Brexit could end the age of “Cool Britannia” | The Economist

Brexit could end the age of “Cool Britannia” | The Economist

Brexit is not only a concern for Britain’s economic future, it’s also threatening the country’s “street cred”: 2018 could mark the end of “Cool Britannia”.

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Could 2018 be the year Britain loses its cool? By autumn, the complex Brexit negotiations should be drawing to a close. Deal or no deal, what’s decided before then will affect the future of Britain, and the continent, for decades to come.

As Brexit begins to bite, not only is Britain’s economic future in play but the country could lose its “street cred”.

20 years ago, Britain was riding on the crest of a wave of cool; Britpop ruled the airwaves, and the young, newly elected, Prime Minister Tony Blair, was pledging to build a new Britain.

20 years on from Blair’s iconic address, Theresa May took to the stage at her conservative party conference, to deliver a less successful speech. As the ruling Conservative Party battles with Brexit, it’s looking less cool than ever.

And the poorly prepared Brexit negotiations aren’t doing much to improve their image. And all this could have a significant impact on how Britain is viewed by the rest of Europe.

Britain’s thriving creative industries currently generate $84 billion every year. That’s over 4% of GDP. There’s a danger London could start losing out on the world’s best creative talents.

But the vote for Brexit in June 2016 has so far done a lot less economic damage than many expected. Consumer spending and business investment have held up.

The employment rate is at a record high and although wage growth has been poor the jobs market has been running hot.

Hardline Brexiteers suggest the country has nothing to fear if the prime minister walks away without a deal. Yet this would bring gale warnings for economy. So far, British businesses have been surprisingly resilient to this uncertainty. But if a no-deal Brexit looks increasingly likely, investment could suffer and things would take a turn for the worse.

If Britain leaves without a deal, it risks becoming not only a poorer country but a far more isolated one.

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