Brexit is heating up at the moment as I expect you might have seen in the news. The EU has finally woken up to the idea the UK is playing games with the negotiations and basically wants the EU to change its rules and regulations so the the UK outside the EU can have the same deal it has got now within the EU.
The EU have it very clear that is not possible, which has sent negotiations back to the drawing board once again. With only a month left to the June EU summit, British tensions are running high and the EU is now taking a hard line.
It looks like the May government is still digging itself into a deeper and deeper hole it can’t get out of. Many UK newspapers are openly stating May must go, but she is stubbornly refusing to stand up to the Brexiteers, step down, call an election or call a new referendum. Even Angela Merkel’s CDU party in Germany are publicly calling her ‘weak’ which is a way of saying she should step down.
Unfortunately, Jeremy Corbyn is still not wanting to consider remaining in the EU single market and only wants to stay in a revised customs union. There are almost 1 million jobs linked to the car industry in the UK and it is essential to remain in the EU single market for them to continue production in the UK. When other industries are considered as well, the total jobs at risk run into many millions. The Labour Party needs to consider these issues very carefully as it will be many of its members and its voters who will suffer the consequences of industries leaving the UK. The Tory party members and voters are equally going to suffer with the loss of the City of London and most of the international banking sector.
The actual reality of a hard Brexit is only just beginning to dawn on politicians who have had their eyes off the ball for some time while in a kind of ‘Global Britain’ euphoria since the referendum. For those of us who have worked abroad outside the UK, we know only too well how hard it is to win business around the world and how little influence the UK actually has in the global world of business.
Professing leaving the EU would all of a sudden make the future golden for the UK in the global world of business is simply a fantasy. If anything, the UK will be worse off because without the might of the EU behind it, the UK will be seen as a small island off the continent of Europe with a failing economy and a socially divided population. As such, the UK will be in a difficult negotiating position with even the smallest countries around the world, let alone the big trading nations.
I came across the article below from the South China Morning Post which shows the view of businesses and the finance community in China. As you will see, they believe the UK will have to stay in the EU, but the underlying failing economy will still spell trouble in the future. Here is the link:
David Brown says it is looking likely that the UK will stay in the European Union, but the economy will not easily recover from the consequences of the extended dithering
The Republic of Ireland has seen a big increase in Chinese business investment since the UK referendum and a similar increase in USA investment – many hundreds of highly paid jobs have been created in the Pharmaceutical and Technology sectors which would otherwise have gone to the UK. The english language coupled with unlimited access to the EU and a business-friendly government have made the RoI a top choice for international companies. A recent poll of RoI citizens showed that more than 90% wanted to stay in the EU, even though there are large numbers of EU immigrants resident in the RoI. This contrasts sharply with the UK situation just before the UK Brexit referendum.
Looking at a philosophical viewpoint of the Brexit referendum, perhaps the result reflected deep seated issues within British society at that time such as the wealth inequality, the tendency of employers to give jobs to foreigners, the disconnect between the population and the political elite, the percieved need to spend money to keep the economy afloat, the overcrowded towns and road infrastructure and last but not least, the poor reputation of the finanace and banking sectors.
The often quoted cause such as EU immigration into the UK and the percieved interference of the European Court of Justice and the European Commission are, perhaps a reflection of general discontentment with authority. While EU immigration into the UK is high, most of the EU immigrants are employed and paying taxes and most are doing jobs that can’t be filled from within the UK (such as doctors etc) or are doing jobs that UK people don’t want to do (such as farm jobs etc). There have been a few cases of reference to the European Court of Justice which should not have been necessary, but generally the ECJ is there to protect EU citizen rights which would otherwise be ignored in favour pursuing profit at employee expense within big business. The European Commission is widely seen in the EU as needing reform and slimming down, but there has to be central control at EU level, the same as there has to be at national level, otherwise large EU countries would take advantage of the smaller ones within the free EU market.
A longish note this time, but with critical months ahead for Brexit, perhaps it is the right time to question whether the UK Brexit referendum result was really anti-EU or just a vote to change the long-running status quo in Britain……