It’s all over the news, so telling what’s happened is largely useless, if you are reading this blog it’s likely that you are into finance and UK getting out of Europe it’s something that shouldn’t have skipped your attention.
So UK voted out.
I have a lot of feelings for this milestone in our modern history, mostly because I am deeply linked to the “Evil Albion” since I was 18. That’s a long way away now, but England shaped and changed my life in a massive way and I cannot pretend that it doesn’t affect me since I do not live there anymore.
But let’s start with the financial bits and pieces. I believe that UK leaving the EU is really a massive step back for everyone. The fact that the EU even granted a series of special clauses to get the UK to remain in Europe apparently wasn’t even debated, all the political campaign pivoted on the “doom predictions” on one side and the “bloody foreigners give our job/money back” mantra.
Surely there were a lot of people who actually got some information and voted with an higher degree of knowledge, but from what I read around in blogs and newspapers it seems that there are a lot of people who vote leave just because “I never thought that Leave would win“. REALLY? Ok I’d better not comment that…
Financially UK has to renegotiate all treaties with Europe, taxes, free trade zone, work related agreements, laws. It’s not an easy or quick process and of course it will have its hidden and evident costs. As we didn’t have to worry about these points and now we do, so economically speaking it’s a step back.
GBP is likely to drop in value. Partly it has already, but in my opinion the run is not over yet. Add the likely loss of triple A credit rating (which they fought really hard to retain in recent years) and you’ve got yourself a good recipe for inflation and increased import prices. Weak pound might result in better exports, but the reality of it is that England is not an industrial country anymore, I believe that this point will be marginal.
The “financial safe heaven” of the City might loose some contributors and many multinational companies might need to relocate in European states (Ireland does a very good job at attracting these corps), but I feel that this argument is a bit weak. What is not weak is the fact that many companies will use this Brexit story to cut jobs, on this I am pretty sure.
Europe looses a very important partner, economically doesn’t loose much as the UK was draining a lot of finance thanks to the benefits that Mrs. Tatcher negotiated when the EU was starting. The Euro is going to get weaker and lots of extremists anti-EU parties are going to want to replicate the referendum in other countries. If the EU collapses it will be a very bad thing, if it manages to evolve into the USE (United States of Europe) then it’s a great step forward.
Still I believe that economically speaking is a loose-loose situation.
Then there is a social aspect which is more important in my opinion.
The vote stops freedom of traveling, free exchange, freedom of waking up and deciding to go to work in London or vice-versa. UK might soon be called “K”, as Scotland and Northern Ireland are likely to hold their own referendums to join Europe.
It’s a highly divisive vote, it seems to me that old generations voted for some sense of “British empire” that they still perceive but that, forgive me to say, seems a bit anachronistic in 2016. Young generations lost a lot of rights that they previously had in exchange of…
Yeah let’s see the “exchange”: for what I managed to understand 2 of the major payload of the Exit campaign were “use the 350 million pounds that we give every day to the EU for NHS (national health service)” and “stop immigration”. Within hours of the vote both these points were “retreated” by Farage and Johnson, the two leaders of the Exit campaign. One could argue that these are populistic slogans to attract votes, but judging from the reaction of the journalists they were not just propaganda shots… (see here) On immigration apparently there has been a step back from a “kick them out” position to a “control them” one (which is what EU and UK were doing now anyhow).
Leaders like Farage represent extremist right wing ideas, easy to come up to the surface when there is a crisis in place as people have less and are more prone to these topics. But voting Leave is also giving these parties more power, and clearly has a ripple effect in other countries too. Socially this vote gives strength to these politicians and to me this is not goods news (remember a guy in Germany around 1930’s or another guy in Italy in the 20’s?).
How comes that people don’t see that united we stand stronger?
I am very disappointed at what happened, I didn’t think that the British people that I know would be capable of shooting in their foot like that, I have always had the impression that despite economic difficulties the backbone of England was still calm and responsible enough to look a bit further than the island’s pride (which in case of the link here on the left I find quite nice).
I was wrong.
Today I was thinking again at the whole Brexit story, I find extremely ironic (and sad) that if I had to do what I did 23 (yes twenty three) years ago, i.e. leave Italy and move to England to go to Uni like any other UK citizen, well… well… I couldn’t do it anymore!!!
At that time, the EU citizen status allowed me no visas, no permits, no Uni taxes (YES you read correctly, that changed later but at that time it was like this), ease of moving funds and travel. I thank England and my foolishness as an 18 year old for what they gave me, it was a key factor in becoming what I am today, and to me England will always be a second home. But the fact that tomorrow my kids will not have the same ease of moving there should they want to it’s a major loss, as a world citizen.
You know the worst part of it all? It’s me not being able to say to the UK “well, I hope all the best for you” and mean it. If it goes well for “them” it might mean that it goes bad for “us”… Them and us…
Can you see how shit this is?