Let’s start with something positive.
Well done you if you voted in the EU referendum. You took part in a major democratic endeavour that will affect the UK for decades to come. You bothered to turn up and vote and for that I applaud you.
Well done also, if you put some thought into your voting direction.
As I said in my article, “EU or Eeeeuuuugh”, if you did your research and made a decision based upon a balanced view point, bravo! Your opinion is valid.
You probably realised that Brexit was a complex set of economic and socio-political issues that really needed your close attention. Your comprehension and industry makes you a star. (Take a bow).
If however, you didn’t bother with research, failed to listen to balanced debate and got whipped up by hysteria, you probably didn’t ask yourself if what was said was fair or reasonable. You probably didn’t listen to business leaders and people who knew how the global economy works. You probably followed the advice of polarised influencers like Nigel Farage or the Daily Mail, uninterested in balance, or the truth.
Brexit is about money – a lot of money. It’s about paying money to stay in. It’s about paying money to leave and it’s about earning money from trade. Anyone who thinks that money is a side issue, has missed the point. The sums are gargantuan and people who know how money sloshes round the globe should be central to getting us out of an impending fiscal black hole.
I’ve may have lost most of the Brexiteers at this point, assuming that I had any to start with. But our friends in the ‘Let’s flee Europe and Sod the Consequences’ camp need to understand what has already happened because of the 2016 Referendum.
AND THE UHUUUGLY
THIS IS WHAT BREXIT HAS DONE SO FAR
Brexiteers, if you’re still here, take note.
According to the Financial Times (FT), Brexit has caused a 2% reduction in our economy. That equates to a £40 billion fall annually. That’s £40,000,000,000 less every year to pay for teachers, nurses, doctors, roads, medicines etc.
Chris Giles, Economics Editor at the FT, looked at the current cost of Brexit. He found that every economist claimed that Brexit cost us a lot money. How much, depended on which economist you spoke to. Some say Brexit has led to a 1.2% fall in economic activity, others suggest 2%.
Giles also notes a loss of £24 bn (£24,000,000,000) in the first quarter of 2018. That’s £450,000,000 a week or £870 per household!
In October 2018, Therese Raphael from Bloomberg reported a 6% damage to the UK economy. Meanwhile, the international news organisation Reuters, presented a Brexit cost of £500,000,000 a week. Imagine all that money going into the NHS.
As well as a falling income from a depressed economy, Brexit has sizeable administration costs.
According to the Institute for Government, in the 2017 Autumn Budget, £250,000,000 was shared between Government departments to pay for staffing needed to necessitate Brexit. Alarmingly, this rises to £3bn (£3,000,000,000) for the 2018 and 2019.
In reality, Brexit isn’t about saving us money and helping the NHS. It is hugely expensive and reduces our ability to improve our financial position.
BREXIT – THE WORD
You’re all probably sick of hearing the word, I certainly am.
It divides a room and makes the temperature rise a few degrees. You could argue that BREXIT is now an omnipresent swear word, forever in the ether and always an awkward topic in polite company. Yet, I’d argue that the word itself isn’t offensive enough.
Brexit – short for Britain exiting Europe is a cutesy term for a politically contentious action. But who do we blame?
Maybe we should point the finger at Peter Wilding. As a foundering member of a British think tank, Wilding, coined the phrase back in 2012.
(Ah 2012. An innocent time, when we didn’t have to deal with ‘President’ Trump, a deeply divided Britain and news stories that didn’t move at the speed of light).
Wilding should’ve dropped the feeble BREXIT and employed a phrase with more drama.
He could have called it, ‘Financial Mass Murder’, or, ‘Future Killing’, or maybe, ‘Fiscal Genocide’. Perhaps then, the populace would’ve understood and things would’ve been different.
Britain exiting Europe isn’t cute, snappy, light or inconsequential. The term used to describe it, therefore, needs to have some heft. Brexit as a concept, is divisive, destructive and anarchic. Wielded by politicians and influencers who care only for themselves, Brexit should be seen for what it is, a weapon – a hideously powerful weapon of monetary mass destruction.
Brexit ruins lives, hurts economies, lessens national and international security, decreases the likelihood of peace in the future, obliterates jobs, frightens business, causes social unrest and encourages attacks on minorities. It also destroys our standing in the world and makes us look stupid in the eyes of our global colleagues.
Not so cutesy now, is it?
We, the Great British populace, voted, by a narrow majority, to leave the European Union (EU), the largest trading bloc in the world. You can argue, like a Brexiteer and say we had a democratic vote and now we must uphold that vote.
Or, you can take the Remainer point of view. The British people were lied to and took a damaging decision based on false information. Whichever point you agree with, you need to consider the facts.
We chose to step away from the favourable trading terms we already had in the EU. We chose to lessen our global influence. We chose to damage our own economy. We chose to clog up statutory free time our Government / Parliament had to re-work policies that cover our legal, political and economic standing in the world. And we did so even though, what we had before was considerably more favourable.
I will say that again. What we had before was considerably more favourable.
We’ve done ourselves a lot of damage. What were we thinking? Had we all lost our minds?
Should we, as a country be worried about our collective mental ill health? Absolutely. We deliberately did ourselves over. But why?
It’s something I’ve asked myself repeatedly.
HERE’S WHY I THINK WE LEFT THE EU. (These thoughts are numbered, but not necessarily arranged in importance).
- The European Union had become too big and inflexible.
- Brown people broke down security barriers on the news and in posters. White people got scared.
- Nigel Farage et al engineered much of the panic, then capitalised on it by leading an orgy of hatred, mistrust and misdirection. They claimed to want a fair and frank debate. But what they gave us was grade ‘A’ fear mongering and a slick campaign, powered by dishonesty, intolerance and self-interest.
- The British public were told a string of monumental lies, including the famous, “If we leave the EU, we will have an extra £350 Million a week to spend on the NHS.” The claim of course, was bogus and the Leave Campaign knew it. Their propaganda (for that’s what it was), was alarming, emotive and wildly inaccurate. They knew it and they didn’t care.
One infamous poster showing legions of non-white people in a long line, was used to highlight the dangers of free movement within the EU. What wasn’t made clear was that the people in that picture were not EU nationals. Therefore, voting on staying or leaving the EU would have no impact upon on their arrival.
5. People unhappy with their financial lot, but without the power to do much about it needed someone or something to lash out at.
6. Years of austerity drastically reduced the quality of our social services. Limited funding for health care, educational budgets and local council funding, savagely cut resources, overstretching them to dangerous levels. As our hospitals, roads and schools fell apart you could understand why people resented sending money abroad.
7. David Cameron Prime Minister during the referendum did not consider that we as a nation might choose to leave the EU, or worse, did not care about what might happen if we left. His arrogance was astounding.
8. The Remain Campaign (headed by David Cameron) lacked focus, was ineffective, disorganised, poorly marketed and failed adequately to highlight the benefits of EU membership. Collectively, the campaign lacked real passion.
The Leave Campaign, however, not hampered by the truth or credibility, employed catchy soundbites, wildly inaccurate slogans and rabble rousing. They were fighting for their lives. They were challenging the status quo and knew they’d have to work hard.
They understood that they’d never win with facts and logic. So instead, they went for emotion, stirring up unrest and spreading misinformation. They destroyed anything that did not agree with their viewpoint by calling it, ’Project Fear’ – much like how Donald Trump calls everything, ‘Fake News’, if it doesn’t agree with his outlook. The Leave Campaign encouraged us not to think too much or question facts.
Remember MP, Michael Gove’s shocking line, “The British people are tired of ‘so-called’ experts.” Really? That still sends shivers down my spine.
9. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Opposition didn’t have the gumption (spine/ balls/ motivation) to put forward a pro-European message. I’d wager that if he had directed his party to be Remainers, we would’ve stayed in Europe. Instead, he watched us all flounder. It wasn’t his fight – or so he thought. Socialist friends, familiar with his personal politics tell me that being in Europe doesn’t fit with his world view. As a Backbench MP, he consistently voted against European legislation. Now, as Leader of the Opposition, he grudgingly puts forward a pro Europe front, if only to needle the Conservative government. Labour supporters could be forgiven for feeling confused. The party was accused as having an ‘opaque attitude’ towards Europe whilst the FT claims grass roots support for staying in the EU is now growing.
10. Brits have a history of resilience and an independence of spirit, sharpened by two very bloody World Wars. We have what is known as, ‘The Dunkirk Spirit’. We are tough, stubborn and all too ready to fight invaders – be they real or imaginary. Much was made of this, and I believe many of us were manipulated into thinking we couldn’t be patriotic and pro Europe.
11. We (especially the over 50’s), had a hankering for a white-washed fantasy of imperialism. The majority of older Brits dissatisfied with their lives and but aware of the whispers of a ‘glorious’ British Empire looked to the past for inspiration. The empire was a source of pride and immense wealth for the United Kingdom. Free from the shackles of Europe, we would be free to empire build again. Industrious. Victorious. Britannia to rule the waves.
Empire was brought about by force. It was violent, controlling and for the ruled, it was destructive. It allowed the British to plunder the natural and financial resources of other countries whilst ruling with ill will and scant understanding.
I am of Indian heritage and the history of what the Brits did in India is, on balance, not a pleasant one. Now, the empire is long gone, and replaced by the Commonwealth. Countries like Canada, Australia and India are happy to trade with us but our relationship with them will never furnish our coffers in quite the same way.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
I don’t know. Emotions are running high and the differing agendas of numerous players seem to be drag us every which way but sane. The Democratic Unionist Party [DUP] from Northern Ireland, the Scottish National Party, the European Research Group and their Brexiteering friends, different branches of the Conservative and Labour party, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Confederation of Business (the CBI), multi-national businesses and the EU itself have all voiced their opinions. Whose influence is the most powerful/workable, has yet to be seen.
Some people want us to leave the EU without doing the groundwork to put trade deals in place. Some people want trading conditions that closely track the deals we previously had in Europe. Some want us to have similar trading solutions brokered by Canada or Norway and some people just want us to exit Brexit – stay in Europe. And, let’s not forget, some people really don’t care what happens. They’ve just had enough.
Whichever solution(s) finally get accepted, expect many of us to feel totally compromised.
This article was written by Babu Basu, Copywriter at CREATIVE GLUTTONY, in Nottingham. Has he got it right? Please, let him know.