As a former history student, I can appreciate the momentous event that happened on June 23rd. The people have voted. Britain will leave the European Union (EU). It doesn’t matter if many weren’t clear on what they voted for or whether their motives were noble, either way it’s a done deal. The British people have been dancing around this topic for decades now. Finally the results are in and Britain is on its way out. Whether there was one overriding reason or a confluence of reasons the fact is that the die has been cast and we can expect significant consequences from Brexit for both inside and outside of Britain.
Naturally trade, investment and immigration are the main issues of concerned. All of these factors have a direct impact on Britain’s economic growth. It has a direct impact on peoples’ lives in terms of jobs, interest rates, mortgage payment and the like. From a brief survey of the economic impact of Brexit, it seems that while there will be a shuffling of costs, but Britain will be no better or worse off at the end of the day assuming things go as plan. Britain’s ability to survive Brexit hinges on their being able to maintain a cordial relationship with the remaining EU members.
Now this is where it gets tricky. France is already taking a hard stance against Britain and I imagine others would follow. Sometimes we forget the there are people holding all these positions and there are a lot of egos involved. There are 28 countries in the EU and they have differences in culture and ideologies. There is no guarantee that it would be an amicable divorce. These countries can make life difficult for Britain because Britain relies heavily on trade. So, while the economic fallout is a given, the severity will depend on the political power struggle that is sure to ensue. Many are bracing themselves for a bitter divorce and this is reflected by the panic in the markets.
It is never easy to make a stand against an established authority. There will always be causalities. Change usually comes at a cost. It seems that this is one cost that many are willing to pay because they believe it will improve their lives and that of the future generation. Britain has accused the EU of being anti-democratic. Laws and policies are made behind closed doors. Special interest no doubt has an impact on these policies and laws. It doesn’t augur well when these European Union officials (eurocrates) have lavish lifestyles and pay themselves more than the British prime minister. The claim is that there is no transparency and accountability and many of the EU policies have adverse effects on local industries, case point is the fishing industry. There are pros and cons for Brexit, but the rally cry is that Britain is fighting for its sovereignty. It desires to get out of the EU’s choke hold. It’s ironic that for once Britain is getting a taste of its own medicine. The colonizer is fighting for its own sovereignty! You have to admit there is something poetically beautiful about that, poetic justice indeed.
Many have argued that the true motivation for this clamor for sovereignty has more to do with immigration and less to do with all the EU contributions and policies that they have to endure. For years, many have been complaining about the EU inefficiencies, corruption and unfair policies. The popularity of the EU has declined over the years. This untethering by the Britain can only result is constructive change to the EU itself (it is hoped). More than that, if in fact the primary reason for Brexit is to keep foreigners out, then those who voted for Breixt for this reason will be in for a bit of a shock. The reason is that if Britain wants to keep good trading relations it will have to open its doors to foreigners. It is logistically impossible to completely close its borders.
The world is such a smaller today because of technology. No country can survive on its own. There is no escaping this and those who cling on to outdated notions of how things should be, have to be ready to suffer the consequences of their actions. I always welcome anything or anyone who challenges the status quo. Fairness and justice is a noble goal and sometimes the path to it may be long and arduous. Regardless of the motive for Brexit, I think this change is more than overdue. I believe that it will result changes that will be beneficial for everyone in the long run. For Britain it will bring to the fore the issues which have been festering for a long time. The time has reached for the country to deal with them. For the EU this will undoubtedly bring change, to what extent I don’t know. Obviously things can’t remain the same, so whether others leave or not, the EU will have to make changes of its own if it wants to survive. Many are against Brexit, but I think it’s fantastic. It’s a bold move that will be messy and costly, but it is an important catalyst for change. Changes which I believe we can’t even foresee at the moment. If anything Brexit should be a reminder to us that the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain!