Conservatives in the U.K. who favored Brexit sold the idea to their more free-market constituencies on the basis that escaping the regulatory shackle of Europe would unleash the British economy. In other words, the idea was that what they’d give up in the freedom from borders within Europe they’d get back many times over in economic freedom.
Things have hardly played out that way, and Boris Johnson (and Theresa May before him) are anything but market-oriented conservatives.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron hatched the idea of a Brexit referendum at the Chicago O’Hare terminal 3 Pizzeria Uno, hoping to hold together his electoral coalition and win the vote for Remain. However – just like pundits on this side of the Pond – he underestimated the desire of a large portion of the electorate to simply ‘break stuff’ and signal strength in the face of elites they believed had lowered their relative status.
And like in the U.S. the political equilibrium is one with a larger, not smaller, role for the state including in business affairs. So when One Mile at a Time writes that the U.K. is preventing Emirates from offering shower attendants in first class on their Airbus A380 flights to the U.K., read this as a minor trade skirmish in favor of protecting flag carrier British Airways.
- Emirates offers shower suites in first class on their Airbus A380s
- There’s a dedicated staff member who cleans the showers between uses (and cleans bathrooms elsewhere on the plane at other times)
- They are lower paid than and aren’t qualified as regular flight crew.
The U.K. says that after a decade they can no longer enter the country on a crew visa. Emirates will add a crewmember to these flights to fill the first class duties on the shower attendant, and flight attendants in other cabins will refresh their own lavatories.
The ‘why now’ after a decade where this has been a non-issue is clear, look to recent changes in U.K. government. And who benefits is also clear flying between the U.K. and Dubai: the only other airline flying London Heathrow – Dubai, British Airways, which is forced to use its newest aircraft with best business class – the Airbus A350 – on the route (and will be moving a second A350 onto the route).
Brexit – and the politicians it has placed in power – are bringing a more nationalist industrial policy to Britain. The latest target is Emirates and their ‘over the top’ first class experience which needs to be taxed, in the view of some, to protect British Airways.