can Tony Blair redeem himself?

tony blair

Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Tony Blair, the most hated man in the UK because of Iraq, is trying hard to save the British people from what he considers a trainwreck: Brexit! The British economy is suffering a notable slowdown and there is growing scepticism over what Brexit may bring. Something that was unthinkable a few months ago is now being discussed openly: reversing Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Many business leaders believe that Brexit will cause serious damage to the British economy. The business community is fast losing patience and has demanded a recognizable plan by the end of 2017. They say they cannot continue to delay decisions on whether to relocate some of their operations outside of the UK, though several banks have already made the decision and shifted many jobs away from London. (FRANKFURT will be the big winner from Brexit, as the German city lures banks and jobs out of London.)

Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., Standard Chartered Plc and Nomura Holdings Inc have picked the German city for their EU headquarters to ensure continued access to the single market. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and UBS Group AG are weighing a similar decision, said people familiar with the matter, asking not to be named because the plans aren’t public. HSBC Holdings Plc is the biggest non-French bank so far to opt for Paris, while Barclays Bank Plc has plumped for Dublin.

London could lose 10,000 banking jobs and 20,000 roles in financial services as clients move 1.8 trillion euros ($2.1 trillion) of assets out of the U.K. on Brexit, according to think-tank Bruegel. The implications for the U.K. are substantial: finance and related professional services bring in some £190 billion ($248 billion) a year, representing 12 percent of the British economy.

A steady stream of politicians in the 27 EU member states have said that Britain could still change its mind. One of the most prominent is Donald Tusk of Poland, the president of the European Council, who said in late October that it was now “up to London how this will end, with a good deal, no deal or no Brexit.” 

A second referendum? Why not? It would be truly interesting to see, a year and a half on, if the numbers change considerably.

See Blair in this video clip talking about Brexit. There’s also an interview with him on today’s BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.

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