I really cannot state enough just how thin skinned some of the Brexiteers are. They won the referendum and Britain is going to leave the EU yet this doesn’t seem to be good enough for them. Instead they seem to think that this must mean that everything written, discussed or thought about must comply with their rather narrow view of what the world should look like. This is simply wrong and they should try and mature a little.
Now that being said what I am about to write may sound in total contrast to what I have written above so here goes. I think that Britain will leave the EU under the so called Hard Brexit conditions. The reason why I say that is that I believe the single biggest issue in the referendum was immigration. It doesn’t matter one jot that this position is economically nonsensical I believe it to be the prevailing view of the majority of the country and as no one in power seems to want to try and change this view then this is going to be the main red line in the negotiations for Britain. This of course is a red line for the EU as well and so will limit any chance of negotiations around this point. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any agreements made during the talks it just means that sometime in 2019 Britain and EU will have a very different trading and immigration relationship.
There will be huge costs on both sides if accommodations are not found to make this as amicable as possible. It will also take years for all the ramifications of this separation to be worked through and I suspect both sides will pay a heavy cost as far as future prosperity is concerned. Nonetheless I cannot see any other way forward and the sooner everyone in Britain comes to accept this and try and make the most of it the better. I suspect most companies have already started to do this which will mean money that should have been spent on investment will have to be diverted but who said Freedom was cheap.
Probably the biggest loser’s in all this will be the millions of EU citizens who already live in Britain as they will have to register and be treated as immigrants rather than Europeans. How this is managed is unclear but given the Home Offices track record I wouldn’t hold out too much hope that it will be seen as a job well done.
The next biggest loser will be the Republic of Ireland who may well start to realise just how dependent they are on the British market for their goods and services and a very chill wind may well blow their way after the type of exit I suspect is going to happen. I dare not even speculate as to how this will affect the peace process in Northern Ireland other than to say that it won’t help things.
With Ireland in mind I suspect the SNP’s dream of an independent Scotland may well evaporate as the Irish provide a painful lesson of what happens when your largest export market decides what is best (debatable point) for it and shows little regard for your problems. This is not even taking account of the fiscal problems that Scotland could face outside of the UK. In short I suspect that the SNP may have passed their peak support and more normal politics, that is a nation with a number of political parties rather than one dominant, will return to Scotland. This being said I suspect that by the end of all this Scotland will probably have true Home Rule with only very limited interference from London, the so called Devo Max option on steroids.
As for the EU I suspect they are going to go through changes the likes of which few will have experienced before. This isn’t to over blow the role Britain played in the EU but it was the second largest economy and country by population (Both arguable I accept) and a large net contributor to the EU budget. I suspect after Britain has left the EU Commision will try and pretend nothing has changed only to find this is far from the truth. In future I suspect that the EU will fragment into blocs far more than is the case so far. They might even see further countries leave, I suspect that Sweden might be the next which would further isolate the Germans. The French will try to provide leadership only to discover that they are in a reduced position when facing the other 26 nations and qualified majority voting. The old eastern bloc may well start to act in a very similar way as they do in the Eurovision song contest (stupid example I know but rather telling) as they fight to maintain the large EU handouts they currently receive which, of course, were being paid for to a greater or lesser extent by the British budget contribution. And this is before we even start to bring up the unresolved problems associated with the Euro and the mediterranean countries which again will loop back onto German. Then there are the banks….I could go on.
In short without clear and enlightened leadership from the European Commision the shock of Britain leaving the EU could well be the catalyst for one all mighty clusterfuck. This will be to no one’s advantage which brings us full circle to what happens during the next two years of negotiations and whether they are enlightened or stupid point scoring. Of course the whole process may well take a different route with the kind assistance of the President of the United States of America, the gifted, reasonable and diplomatic Donald J. Trump!