Commentary

So Long EU, Hello USA

Well, there we have it. The people haven't so much spoken as shouted very loudly down a megaphone "Get Brexit Done."

Most commentators were expecting the Conservatives to squeeze out a majority approaching the 20s, maybe even entering them. But 86? I bet not even Boris himself dared to dream of such a massive mandate.

For adland, it means one simple thing -- Brexit will be done.

It is risky to assign a political view to an entire industry, but I think it is fair to say that for an industry rooted in London -- the only city to remain red for Labour last night -- most executives would have been Remainers.

There was a glimmer of hope for those who wanted to reverse the 2016 referendum result with the hung parliament of the past two years, but frustration with slow progress resulted in last night's result. All hope that the UK will be part of the EU has gone.

On the plus side, the pound is up, and once Christmas is done there will surely be a return to more confidence -- or at the very least, more of a feeling that businesses know the direction of travel after three years of uncertainty.

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We have already had a good Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and one would imagine an end to dithering will make it a good Christmas for marketers, even if the result may not have gone the way many in the industry were hoping for. 

On the politics side, Labour looks set to be out of power for the decade as it descends into a civil war over why it just had its worst night at the polls for nearly a century.

Just as with Michael Foot, when this reporter was just a young lad, there will be many in the party who believe the country's rejection of a left-wing manifesto was because it wasn't left-wing enough. There will be those who realise a moderate, like Tony Blair, is the way back into power.

As for the UK, the "north wall" of Labour seats has been eroded, but in its place further north we have Hadrian's Wall as Scotland backs the SNP in its bid for a second referendum on independence.

In Northern Ireland, Theresa May's former allies, the DUP, have lost two of its MPs in a night where, like in Scotland, the nationalists won.

As Boris prepares to put a customs border in the Irish Sea, one would suspect we haven't heard the end of nationalist calls for unification with the Republic of Ireland.

As for digital marketing -- well, we can expect to see the regulator for online content the Conservatives have promised. 

The Digital Services Tax will be more problematic. A 2% direct tax on the tech giants appears to be the only fair way to get them to pay a fairer share of tax. However, President Trump is promising a tariff war with anyone who follows France's example of a 3% direct tax.

I would bet my shirt on this levy being kicked into some very long grass as soon as the Withdrawal Agreement is passed by parliament and attention turns to a trade deal with the US.

As for the EU, I don't think anyone in Brussels can look at last night's result with anything other than reluctant acceptance that the UK is leaving. There will be some trade details that need to be sorted out, but it's hard to see why data cannot keep on flowing freely if the UK adheres to GDP and when it is eventually launched, introduces something akin to the ePrivacy Directive.

Neither Directives are too onerous now that we are already moving in the direction of third-party cookies crumbling and consent being at the heart of responsible, transparent marketing. 

So, there you have it. For adland execs and journalists living in the London or the so-called "Westminster bubble," the result was a shock -- or at least the extent of the majority. It now leaves trade talks with the US centre stage as the UK moves from withdrawing from the EU to setting up its future trade relationship. 

There will be none of Labour's free super-fast broadband, but there will almost certainly be an internet regulator holding sites to account. As for the promised tech tax? I wouldn't hold your breath. 

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