I am sure that like many people right now, I am endeavouring to understand the main issues involved should the UK vote in favour of leaving the European Union. Accordingly, I have recently been more attentive when listening to the news and following the TV debates, in order to essentially understand what Brexit (a British exit) will actually mean in reality for those like me who live and work in the UK.
It would appear that I am not alone in being disappointed with the lack of insight and clarity from all sides of the debate thus far; in particular those politicians who urge us to leave. Perhaps it is a little simplistic of me, but if we are to accept that a vote to stay in – is a vote for the status quo, then surely the case to leave should be more equivocal than the well-rehearsed bluff and bluster of Boris Johnson and his acolytes?
Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t need to be persuaded of the short comings of the European Union – past or present. Like many British people I am naturally sceptical of the EU – due largely to its unwieldy size, its unrealistic political ambition, as well as its distinct lack of accountability and decisive leadership.
But primarily, the real question that I am struggling with is simply this – does being part of the single market overarchingly compensate in trade terms for all of the EU’s short comings listed above? We are told by the media that at present circa 50% of total UK exports are to EU countries, who are quite naturally not going to be enthused by the political/financial instability that our withdrawal will cause. Especially given that the UK is one of only a few member countries who are net- contributors to the EU.
You see, put simply, it would seem naïve to me in the extreme to expect that there will be no backlash from those same former fellow EU members should we opt to leave, in terms of both trade and economic co-operation – which can only mean one thing in real terms- the loss of trade and consequently UK jobs.
With the UK economy already on life support in the form of unnaturally low interest rates, I find it difficult to fathom why we as a country would take the risk of further instability at this particular juncture? At the very least without good reason.
Also, such instability would undeniably be compounded twice over by 1) The rather difficult and protracted post- Brexit negotiations with the EU that would have to take place as a matter of course, and 2) A second Scottish referendum, triggered by an opportunistic Scottish Nationalist Party as a direct result of our proposed EU departure.
I realise that my musings on this topic must sound unduly pessimistic, but I for one would need to be more forcefully persuaded that the case for Brexit is in the national interest, as history shows us that instability makes markets instinctively nervous and thus either more volatile or more worryingly perhaps more bearlike in nature.
Whether you dabble in shares or in property – or indeed any other commodity that springs to mind – you would be well advised to prepare yourself for a bumpy ride should the UK vote to leave the EU. I am quite sure that it won’t be the British political establishment that will be reaping the whirlwind in this particular perfect storm, but the normal working people of this country – myself included.
Written by Peter Nicholls – CEO of ideology consulting (www.ideologyconsulting.co.uk)