On 23rd June 2016 Great Britain made the historic decision to break a 43-year relationship with Europe. A relationship that has never been without its issues, Britain is an island nation and never truly felt part of the continent.
Both camps, Brexit and Bremain campaigned on "fear and loathing", half-truths (I may be being a little generous here) and statistics (see Disraeli's quote).
But one truth remains, a democratic referendum took place and the outcome, while close, was clear 52% of those who cared enough to be heard said that enough was enough.
Now panic has set in.
- Crazy talk of London becoming a separate state.
- David Cameron has stepped down
- Talk of Britain being a fascist nation
All of this is a distraction from two key points.
- Britons have democratically decided
- The decision needs to be made to work
And here is the main point that needs to be understood.
Any U-Turn now wold be a white flag to the EU (read Germany). Any buckling now would be a sign of weakness that would forevermore be regretted by a Britain that would be forced to slowly but surely assimilate with the technocrats of Brussels under the watchful eye of Merkel, Shauble über alles. Did the British petition for surrender during the blitz?
The fear-mongering continues but we need to put some of these fears into context.
Britons will still be able to work in Europe.Those who have the skill sets that are required around the world will still be welcome to share those skills for the benefit of the host countries. This happens around the world irrelevant of EU or non-EU.
Europeans will still be able to work in UK.For the same reasons as stated above with the only difference that there will be more of a supply and demand basis. In other words, the skills required will be allowed and those that are adequately covered by the local workforce will not.
Britons will still be able to travel freely through Europe.For those of you who can remember travelling through Europe before before Schengen, which of course UK never joined, will recall that there was limit trouble crossing borders, no special visas. In fact, there are many countries around the world that accept Britons without any pre-arranged visa.
British companies will still be able to trade with Europe.Does the US not trade with Europe, Does China not trade with Europe? Agreements will need to be renegotiated but if British companies work on quality and competitiveness, British products and services will still be in demand. The world's students will still come to study. Airbus wings and engines will still be made in Britain.
The markets.London is and will remain a world financial centre. The London stock exchange and Deutsche Börse entered a merger to protect themselves from just this eventuality. Fear-mongers are talking of it moving its operation centre to Frankfurt but the trading floors will remain. The markets are profit and confidence driven. If British industry continues to innovate, invest and give returns on those investments, the markets will be happy to trade. A slightly weaker Pound will improve exports while stimulating consumption of domestic products over imports. What we have seen over the last few days of turmoil has been a risk averse market in both Pounds and Euros keeping them fairly level pegging. If a Trump presidency does the same for the Dollar then the three major index currencies will balance at traditional levels (just saying).
There is no precedent for Brexit, this has never happened before. A major economy leaving a trading bloc on this scale. Any predictions are based on theory and what any economist or trader will tell you is that the world economy is not an exact science, it is based on human behaviour.
And it is with this that I will close. Britain needs to get working on making this work! Nobody really expected this but plans are in place, strategies have been drafted.
I lived and am still living through Greece's show of strength and subsequent capitulation after last year's Athens spring. The EU does not play cricket.
Stop whining and vilifying the democratic process. There will be difficulties and challenges but this would not be the first time and we are still here after those battles. We will prevail only AND ONLY if we are decisive and not divisive. We need leadership and to rediscover what we capable of in SPITE of challenge.
The Sword is ne'er keener than in battle's midst!
Keep it here for my ideas on how the EU's recent behaviour has qualified our decision.