The extreme element leave campaign would have you believe that by not supporting their views you are somehow ‘anti-British’. The extreme element of the remain campaign would contest that anybody wanting to leave Europe is a ‘right-wing facist’.
Being convinced that the UK is not made up of 17.4m shaven-head abuse hurling fascists, living next door to 16.1m anti-British terrorists sympathisers. There must be more to it than that. There is!
Why are we here?
In simple terms, because 51.9% of the British electoral public said we should leave.
Because David Cameron had to pacify his own party and felt confident that the public would support him.
Because the opposition took, and still takes, the opportunity to let the Conservatives tear themselves apart over this issue, putting it’s own lust for power ahead of the Nation’s need.
Because UKIP touched on the issues the UK undoubtably faced with immigration and turned it into nationwide anti-Europe sentiment.
The reasons are many, but as with any election/referendum, people ultimately voted based on their own experiences and inspired by the promises made by the people leading the campaigns. Neither campaign of course having any power, or inclination judging by the way all the main protagonists stepped aside after the referendum, to deliver on it’s promises!
The reasons are many and varied but ultimately the choice was given and made.
Should it of been given?
Without wanting to alienate every voter in the UK, or indeed any democracy, my reason are simple.
This was simply too big a question about the future of the United Kingdom for a simple majority vote based on a process of undeliverable promises.
If the question was something like this, then at least it would have been a more truthful representation of the real impact of what the electorate were voting for, instead of the raft of undeliverable promises made by both sides.
“Should the UK leave the European Union and take its chances as a stand-alone nation. We can’t promise what the economic impact of this will be, but whatever impact it has, it is likely it will not be beneficial in the short term (1 to 5 years) but could be beneficial in the medium to long term (5 to 15 years) depending upon our ability to negotiate favourable trading terms with the rest of the world.”
What will it be like?
Utopia or hell?
That’s seems to be the consensus put forward by the people representing both sides of the argument. I think we can safely assume it will be somewhere between the two.
The real impact of the UK leaving the European Union will impact across all aspects of day to day life on UK and European citizens in many ways.
“The UK will be able to negotiate it’s own trade agreements, yes …….. but…….. The UK will have a reduced influence on issues relating to global trade and regulation and will be in a weaker negotiating position for future trade deals.”
Now statistics can be produced for support any argument in life, but in simple terms, The EU based on GDP across all measures is the second largest global economy, behind the US and ahead of China. Whether you like to admit this or not the Global Economy has the biggest single effect on the daily lives of the people within any country. It dictates lifestyle, benefits, immigration, Government policy etc.
Now, when a business negotiates a deal with a supplier, that negotiation is based largely around volume, the more they promise to purchase, the greater the ability to secure the best terms. The EU including the UK has been able to negotiate some excellent trade deals (you have only got to look at the animosity of the current US President towards Europe to see this). Undoubtedly the UK, with the current 5th largest economy (Nominal) or 10th (Peak) will be able to negotiate significant trade deals, but I cannot for the life of me see how these will be more beneficial to the UK and it’s citizens.
Yes of course, the UK will be able to negotiate deals with perhaps a wider global perspective, but do we really think that the EU is not already doing this!
For example based on just one industry, since the banking crisis, the general sentiment globally and probably even more so in the UK is significantly negative towards the finance industry. There are undoubtedly good reasons behind this, but, the UK finance industry contributed £119 billion of the UK economy in 2017. It employs 1.1 million people and exports £61 billion with a trade surplus of £51 billion and contributed £27.3 billion in tax.
A recent report in the Financial Times stated that the UK could afford to lose a quarter of its size due to brexit and still be twice the size of any financial centre in Europe. This in itself puts us in a strong negotiating position with the EU. I see this, but I also see the other side. Europe doesn’t have this, but they would like it.
If this were the case, only hypothetical I know but then most of the Brexit ‘facts’ produced are, this would result in losses of £6.8 billion in tax revenue. That’s enough to fund 75 new hospitals per year (I understand each party has a different view on the cost of a hospital this is an average of the arguments put by each side).
This is a good time to state that I voted remain. I have had periods of anger towards Europe during this whole process and on many occasions have found myself saying out loud, leave! I am genuinely sick to death of the European negotiators stance towards the UK, I am tired of the Spanish and Irish Governments trying to take benefit from the situation and I believe they have raised unnecessary animosity during the process and they have made a bad situation worse by their efforts … but …. UKIP and others representations in Europe on our behalf haven’t helped!
In my opinion, life in the UK for the next few years will be difficult as it is likely that we will be exiting without an agreement. That being said, having an agreement in place would only extend the period of uncertainty. It has become clear that Europe has no intention of helping us in any way. They didn’t want us to leave, never thought we would and want to send a very clear message to other states that leaving will not be an easy option.
Whichever way you look at it, the economy will struggle, whether in marginal growth or decline it will not be a good period and even more tough decisions about Government expenditure will need to be taken.
Most likely a general election will result and as it stands, with no credible government or opposition in place (I’m sorry but it’s true), what will the short term bring? Uncertainty definitely and a prolonged period of weak political leadership from all sides.
What should the UK do now?
Rethink and hold a second referendum?
Those politicians in favour of Brexit continue to spouse the ‘It’s the will of the people’ they have voted and we must honour that vote. Honourable sentiments, its such a shame for decades they have not honoured these sentiments in election manifesto promises. The reality is that with all the facts now at hand, the electorate might have changed it’s collective mind. With the obvious element of doubt around opinion polls, based on recent performances, most polls show a majority in favour of remaining, but then they did before so who knows.
But in real terms what is wrong with the thought of asking the electorate again to give their opinion on the exit based now on facts not fiction.
“ Should the UK leave the EU with no agreement, Should the UK leave the EU with the agreement as proposed, Should the UK remain in the EU?”
With a voting system using rankings of 1 to 3 on these options a majority will be delivered that will reflect the will of the people based on knowledge of the facts not promises of spending more on the NHS.
As I said in my opening, this was never a decision that should have been made by a poorly run referendum. But the ‘can of worms’ was opened it now needs a decision on the final outcomes to have the same process.
Assuming that this is not likely to happen, which I would say is the reality. What now?
Parliament will decide!
Leave with agreement or no deal exit?
No deal will cause short-term chaos and will severely impact on the daily lives of people in the UK, I think of this there is no doubt. Plans will be put in place by corporate companies and Government. In the commercial sector most of these are already in place, but let us not think for a minute that they will be easy, or improve the situation in the UK. They will help but they won’t paper over all the cracks.
WTO Rules will help, but they are not the whole answer they will only stop the worst possible outcomes.
Ultimately we have to trade with Europe, It’s 42% of our exports and as stated it is the second largest trading block in the world. Why in the world would we want not want to trade with them.
But good trade agreements are based on mutual benefit and mutual trust. This is going to be a difficult relationship for a long time. Lets be honest, the respective leaders want what is best for their countries. They might want to be our friend, but not if there is a cost to their own people. Nobody on the leave side of the argument would want or expect the UK leaders to do anything to benefit Europe if it cost us, why in the world would we expect any different.
One thing I love, is this constant talk by UK politicians that we want the ‘Canada Plus” or “Favoured Status’ deal. You can want what you like, but ultimately it is up to the European leaders whether you get it.
The people of the UK decided to leave one of the most beneficial trade agreements on the planet. We made that decision based on reasons that had nothing to do with trade. In order to solve social problems we had within our society we walked away from what we had. Now we have to resolve those issues on our own and at the same time negotiate whatever trade deals we can.
I do not doubt for one minute, the UK’s ability to be able to get through this and ultimately make the best from the world it now finds itself in. Will the UK have the same diplomatic and commercial presence on a global scale, no. Will the UK still be a top 10 economy in ten years time, probably not. Is that the end of the world, no. The UK can be a very successful smaller economy, but life will change for the people. If the people think that increasing expenditure of things like healthcare, retirement and social benefits programmes can be achieved from a slower economy and with a reducing and ageing population, then I’m sorry that has never been achieved successfully anywhere else in the world, the UK would have to do something very special to achieve this.