Singapore'd: Can Pro-EU London Secede if UK Brexits?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 6/22/2016 12:30:00 AM
Time to get the $%^& out of the UK, not the EU? The London question.
Now here's a fascinating thought for all: In a previous post, I wrote about the solidly pro-EU Scots wishing to remain in the European Union while the rest of the UK leaves in the event of a negative outcome to the upcoming referendum. Now, here's another thing we should apparently consider: London too is solidly for remaining in the EU. Its economy is rather larger than those of Scotland, Wales, etc. Population-wise, it is larger than those less-populated regions.

So, if the small-minded Brexiteers get their way this coming Thursday, why not a London secession in the near future? Certainly its business interests are going that way, and there would quite frankly be little point sticking with a country that inflicted mortal economic damage on itself. IN particular, the financial services sector would see little point sticking around in a process described as "Guernseyfication." But what are the alternatives to being part of a country bent on economic suicide?
There are those like Kevin Doran, head of strategy and research at KBL European Private Bankers, who see London becoming an independent city state as inevitable, suggesting it could happen as early as 2035. "Within 20 to 30 years' time... they [London] will hold a referendum on taking themselves out of the UK, and away they go," Mr Doran told the Yorkshire Post in 2014.

And it's not hard to see why London might argue it would be better off striking out on its own. With a population of 8.7m - and forecast to grow to 10m by 2020 - the capital is already larger than Scotland and Wales combined.

Londoners contribute 70% more of the UK's national income than people in the rest of the country each year - a difference of £16,000 per person - and the capital generates 22% of all annual UK economic growth, despite accounting for only 12.5% of the population. London's economy is estimated to be the same size as that of Sweden, Europe's seventh largest economy, and yet currently its local government has less power than the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales.
But alas, the technical hurdles would be high:
But to many, the City of London Corporation included, the idea is that London could become an independent city state is simply a non-starter. Ian Schofield, a spokesman for the corporation, says: "The idea of London setting off as an independent city state is far-fetched and ridiculous. It is not something the City of London Corporation would support now or in the future."

Mr Schofield says to break up a very large economy like the UK's into its various component parts would not make sense. And then there is the significant economic impact that London breaking away from the UK would have on the rest of the country, given the contribution the city makes to the wider economy.

"London is unquestionably the economic capital of Europe but it would be a mistake to think of London as an island because it still relies on the rest of the UK economy," says Ben Rogers, a former Downing Street policy adviser and now director of the Centre for London think tank. "If London is the engine of the UK economy, the rest of the UK provides the fuel," he adds.
The point I wish to make though is that leaving the EU would already entail huge adjustment costs on the part of the UK. London seceding would not exactly be much greater an added complication, so perhaps it's time to get Singapore'd like how it left the Malayan Federation all those years ago when its interests were not being served there. As far as I can tell, Singapore has done pretty darned well for itself.