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London plc. in 2026: 10 years on from the ashes of Brexit, a City-Corporation flourishes

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Having been CEO of London plc. for 5 years now, Stuart Gulliver can step down from the role knowing that he will go into the history books as perhaps the greatest businessman of all time. London wasn’t even a company when he took over, and today in 2026, it is has a bigger turnover than any of the tech giants of the West Coast Division of Trumpland, and employs more people than the recently floated NHS. Reluctantly taking the role in July 2021 after the now infamous ‘Londexit’ vote, Mr. Gulliver was the obvious choice having been the CEO of London’s biggest financial institution HSBC for some 10 years previously.

As many of you will no doubt remember, the 2020 referendum on London’s independence from England (so-called ‘Londexit’) followed nearly 4 years of chronic shock; a time that has become known as the ‘Tumultous Teens’ (although strictly the period runs from 2008, given that was the year of the Second Great Recession). After 2016’s Brexit vote, the then-UK was plunged into years of financial, political and social turmoil. The markets tanked, hyper-inflation meant that people were buying groceries with iPhones and the political parties were in continual civil war. Worse still were the constant far-right vigilante groups that patrolled the streets of Northern cities, mercilessly beating any people they perceived as ‘foreign’. The unprecedented number of general elections (3 in 5 years) did little to calm the storms. The last of these in November 2019, in which the UKIP-NeoConservative coalition headed by Prime Minister Farage finally triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, saw the demise of the UK and England ‘go it alone’.

The following 12 months saw the worst of the troubles. Farage immediately signs off on UTIP, the ‘United Trade Investment Partnerships’, which was essentially a more business-friendly version of the EU’s old TTIP deal. It meant that US, Chinese and Russian investment companies suddenly stripped public services of all their assets. The ‘winter of chronic discontent’ saw riots, looting and mass-hysteria that eclipsed the 2011 riots by some way. And while the reasons are being debated by sociologists and political scientists alike (most notably Professor Owen Jones of Pepsi College of Oxbridge University and Dr. Katie Hopkins of Boston Institute for Immigration Studies), the main reason is undoubtedly Roman Abramovich’s takeover of the NHS for £100billion in late 2018 (the recent floating of the company put it’s value at half that, showing what a poor investment choice it was). Moreover, Scotland secured independence from the UK and re-joined the EU causing even more international companies to leave England and set up camp north of the border. The most damaging being Nissan, which having relocated its main manufacturing plant from Sunderland to Glasgow, caused the loss of over 10,000 jobs in the North East (from which it never really recovered). The UKIP-NeoCon government continued to implement austerity politics but blamed the inevitable socially deleterious results on the continued interference of the EU and the remaining ‘legal immigrants’ that were brave enough to have stayed on. All this was going on against the backdrop of the Second US-Mexico War, which led to President Trump abolishing the American Constitution and rename the USA as ‘Trumpland’, to which he immediately annexed the recently United Ireland as the 51st state.

So with England and Wales increasingly becoming reliant on foreign aid from China and India, and New York racing ahead in the McDonalds Quality of Life City Ranking League TableTM (due to it being the newly crowned capital of Trumpland), it was only a matter of time before London, the only city in the UK that had positive economic growth and a stable currency voted to leave England. The ageing Mayor Corbyn could not continue to resist the calls from Londoners to build a citywide ‘ring of steel’ (now famously dubbed the Moat25), so he announced the Londexit referendum. The global financial industry saw its opportunity. Prior to Brexit in 2016, London was a burgeoning global city that was generating huge profits and making these financial institutions more powerful than national and local governments. The financialisation of the city was nearly complete but Brexit put a stop to all that. However, with Londexit looming, if somehow Londoners could be persuaded to make the city not only an independent political state, but an economic one too, then it could return, and even supersede those lofty pre-2016 levels of wealth generation.

So stepped forth Mr. Gulliver, the savviest financial operator in recent times. At first, he was reluctant given his non-dom status and the calls for his resignation as HSBC CEO in 2016 for poor company performances. But given HSBC’s stranglehold on the city previously, he was voted in unanimously as the figurehead for global financial institutions and tax-haven based oligarchs to persuade the people of London that to rid themselves of the poisonous social and cultural turmoil of the regions, they needed to become not just a different country, but a business. Only then would they be truly free from the perceived tyranny of the UKIP-NeoCon coalition. Because of UTIP, companies now had the ability to sue governments if they stood in the way of profit-making, so if London became a plc., then they had carte blanche to pick and choose which international laws they wanted to keep and which ones they saw as restricting growth. Mayor Corbyn didn’t stand a chance.

So in July of 2021, London plc. was born and Mr. Gulliver became the CEO, and the resultant influx of foreign investment and the return of the HQ functions of the world’s major banks from Paris and Frankfurt meant that the resources of London swelled significantly. Any company wanting to set up in London gave over 40% (a snip given the resultant bump in revenues), and all residents were given an employment contract, with their wage negotiated by their current accommodation and skill level. Those people who didn’t want to be employed, or couldn’t offer any capital (such as the homeless or those in social housing) were ‘sacked’ (which effectively meant they were driven to Swindon and left there). London became a prosperous place-based company, in which all employees contributed to the city’s social milieu, cultural vibrancy and importantly, its economic prosperity. The imposition of biometric tagging and 24-hour surveillance was resisted at first, but Mr. Gulliver was able to win the detractors round with the promise of even greater security checks for new employees, and a more advanced city-wide defence system (for which he hired G4S after their resounding success in putting on the Loughborough Olympic Games in 2024).

Now, in 2026 as Mr. Gulliver steps down, London plc. as a company is growing faster than ever before. New jobs are created daily, and its foreign aid development arm (nicknamed the ‘Farage Fund’) is able to keep England afloat just enough so as to continue to help London build the Oceanic Gateway through Wales. Who Mr. Gulliver’s successor will be is a source of great debate (rumours are Banksy, the head of Creativity, Culture and Wellbeing is mounting a campaign), but whoever it is, they have big shoes to fill. London plc. was, and still is, the only beacon of progress to have come from Brexit and the Tumultuous Teens, yet it took a business leader to realise that. Long live London!

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Author: Oli

Human Geographer at Royal Holloway, University of London

One thought on “London plc. in 2026: 10 years on from the ashes of Brexit, a City-Corporation flourishes

  1. A corporate city isn’t good for it’s ordinary citizens. Look at Hong Kong, where companies can nominate their staff to represent them and make laws in the Legislative Council. The result is crony capitalism.

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