Now is the summer of our discontent. The question is: can we stop it turning into the autumn, winter and spring?
Still reeling from the double whammy of being out of the EU and out of Euro 2016, most of the nation will have struggled to take on board the latest terrorist atrocity in Istanbul.
But at least it made us stop selfishly wallowing for a moment, look up and remember that there is a whole big world out there that keeps on turning… even if its axis has shifted a little.
Yes, it is a deeply unsettling new reality we are grappling with, domestically and globally. And yes, many of you, like me, believe the division of a nation, collapse of our political system, hard shift to the right and accompanying rise in hate crime are too high a price to pay for the greater access to global markets, reduced EU bureaucracy and the ‘taking back of control’ that Brexiteers promised.
You’ll also be equally dismayed by the prospect of growing civil unrest once the penny drops among the general public that the key ‘leave’ pledges regarding the NHS and immigration controls were utterly mendacious. But the people have spoken (or just over a third of them anyway) and grapple with this new reality we must… or at least keep calm and carry on until we have greater clarity on what is actually going to happen, and when.
No apocalypse (for now)
The good news is that the vote has not led to the apocalypse many feared (yet, anyway). As Property Week went to press on Wednesday, both the pound and the stock markets had rallied slightly and David Cameron was warning of “choppy waters ahead”, not a tsunami.
To use a different liquid metaphor, while I’m not going to p*** down your back and tell you it’s raining – shares in property, like banking and the airlines, have tanked – things could be worse.
And most people saw it coming. Even those expecting to remain were bracing themselves for Brexit.
And now they will be hopeful perhaps, rather than confident, that those preparations pay off. As we reveal in our special EU referendum issue this week, a lot of deals have been shelved as Brexit clauses have been triggered, but deals are still being done.
Meanwhile, international investors are already eyeing opportunities to capitalise on the cheap pound, wily UK operators are looking to identify which sectors could actually benefit from Brexit, and the likes of Berkeley’s Tony Pidgley, realising that defence is the best offence,are buying shares in their own companies.
Indeed, the general mood – astonishingly – is at worst stoical, at best bullish. Of course, that is partly because there is nothing to be gained by talking the market down, but actually, why should we?
It is a very different market to that of 2008: the level of gearing is nowhere near as high for one.
In short, this is not a fiddling while Rome burns or ‘violinists on the Titanic’ scenario. It’s more Monty Python. As the character attempting to cheer up Brian sings: “Always look on the bright side of life.” It is advice we should all heed… he was being crucified at the time, mind.
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