In the wake of Airbus warning (amongst others) that it could move wing-building out of the UK in the future if there is a no-deal Brexit, people are asking why are big businesses behaving like this.
Big business has the morals of a greedy baby. It doesn’t just want to eat all of its sweets it wants yours and mine too. There are many good reasons why big business is doing what it is doing. I would suggest the principle reason would have to be – money. Money is best made by doing very little for it. The choice big business has is to:
1) Actually leave the UK, with all the associated costs for doing so. Thereby costing the business and ultimately reducing their short term profit margin (the principle concern for any business).
2) Face losing a significant subsidy from the EU. I would posit that this is a lesser concern, because shareholders don’t tend to speculate on the prospect of growth from set subsidies. Subsidies make a business more of sure thing, but for growth to occur business must exploit any means necessary to increase its profits and attract investors. But subsidies are good and you don’t want to lose them. So that leads nicely to…
3) Pretend like they intend to leave and go to the EU, in an attempt to accrue tax breaks, new subsidies and other benefits. This requires minimal effort. Just a bit of headshaking and tutting and assistance from a hysterical media and a fear panicked population (the last 17 years of the war on terror to be taken into account, your honour). This option means they have to spend no money, do nothing that exerts any great energy and sit tight wagging their finger with a big frown.
They know they just have to sit until the weak government opposed by a floundering opposition roll over like puppies who know they’ve been naughty.
Then they scoop them up and say. “Don’t worry, we’re not really going to leave after all, here sign this bit of paper and it will be okay.”
And the government will say. “Yeah okay. Its alright we are in the business of signing blank cheques to big corporate bodies, so we don’t care. This isn’t our money, all we have to do is ask those nice bankers who we helped that time, and they will do their special trick which magics money out of thin air.”
And the bankers will agree and they will say. “You will pay us back with interest.”
And the government will nod their head and tell us it is in our interest and we must pay our taxes.
And we will be thankful to our masters and pay those taxes.
And the shareholders shall be happy because they will have made a profit. And those profits shall be kept by the shareholders.
And when those companies get into debt then they shall be nationalised. Because profit is capitalised and debt is socialised…
… and we all must bear that burden.
Big Business is just doing what it does best. It is exploiting the resources available to it. It would do the same whichever way the Brexit coin was flipped.
Personally I think Brexit is an opportunity for us to take our sweets back. If they don’t want to do business in Britain by all means go elsewhere. I think we can and will learn to cope just fine without them.