Bangalore International Centre had arranged a talk on “Brexit and leadership in uncertain times” by Mr. Andrew Hill, Associate Editor and Management Editor of the Financial Times, London, on Tuesday, 18th October, 2016 at 6.30 PM at its Auditorium. Prof. S L Rao, well-known economist chaired and moderated the discussion.
In a scintillating talk laced with typical British humour, Mr. Andrew Hill confessed that Britain has been currently going through a huge political and economic uncertainty, with a somewhat confused and weak political leadership which had clearly no notion about the impact of the negative vote in the Brexit Referendum. There was neither any well-thought out political succession plan, nor any contingency planning for the economy. His conclusion was clear – in the short term scenario. Britain will bleed heavily in both political and economic spheres. As he put it, the political rhetoric currently seems to indicate a hard exit option with the Prime Minister declaring that the exit button will be pressed in March 2017. That would mean that the operational details of the exit plan would need to be finalised within the next 2 years, and fully completed by 2020. The fact that there are no indications about the emergence of a concrete economic recovery plan with the political leadership still in disarray, would suggest a prolonged period of uncertainty. However, Mr. Hill speculated that Britain could move towards a soft exit also. That would mean that Britain could formally exit the European Union, without completely severing its economy from Europe and the rest of the world. Under such a scenario, free trade and free market (within the ambits of WTO regulations) would flourish without protectionism and exclusivism. He felt that this was likely to be emerging long-term scenario. In response to a question, he agreed that Great Britain would perhaps no longer be “Great” with Scotland parting ways from Britain, as Britain exits European Union.
The Chairman, and many members in the lively audience, did not share the optimism of Mr. Hill, but all agreed that this was one of the best talks heard in BIC on contemporary events in recent days.