Brexit: An undeliverable product
On June 23, 2016, just over half of those who turned out to vote in the United Kingdom bought the dream they were being sold: Here is the end of the rainbow.
As those interested in geo-political events around the world and in the European Union try to find some sense in what is going on in the UK, and since those in the UK appear not to have a clue what is taking place, where the country is heading and how to deliver Brexit, or not - including the elected representatives of the people in Parliament - let us try to find a consensus and what seems to be missing in today's world, namely common sense.
On June 23, 2016 72.21 per cent of the population of the United Kingdom turned out to vote for the binary option Remain in the EU or Leave the EU, the Leavers, or as they are called today Brexiteers or "gammons", on the day winning the vote by under 52 per cent, the Remainers receiving over 48%.
What today's media and politicians refuse to underline is the fact that the Leave vote was very largely based on the nostalgic elderly and the uninformed and that the arguments presented as fact were in essence lies, such as if the UK left the EU, the citizens would be richer by 50 million pounds per day, which is a figure pulled out of the sky.
What nobody seems to be saying, and here it is again, is that if you belong to a trading block with which you do half your trade for free and have a voice (in the European Parliament), then if you leave this block and have to pay to do trade with it, and lose your voice at the same time, then there are inevitably consequences. Consequences are translated into prices and there is no way to avoid these under any terms, be these no deal, good deal, bad deal, WTO rules or whatever else. If you have a portion of fish and chips for free today and have to pay something for it tomorrow, by definition it will cost you more tomorrow than today.
Let us simplify the argument. I sell product A to the EU for one Euro. I do not pay for access to the market, I just sell it. My brother buys product B from the EU for one Euro and also does not pay for access to the market, he just buys it. I represent 48% of UK commerce to the EU and my brother represents 52% of commerce from the EU. Now imagine we both have to pay for access to the market. We are not able to absorb that extra sum into our operating margins because they are already tight and if we did so, we would go out of business. So I have to increase the price of product A and my brother will have to pay more for product B.
This means that my product A will be less attractive, and so I will sell fewer items. This means I will receive less money to pay my workforce and I will be forced to make people unemployed, cutting staff to cut costs, or else close the doors of my business and we all go home hungry. It also means I will be paying less money in taxation to the public kitty, so there will be fewer resources available for hospitals, doctors, nurses, schools, teachers, police on the street, security, public lighting, fire engines, ambulances, road repairs and so on. And furthermore, the State will be paying more money out in benefit as unemployment rates soar, and as the UK finds that it cannot sustain a "go-it-alone" commercial policy in a world of trading blocks (the sell-by date on this approach ended seventy years and two generations ago) it will see more and more people desperate, marginalized and the social costs of crime will become a burden on an already strained system.
This also means, and I am sorry to heap on depressing scenarios to depressing scenarios, that there will be less money available for investment in research programs, creating new jobs, new products and new partnerships, so the research institutions we already have today, directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs and indirectly responsible for millions, will close and there will be few or none to replace them in future as the UK struggles to pay its bills in the post-Brexit chaos.
Now add to this already bleak forecast the exponential problems experienced by my brother as he has to pay more for product B, and again, reduce his workforce or close his doors as the knock-on price is not picked up by the UK consumer, or if it is picked up, then the UK consumer will inevitably see prices rise, and will have less money available to buy other products, compounding the problem for other sectors of the economy.
So we see that even with a good deal Brexit, the idea is a dream and is undeliverable, because even a good deal, orderly Brexit will mean fewer jobs, higher prices and fewer resources for public services. This is the best case scenario with a stable pound, and let us move the Great Dream across to the money markets.
Now to throw another spanner in the works, compute into the equation the negative effects of a volatile pound as the ripples from these stones start to spread to the jittery markets and questions hanging over the economy as figures start to show a downwards spiral. And I repeat, this is the minimum consequence of a good deal, orderly Brexit.
What is staggering, and totally so, is the utter callousness of the United Kingdom's political class because they know this is the case, that is why the majority of MPs voted for Remain in 2016. Despite this, they prefer to launch a ridiculous discourse based on the argument that the country decided to leave the European Union in 2016 and so they have to "get on with it". Ridiculous because if you tell someone to jump off a cliff...?
The 2016 referendum was the worst nightmare of a bad and dark scenario, since it was based on lies, since all of those who wanted to Leave voted Leave (and some of these only as a protest vote, some just because, some because they mixed up non-EU events with the EU referendum) and some of those who would have voted Remain never imagined that on the day their fellow citizens would actually be stupid enough to vote for the unkown.
Now people know what the unknown is and now that the distance between the Leave and Remain vote is widening by the day (fewer elderly, more young), now that the democratic will of the UK citizens is overwhelmingly to Remain (at least 55% to 45%, perhaps 72% to 28% depending on the polls), it makes no sense to be afraid of what the Leavers will do if Brexit is not delivered. They should be afraid of what the majority, the Remainers, will do if Brexit is delivered.
Time for a proper debate, a proper information-gathering process, education, broadcasting facts and knowledge and a second referendum based upon facts and not lies. Then time to come together, close ranks, and get on with changing what is wrong with the EU, but from inside, not shut outside in the rain banging on the door.
This after all is common sense. We are speaking about the future of a nation, and it is disgusting that the United Kingdom's political class seems more interested in keeping its seats in Parliament than in representing the will of the people = no Brexit. And I repeat, today in 2019 the people do NOT WANT BREXIT. THE PEOPLE DO NOT WANT BREXIT.
What part of that does Theresa May not understand?
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey works in the area of teaching, consultancy, coaching, translation, revision of texts, copy-writing and journalism. Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru since 2002, and now Co-Editor of the English version, he contributes regularly to several other publications in Portuguese and English. He has worked in the printed and online media, in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly magazines and newspapers. A firm believer in multilateralism as a political approach and multiculturalism as a means to bring people and peoples together, he is Official Media Partner of UN Women, fighting for gender equality and Media Partner with Humane Society International, promoting animal rights. His hobbies include sports, in which he takes a keen interest, traveling, networking to protect the rights of LGBTQI communities and victims of gender violence, and cataloging disappearing languages, cultures and traditions around the world. A keen cook, he enjoys trying out different cuisines and regards cooking and sharing as a means to understand cultures and bring people together.
In a weary world of endless US military interventions, sanctions, trade tariffs and chaos, let’s pause and take stock of the shining house on the hill