The Brexit pushed back, the commemorative coins will be destroyed

Brexit does not take place this Thursday, October 31st. The coins celebrating this date will be crushed and melted.

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Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer, arrives at Downing Street on October 28th. He would have ordered 3 million commemorative coins for the Brexit that was to take place this Thursday, October 31. ISABEL INFANTES / AFP

Brexit is melting. Literally. For the exit of the European Union (EU), the British government had planned the manufacture of millions of commemorative coins of 50 pence. "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations" had to be written on one side. Below, the fateful date: October 31, 2019. Their production had begun.

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Only, everything did not go as planned. The Brexit is – once again – pushed back, and the British Treasury is left with a few thousand pieces unusable.

The metal will be put aside, waiting to reuse it for the next date

These, which would have made excellent symbols for teasing minds and rare collectible medals for numismatic lovers, will be destroyed. Royal Mint, the public body that makes the British coins "For over a thousand years," chose a radical option: the pieces will be crushed then melted. The metal will be put aside, waiting to reuse it for the next date.

Nobody knows exactly how many pieces had already been made. Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer, would have ordered the manufacture of 3 million of them to mark the coup, but even this information is not confirmed. The British Treasury suggests that only a few thousand were already available. He insists most seriously that this monetary destruction will not cost the taxpayer a penny anyway, since Royal Mint has accepted to finance it on his own. The state-owned enterprise at 100%, the accounting calculation is questionable.

Impossible preparations

This misadventure is an excellent symbol of the impossibility of organizing preparations for Brexit. The British government knows something about it. He had to cancel urgently a big advertising campaign, which announced for weeks "Get ready for Brexit" ("Get ready for Brexit"). It also canceled Operation Brock, which was preparing the highway near Dover to deal with possible traffic jams, separating truck traffic from cars.

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If the job of a government is naturally to prepare for the worst, hoping that the best happens, the same uncertainty weighs on the companies. These increased their inventories by around 10% in anticipation of Brexit. Should they now empty them? Waiting for the outcome of the December 12 elections? Waiting for the Parliament to ratify the Brexit agreement? Do as if nothing had happened and hope that everything will be fine?

Automotive companies, for example, need to start seriously getting upset. In anticipation of the Brexit scheduled for March 29, they had all closed several weeks early April, preferring to avoid the possible chaos of the early days of Brexit. Then, for the first week of November, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW and Toyota started again. Each time, these closures proved useless. And for them, crushing and melting potential surpluses is not an option.

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