Final Thoughts On The EU Referendum

Great Britain, London

Schrank - ManWho

It’s not a legally binding decision but a matter of public debate. MPs can choose not to act.

I might consider the Leave option more seriously if it didn’t feel as if a row about EU tariffs got hijacked by a coterie of careerists.

I’m more swayed by direct evidence of damage caused by the EU than by vague warnings about loss of Britishness. (A return to blue and gold passports, really?)

Boris Johnson failed London as a mayor. His reign saw a rise in cycle deaths, more pollution, less social housing, more oligarchs’ empty homes and unfeasible grand schemes. Would I trust him with a bigger toybox?

Isolationism worked for Switzerland, Pop. smaller than London, famed for one-way flights and Toblerones.

It’s not a nightclub, you don’t get your hand stamped so you can come back in.

Fifty years ago the exact same argument raged because the UK was not strong enough without a European or American ally. Then, we were desperate to get in. Today America no longer needs us.

I’d vote for anything that would keep Nigel ‘Farridge’ beyond the reach of my fist.

Last night a friend asked me what Barcelonans thought of Brexit. I had to reply; ‘I don’t know, there’s a festival on and they seem to have all gone to the beach.’

It’s hard not to feel that weak leadership has led to this.

The outcome will strongly affect how I feel about my country from now on. I believe that our sense of national pride has come from our ability to include, not exclude.

The world moves forward and we must learn to deal with its problems, not hide behind walls.

8 comments on “Final Thoughts On The EU Referendum”

  1. Chandon says:

    Thank you for this excellent post. I completely agree with your conclusions. Your writing on this topic shines out like a diamond in a tray of zircons.

  2. Steve says:

    I thought last night’s thunderstorm felt like an omen… If this was a film, something bad would be in the way!

    Farage sounds like a verb meaning to do something nasty doesnt it? Like, David Cameron gave Boris Johnson a good farraging. Or something.

    Interestlingly I heard Boris Johnson a few years back on French radio and he does speak fluent French and in my feeling has a good understanding of french culture too. Unlike David Cameron frankly who apparently doesnt speak a single foreign language and in my impression is a real little englander despite leading the Remain side.

    I didnt get a polling card at my new address and I honestly have no idea how I would vote if I actually had to go in the polling booth and make a X. For me, I think emotionally Remain feels like the step back and Exit like the step forwards. It’s because Remain is the status quo that Exit unfortunately attracts all the malcontents and weirdos. One side of the argument might be, if it’s a 5% reduction in GDP (say) maybe that’s a small price to pay for a real kickstart to democracy.

    I do agree it’s a failure of leadership that led to this point. Maybe ‘admin’ will not be sympathetic to this point but It’s a fact that Maggie T negtiated the rebate, and then instigated (with Lord Carrington) the EU single market. Then she told the mp’s vote for it or else. She did many bad things but in the relationship with europe this at least for me was serious politics not this joke pr politics we have had the last nearly 20 years under Blair and Cameron.

    Who know what Brexit would really mean, and that’s the problem, but in my dream it would be a renewed engagement both with democracy and with the world, as a small but open and culurally vital trading nation.

    For me personally, both from a business and personal point of view, brexit would be a disaster! So from that selfish point of view, I’m praying for remain. Also, many of my friends, whose opinions I value, are remainers.

    But if I had to go in the voting booth and make a X. Honestly, I’ll never know.

  3. Vivienne says:

    I heartily second Chandon’s response. What do the European’s think? My small sample of a waiter from Paris said he was quite frightened by the prospect of our leaving: I said after what happened in Paris I wanted to stay and be with our friends. And the Italians have draped David in a Union Jack which I find heartening. It’s all very well saying we could still be a trading nation, but if companies like Nissan left for the continent for better tariff deals, what would we be left to trade with? My fear is we would be bought up by China.

  4. Steve says:

    Vivienne, much of the UK is already foreign owned, it’s the other wide of running a balance of payments deficit. In fact, EU regulations give a lot of security for foreign owners of UK assets and restrict the ability of the government to take action for UK benefit. For instance, the owners of Heathrow (Spanish Chinese and Qatar) would have a fair case for billions of compensation if the UK government doesn’t award them the extra runway, which is one reason the government runs scared of them (they take about a billion a year cash out of heathrow already, and it’s why the heathrow express is so expensive, for instance). Out of the EU, it would be easier to attach more stringent conditions to the ownership of national assets. I was in a presentation a few years back by a German pension fund about their ownership of thames water to other german investors, and it was a slightly weird feeling. Equally, I know a bit of non-public information about the interaction of regional german banks like hessische landesbank (Helaba) with greek debt, which was a major driver of Merkel’s policy a few years back although not much discussed publicly, if at all!
    Regarding tariffs, I don’t think Nissan will have a problem as there will be a quick deal to take care of certain people Munich and Stuttgart who have a lot to lose… Don’t forget on most things (a) the UK runs a deficit anyway and (b) world prices are cheaper than European prices, especially food. The main issue will be financial services where the UK is bound to get screwed, the only question is how much. But that’s a process that’s under way anyway, in or out.

  5. Wayne Mook says:

    It didn’t stop them nationalising the banks when they thought it necessary. The UK government could have stepped in to save the steel industry but didn’t. We sold of Heathrow not the EU, we have been selling off the family silver, as Macmillan put it to Thatcher, for quite some time. Asset stripping in the 50’s and the selling of heavy industry to the US in particular was prevalent. Leaving the EU will put us in the hands of Cameron, Blair and their ilk. They won’t re-nationalise industry, if anything they will go the other way in desperation to sell off, sorry attract foreign investment into British industry. We won’t go against the Chinese owners of Heathrow, China is the future market, plus if we upset the Spanish they throw their weight behind the French who are eyeing up our financial services. We would be cutting ourselves off from foreign markets.

    Nissan if they get a deal it will be to move to Europe, the EU won’t cut us anymore slack.

    If you want to know the sort of deal we are capable off when it comes to sucking up to foreign powers, take a look at our extradition laws with the US.

    We already source goods from other parts of the world, but we do sell a lot to the EU, esp. beef and fish. Let’s be honest French farmers will get a better deal from Brussels than UK farmers from Westminster and as our agriculture goes down the pan the deficit rises.

    Isolationism never works, for anyone, especially a nation based on trade like ours.


  6. Steve says:

    Wayne, it’s not about renationalisation, but about ensuring that foreign-owned assets of strategic national importance are managed in the national interest and also funded by an appropriate debt/ equity mix.
    Watching Nigel Farage and Neil Hamilton just now was a pretty depressing experience.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Reading this gives me a feeling of final settling of the Second War. England fought everything right to the beaches and American help was Lend Lease which had to be repaid. Britain was left with ruined cities, devastated industry, a huge death toll and debts that would never be fully paid off. There just didn’t seem to be any money to jump start the economy and the Americans took over “leading” the world. Germany had American aid to retool and the Americans found themselves with old plants competing with up to date European ones they had helped create. With a rush of immigration the US found itself flourishing while Britain has struggled to “deal with” immigrants. The Little England mentality goes back to that wartime mindset, a mindset that got the country through but was not the best one to start the country up again. It’s June 24th, St. Jean Baptiste, the symbol of French Canadian separatism, so I can only wish you “all the best”. (Oh, that’s probably the festival in Barcelona by the way.)

  8. Charles (another one) says:

    I feel like Charlton Heston at the end of ‘Planet of the Apes’…

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