Brexit Here We Come!

I can’t really not mention it, can I?

The EU Flag
The EU Flag
This isn’t a post devoted to how we should have voted Remain (David and Steve). More ‘whither The Chain Gang after Brexit?’

God knows, is the short answer. It’s January 2020, it looks certain that the UK is leaving the EU, and the dice will fall where they may.

For 2020, nothing will change, while we enjoy a ‘transition period’ that takes us to the end of the year. But the question is bound to arise more and more throughout our summer season, so I thought I’d kick off with a few thoughts.

Why does it concern The Chain Gang?

1. Our guides are mostly British.

Or at least, not French.
There’s a good reason for that, and it’s deliberate. Our customers come from all over the English-speaking world, from the UK, from Canada and the US, from New Zealand and Australia, Ireland, South Africa, with a few Brazilians and Nordic-types. (And Yoko).

French icon, Johnny Hallyday
French icon, Johnny Hallyday – no, seriously!
No matter how fluent a French person’s English, the cultural references are missing – and it’s surprising how many of them we share: TV shows, movies (yuk! isn’t that an American word?) music, even knowing each other’s history and politics. For example, it always used to amuse me that French people didn’t believe that nobody had heard of their iconic poor man’s Elvis, Johnny Hallyday. Slightly less amusing now he’s dead, but if you’re not familiar with Johnny’s vast canon, reflect on the fact that a million French people went to his funeral. How do I know they were all French? Because nobody else has ever heard of him!

Back to Brexit – will my guides need work permits? The Department for Trade & Industry can’t tell me yet, the Government’s website helping businesses prepare for Brexit can’t tell me yet. But it seems very likely! Luckily, we have one French guide with dual nationality, but it isn’t me, so I’ll need some sort of permit too, I imagine, in time.

2. VAT.

We pay tons of VAT in France and Italy, and to simplify a process, whatever VAT we pay in France and Italy gets knocked off our VAT bill in the UK. VAT logoWill that happen after Brexit? Guess who knows? No bugger knows!

I’m sure you’re getting the drift now.

So, What’s The Plan?

We’re planning our summer as usual, kicking off in Languedoc on May 23rd. And I’ll be following the sage advice of Gilles, our transport guy in the Dordogne – “You’re not guides. If anybody in a uniform asks, tell them you’re an ‘accompagnateur des groupes”. Will do, Gilles. A Gendarme

At least Gilles has a plan for Brexit. And before you scoff, that’s more than Her Majesty’s Government have managed!

Business As Usual, Alors! At least for 2020.

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