We are now over a month into the UK being outside the EU, Single Market and Customs Union and project fear has turned into project reality. While some of this might be transitional teething problems, others are not and
will certainly lead to sectoral shifts in the UK. There is the fishery industry, which discovered that being able to fish more does not imply selling more. There are many smaller export-oriented businesses in the UK, focused on the EU market so far, finding
out that the costs on either side (UK exporter and EU importer) are simply too large for business being profitable. Social media are full now of former
Brexit-fans that feel conned. One of the main frictions on the retail level has been the exit of the UK from the EU VAT system – it is important to note that this was one of the earliest
decisions of the UK Parliament to force Theresa May towards as hard a Brexit as possible. While annoying for individuals (like my family and me), it has turned into a major headache for small businesses. And this is just on the goods-side.
The service sector has been all but ignored; the performing arts profession has been outspoken about the failure of the UK government to agree to visa-free travel for performing artists. Similarly, the fashion industry has started to complain. It is important
to note, however, that this does NOT imply that there will not be winners from Brexit – yes, there will be: most obviously, customs agent has become an attractive career perspective for young people. In the medium- to long-term, firms offering substitutes
for imports from the EU will emerge. On balance, however, it has become clear that Brexit will cost the UK economy and society dearly, something that even Michael Gove – though
unintentionally – acknowledged when he – correctly – claimed that Scottish independence and a trade border between England and Scotland would be even more costly than Brexit.