Brexit: Updated Scenario Probabilities

Ah well, time for a Brexit scenario update based on Bayesian re-assessment of which way the wind blows currently, and in ascending order of probability

1) Visible Hand 15% probable.
This is a friend’s predicted down to the wire outcome, in which sheer self-interest of the UK and EU forces a not too bad deal the UK can live with. Though it will be down to the wire nerve racking and like a game of poker bluff. Only requires cool nerves and no real creative negotiating skills. I think this improbable because bridging 27 countries interests will require real creativity and also because no free movement of labor is almost impossible to cut as a deal even with EU economic self interest. I define not too bad a deal as one that allows some economic growth through to 2025, far less than in the EU but some.

2) UK Stays in the EU 20% probable.
Clearly the best option in terms of UK interests and the one business wants and any sane analysis of UK interests would point to. I am being very out of character optimistic in assigning it 20% probability as I suspect it is less than this, but I guess this is my equivalent to my friend’s faith in Visible Hand: self interest will come through. This still leaves the pre-Brexit problems of poor UK productivity and uncompetitiveness, not to mention the EU’s own problems currently concealed by the short term and by the focus on Brexit, but the UK and EU issues are best addressed with the UK inside the EU. So UK resumes past economic growth trend or better with some hard work.

3) Mindful Hand: 30% probable.
Really skillful and creative negotiation actually does find a way to deliver the combo of the Single Market and immigration controls of say the 1.5 Norwichs level (down from 3 Norwichs a year currently: one of the more emotive Brexit arguments using this metaphor fyi) or at least some non-economy damaging equivalent. So again worse than staying in, but at least some economic growth possible. I would assign this a much higher probability, if the current Conservative leadership had shown the slightest sign of negotiating skill, were listening to their Civil Service advisors, and didn’t seem to be the stupidest Conservative leaders in my life time.

4) Wrecking Ball 35% probable.
This is Hard Brexit no deal, no real trading alternatives prove possible so the UK economy doesn’t grow at all through 2025 in real terms, inflation goes well above 3% and Corbyn has a good chance of winning the next general election, because the economy is tanking and he then makes things far worse. Now this scenario should be next to impossible, rather than the most probable, because it is frankly insane. And you would think any sort of self- interest would rule it out. But the Conservative Party for the first time in its history (our such luck) has stopped listening to business, to the City, to reality even, and instead is in thrall to the Lumpen Bourgeoisie and the Lumpen Proletariat and much of its active membership, who help elect their leaders and MPs, is committed to economic suicide, and some of its more malign leadership happy to run with this over the cliff, screw the country for career gain or ideological fantasy.

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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