Napoleon and his French army was just about invincible – until the Russian winter stepped in for a dramatic historic event, eventually resulting in the demise of Napoleon’s reign and the emergence of Russia as a European power. And this morning, when the results of the Brexit vote was announced in Britain, it became clear that once again, after months of lobbying, hours of debate and even violence, weather played its part in how history will be written. The Telegraph this morning reports: “London backed Remain but the turnout was lower than expected because of bad weather.” (Read more on how weather have impacted history over the years.)
I am not implying that weather is the sole reason for the outcome, but a close 48.1% against 51.9% might suggest that each and every vote could have made a difference and perhaps the severe weather and flooding that lead to road closures, the cancellation of rail services and even the closure of polling stations might have made a difference in the referendum results. (Read more)
With the GBP falling to its lowest levels since 1985, Brexit’s immediate effect is clear and one can expect the volatile ZAR to feel the impact. (Read more) Negative economic conditions in the UK will definitely impact on our exports to the UK, the number one country for South African wine exports. Fears are that Brexit might also have a negative influence on the wine export trade agreement between South Africa and the EU (including the UK, the most important export market for SA wine). (Read more)
Uncertainty and instability in both the UK and EU might also have ripple effects on traveling and tourism. The impact might be severe for British in-bound tourism, especially business tourism, and Independent.co.uk reports: ” According to the professional services firm Deloitte, 63 per cent of inbound holidaymakers to Britain are from countries of the European Union. Visitors from the EU will top nine million this year.” “Deloitte says that almost three-quarters of inbound business travellers are from the EU.” (Read more)
And tourism to South Africa? From the 2015 Annual South African Tourism Report: “Europe is the 2nd largest contributor to revenue and it contributed an additional R1.4 billion to tourism revenue in 2015. This was generated from two major markets UK (R1.0 billion) and Germany (R0.3 billion). The 9.1% depreciation of South African Rand against the British Pound resulted in an increase in their daily spend of 25.8% from 2014.” (See the report). Any negative economic conditions and overall uncertainty within the UK and EU might also negatively affect tourism figures to South Africa.
There might be reasons for optimism and clearly the majority of British feel that way, but there is no denying that the results of this vote (whether it has been aided by the unpredictable London weather or not) will have a significant impact on history.