Believe it or not, there was a time when we in Wessex were proud of James Dyson. When Wessex Society was formed in 1999, they asked him to become a patron, based on his former status as a successful innovator based in Wiltshire. Three years later, this request looked rather foolish when he moved most of his production to Malaysia.
Now, he is at it again. Having helped sell a disastrous Brexit to the British people, saying “trust me, I’m a business leader”, he has decided to move his company headquarters to Singapore, so that he will be able to more successfully trade with the EU than he could if Britain crashes out. It’s all about the trade deals.
There is, of course, nothing unique about Dyson’s behaviour. It is entirely consistent with the morality, if you can call it that, of a predatory global elite engaged in a race to the bottom, who regard protections for their workers and for the natural world as burdens to be avoided as far as possible.
One thing it does show us, though, is that Brexit has failed even on its own terms. To the disaster capitalists who promoted it, Brexit was supposed to make Britain the Singapore of Europe: a low-tax, low-wage economy that acted as a tax haven for oligarchs and a sweatshop for the rest of us. Dyson’s exit to the real Singapore would appear to signal a loss of faith in their own project.