Brexit could be reversed

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Brexit could be reversed

On 23 June, UK voters decided to leave the European Union (EU) in the much touted Brexit referendum. The fall-out was immediate and severe, both politically and economically. Buyers’ remorse prevails with UK voters having the worst electoral hangover in recent history. Unlike most elections, there are very few people who are celebrating and an increasing number who are ruing their decision. The question now is, whether there is any way to reverse this increasingly unpopular decision? I believe so. The actual exit from the EU will only commence once the UK invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty of 2009. If there is sufficient public pressure, enough political will and a clear mandate for the UK to stay in the EU, this may never happen. It may be embarrassing for the UK and its leaders, but it may well be the best thing for its citizens (especially the young), the EU and the wider World.

Following the Brexit vote, the British Pound declined by over 10% to the dollar and hit a 30-year low over the past week. By last Tuesday, global equity markets had lost more than $3 trillion following the vote (although there has been some recovery since). On the morning of the vote result, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced his resignation and the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has been under immense pressure from within his own ranks. He will likely not survive.

It is no wonder that the fall-out was so extreme. Britain’s proposed departure from the EU has created huge uncertainty and is expected to be very negative for the economy. In addition, there are concerns over what this means for the stability of the EU (already parties in other countries have called for similar votes), what this means for the stability of the UK (Scotland is asking for another referendum on independence and in Northern Ireland there are talks of uniting with Ireland) and what this means for relations with foreigners in the UK (with a number of reported racist incidents following the vote).

Support for the Leave camp of Brexit emanated across different UK political parties and regions. The main party that wholeheartedly supported it was UKIP under Nigel Farage. The Conservative Party was split with the Prime Minister, David Cameron supporting the Remain side whilst Boris Johnson (previous mayor of London) supported the Leave campaign. The Labour Party purportedly supported the Remain side, but many believe that its leader, Jeremy Corbyn was ambivalent and did not provide strong enough support for this side. As a result, many labour MPs and supporters voted Leave. Three areas that overwhelmingly supported Remain were Northern Ireland, Scotland and the City of London. Another grouping that supported Remain were the young people in the country with polls showing that only 19% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 supported a Brexit.

A strong theme that has emerged post the results is that the Leave vote for many people (and even supporters) was a protest vote and not necessarily the outcome that they desired. An online petition to rerun the Brexit referendum has already attracted more than 4 million signatures. The question now is whether there is any way for these protest voters who now regret their decision to be given another opportunity to vote? I believe that this is possible.

As it stands, no political leader is willing to contemplate another referendum. David Cameron has said that another vote is “not remotely on the cards” and Boris Johnson has said that there will be no general election if he wins the Conservative Party Leadership. However, at the same time, Cameron is not willing to invoke Article 50 yet, which is a prerequisite for negotiations towards an exit to commence.

Many UK leaders may be hoping for informal negotiations with the EU to commence to provide more clarity prior to invoking Article 50. The EU, however, are adamant that no discussions will occur until Article 50 is invoked. They are playing hardball and are unwilling to make this process any easier for the UK. They want immediate action so that they can move forward without uncertainty overhanging the future of the EU. This line from EU leaders could put additional pressure on UK politicians during a period of uncertainty.

Within the next three months, we will see a new leader of the Conservative Party and likely a new leader of the official opposition, the Labour Party. It is highly likely that these developments will put increasing pressure on leaders to hold a general election so that a fresh mandate can be obtained from the electorate. Even if Boris Johnson wins the Conservative Party race, he may not be able to stop the increasing pressure for a general election. If Theresa May (the other main candidate) wins, a general election would be very likely, in my opinion. She was a strong supporter of the Remain campaign.

If a general election is called, there is little doubt that the campaigns would focus aggressively on the UK in the EU question. The elections may turn into another Brexit referendum by proxy. If I am correct and the recent uncertainty and remorse from Leave voters shifts support convincingly to the Remain camp, the winners of the general election may well have a fresh mandate to not invoke Article 50.

This would inevitably lead to another Brexit referendum, which the Remain side would likely win. Article 50 would then never be invoked and the UK would remain in the EU. Although this would be embarrassing for UK leaders, it would be good for their citizens, the EU and the wider World. It may also lead to further negotiations that could improve the way that the EU functions and how the UK operates within it. The post-Brexit hangover can then finally subside.

I was a strong supporter of the Remain side. I believe that the EU is a very important institution to help drive a peaceful future in Europe and the World; that a weakening of the EU would be negative for race relations and the immigrant question; that the EU is positive for the global economy and markets; and that the EU is an important force for good when it comes to the sharing of progressive ideas. I recognise that there are shortcomings, but I believe it is better to address them as a unit than for countries to go their separate ways. As a result, I would be overjoyed if the UK reverses its Brexit decision. Fingers crossed.

 

Were you shocked by the Brexit decision? Were you surprised by the pressure it put on currencies and the markets? Do you think it is a good idea and why? Do you think there is a chance that it could be reversed? Would that make you happy or angry? I would love to see your opinion.

In the mean time, keep your talking straight!

 

#Brexit #UK #EU

 

Marius Strydom is the CEO of MLAX Consulting

https://www.facebook.com/straighttalkingstrydom

https://twitter.com/Marius_Man


  • Andre du Preez

    As a South Africa living in London I voted to remain. However, I
    opened my mind to the ‘vote leave’ side and totally ‘get’ their
    arguments.

    So what was the issue with this referendum? It’s simple, both sides (of the arguments) are right.

    In theory, the idea of the EU is great. The EU was created to ensure that
    European countries are no longer at war with one another and to create
    economic stability on the continent.

    One currency, no internal borders which means that goods, services,
    capital and people can move cross-borders without additional fees or
    taxes. One happy EU family.

    But in practice we ended up with countries like Greece, Spain, Italy,
    Ireland and Portugal that has a spending deficit. Their government
    spends more than they collect in taxes and countries like Germany, the
    UK and France needs to ‘bail’ them out. I like to think of this like
    having 10 people in a household that shares the same credit card. While
    some of the people in the household are responsible spenders, 2 or 3 of
    them just keep spending more money than they earn. But because the
    credit card belongs to the household, the richer, more responsible
    spenders need to increase their contributions to cover the
    bill of the credit card, even though they didn’t spend us much. The
    reason this scenario is playing out is also quite simple, the EU decided

    to have a common monetary policy but allowed each country to have its
    own fiscal policy. This means each country makes their own rules on how
    much tax they collect and how much their government spends (fiscal
    policy), but due to the EU’s one monetary policy, the amount of money in
    circulation is controlled by the European Central Bank and this forces
    the responsible spenders to cover the reckless spenders’ bills.

    Then there’s the crisis of EU immigration. When they talk about the EU
    immigration problem they don’t mean the amount of EU people working in
    the UK (let’s face it, London is what it is because of all the foreign
    workers) but instead refer to the net immigration of almost 600 000 people per year.
    All of these people arrive in the UK and most of them work hard, pay
    taxes and contribute to the economy, while others end up on the street
    because they can’t speak English and therefore can’t get a job. But
    instead of going to the country they came from, they knock on the door
    of the UK government for support. This means that each year, the UK tax
    payer needs to support more non-UK people on our streets. There is also
    the refugee crisis where the EU is happy to take in thousands and
    thousands of Syrian refugees, which is great from a humanity
    perspective, but where do you draw the like of national security as
    terrorism is a real threat, especially to the EU and the UK. the vote
    side feels the UK shouldn’t let the EU put the British at risk, instead
    have full control of their own borders.

    The flip side…

    Being part of EU gives the UK access to the single market, a consumer
    base of millions and millions of people. Even though the UK does send a
    lot of money to the EU to help cover debt, they still have access to trade
    with 27 other countries. So yes, the credit crisis is bad, but is the
    single market our bread and butter?

    From a migration point of view, the Brits can go work, live and retire in EU countries because of
    the free movement agreement. I’d think the pro’s outweigh the cons as EU
    member. Another issue the UK ran into was an announcement from the EU,
    saying that the free movement agreement will be non-negotiable if the UK
    leaves but still want access to the single market.

    Wasn’t this the whole idea of the referendum anyway?

    If the UK wants to stop free movement they’ll need to give up their access
    to the single market (which they don’t want to do), but the EU says to
    keep access to the single market, keep the free movement agreements in place. Not debateable!

    We can only hope that a second referendum is triggered after a
    general election and that the UK will stay. Yes this will be embarrassing for
    UK leaders, but I personally think it’s a small price to pay to be
    better off in the long run. Again, looking at SA politics, I’ve seen
    embarrasing situations that are far worse 🙂

    From the beginning, some believed that it makes no difference if we
    stay or leave, the UK will regret it. If out, then the Pound drops,
    markets drop and access to the single market is at risk and people may loose
    their jobs. If the UK remain, they will continue to dislike the EU with
    all their crazy laws, flaws and debt.

    I agree with you, given the current uncertainty and chaos, a second
    referendum may be triggered should someone like Theresa May take the
    PM’s role.

    At the end of the day, only time will tell us if leaving the EU was the
    single greatest decision in history, or the dumbest one of our time.

    Kind regards

    Andre

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