BREXIT – BRITAIN IN A TAILSPIN

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Enjoy your read!! INTRODUCTION


On the eve of the D- Day landings in Normandy, way back in 1944,the British PM Sir Winston Churchill famously remarked to berate the French President Charles de Gaulle- ” Every time we have to decide between Europe and open sea, it is always the open sea, we shall choose.”The anecdote was seized upon by Brexit campaigners during the last month as a proof that the British psyche has always been Eurosceptic. The cult of Churchill did give a boost to the ‘Leave’ group. Of the 33.5 million votes cast at the referendum- a turnout of 72%, compared with 66% at the 2015 General Elections – 17.4 million voted for ‘Leave’, and 16.1 million for ‘Remain’. Last minute opinion polls had suggested a 52-48 split in favour of staying in European Union. In the event, however, the equation was reversed. The final result was ‘Leave’- 51.9% and ‘Remain’- 48.1%. Prime Minister David Cameron had finished digging his own grave.

Hours before the referendum a bold banner screamed-” Let’s put the ‘Great‘ back into Britain. Vote out and be great again.”Like the proverb- ‘Truth is the first casualty of a war’- the reason Great precedes Britain, is simply a throwback to the days when “Britannia Major” needed to be distinguished from “Britannia Minor” (Brittany in France).The results threw Britain in a tailspin- London, the capital of Britain, stood separate- 60 % voting to remain with EU. Scotland and Northern Ireland both chose to stay in EU, so did small pockets of liberalism, cities like Oxford, Cambridge and Norwich. The most notable fact is – While 75 % of voters aged 18-24 wanted to remain, 61 % of those above age 65 did not. The irony is- future of youth of Britain was ultimately decided by elders, who are nearer to their graves whereas the youth were deprived of deciding for their long future.


IMMEDIATE CONCERNS OF UK



Boris Johnson the leader of the‘Vote Leave ‘ group and now the expected successor of Cameron, has already mellowed down his victory speech-” We cannot turn our backs on Europe; we are part of Europe; our children and grandchildren will continue to have a wonderful future as Europeans.”Now that the rhetoric needed to be cemented by reality, the ‘Vote Leave’ group seemed to backtrack from three of their major campaign promises:-


1. During campaign they promised an extra £ 350 million for the NHS clampdown on immigration and a quick withdrawal from the EU. However, after the results, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said it was a mistake to claim that they would be able to stop the UK’s £350 million weekly contribution to the EU and invest it in the fund- starved NHS.

2. He further announced that if people think that there is now going to be zero immigration from the EU to Britain, another campaign high-light, they are going to be disappointed.

3. During the campaign the ‘Vote Leave’ group leaders promised they would immediately invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would trigger a speedy break-up from the EU. However they stopped on their tracks now, calling for a “period of calm”. Dr Liam Fox, a prominent leader said-” it does not make any sense to trigger Article 50 without proper planning and road map ahead”. Social media is buzzing with angry responses from British. These statements were mocked as the speediest’ U-turns’ in British political history.


RESPONSE FROM EU



A rude shock greeted the British, which came from across the English Channel. European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on the UK to start Brexit with immediate effect. They said-” Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty”. The Mirrorcame with a headline-” EU Bosses order Britain to pack their bag and get out now”. The EU leaders would like it- to be a quick and amicable divorce. But ironically the British rather irritatingly , seem to be in no hurry to quit. The British have already set a timetable of two years to carry out new trade negotiations.

The tremors of Friday event have angered Scotland where majority voted to remain in the EU. There could be a move by Scotland to remain in EU alone. In that case Scotland may have to adopt Euro, encouraging the country to seek a referendum on independence from the UK- an unseen crisis lurking in the dark, for Britain. To make matters worse a petition called “Londependence” has asked Londoners to join the EU on its own.” London is an international city , and we want to remain at the heart of Europe”- states the petitioners which is fast gaining momentum and public support.

FINANCIAL ASPECTS (a little unpredictable)



Brexit can make poorer conditions for Britain. It’s hard to put a number on the trade effects of leaving the EU, but it will be substantial. True, normal WTO tariffs (the tariffs members of the World Trade Organization, like Britain, the US, and the EU levy on each others’ exports) are low and other traditional restraints on trade relatively mild. But everything we’ve seen in both Europe and North America suggests that the assurance of market access has a big effect in encouraging long-term investments aimed at selling across borders; revoking that assurance will, over time, erode trade even if there isn’t any kind of trade war. And Britain will become less productive as a result.


CONCLUSION


The world’s oldest democracy has stunned the world, even itself, by choosing to leave EU. After the Hitler’s invasion, I feel this is the most crucial crisis faced by Britain. Many horrors are waiting to dawn upon the beleaguered nation. Economic recession, Revival of Scottish Independence struggle, a movement to reunite the two Irelands – are a few. It’s time for caution and meticulous planning to draw a realistic and futuristic road map, for the Britain.

JAI HIND