Brexit the short and long term

I fear a sort of group insanity has taken hold of the nation. Boris has charmed and lied effectively and is leading the population into making a disastrous decision so he can fulfil his childhood dream of being Prime Minister. It is probably too late but there are a few days to go. So, in the hope that a few undecided voters get to read it, here is what I think will happen if/when we vote out.

In the short term it will be chaos. This is not scare-mongering, it is virtually certain.

1) There will be a financial crisis. Almost every expert you can think of has warned us of the economic consequences. This is nothing to do with elitism and organisations in the “pay” of the EU. This is 200 leading academic economists, the Financial Times, the London School of Economics, countless Western Leaders, the bulk of the unions, British Scientists, popular financial advisors such as Martin Lewis – the list is endless. But you don’t even have to listen to the people who know about it. Just look at the markets. The pound dropped to its lowest level since 2008 (remember that) just because Boris decided to support Leave. Every time the probability of Leave increases the pound drops further. 

2) David Cameron will resign. Whatever he may say there is no way he can hang on.

3) So we will get an unelected PM – maybe Boris but he has lied so blatantly and been so disloyal to the Tory party (look at what people like John Major, Michael Heseltine and Chris Patten have written about him) this is by no means certain.

4) The new PM will need to address the financial crisis and quickly. There won’t be time to negotiate trading deals. He or she will also have deeply divided party, a narrow majority, and a parliament where most MPs support REMAIN. The one thing the markets will need is certainty – without that investment will grind to a halt, the pound will continue to plummet and the recession will begin.

5) There is only one solution – apply to join the EEA (assuming they will have us). There is a well-defined trading relationship with the EU and one that is likely to get the support of parliament. Economically it is the least worst option – although it will mean we have to accept the bulk of EU rules, freedom of movement and contribute to the EU budget (having just sacrificed our rebate!).

6) Hope this does not cause the EU to collapse. The EEA is really a sort of EU-lite. A bit more flexibility at the cost of less power in EU decision making. But it is dependent on their being a EU to trade with. If the EU collapses then so does the EEA and we truly have a global financial disaster on our hands. Many commentators think that the UK leaving will sound the death knell of the EU – in fact some of the Vote Leave positively want this to happen.

What about the Long Term?

After four or five years presumably the short term chaos will sort itself out (assuming the EU manages to survive). But what do we want the UK and Europe to look like in 20 years? The world is globally interconnected – climate change, mass immigration, the rise of China and many, many others are problems that cannot be addressed at the national level. Europe is a set of countries with common history, values and approaches to government and it has to respond in a coordinated way to these challenges. If the EU did not exist we would have to invent it. I would be the first to admit it has not functioned well recently and needs to change. But the solution is not to ditch it altogether and operate as individual competing countries. The solution is to use our influence to improve it.

The good news is that it has shown it is capable of change and that we can influence it. It has moved to be more democratic – giving more power to the European Parliament. We did a lot to reform the CAP policy (where the butter mountains now?) and the disastrous fishing policy has changed in part as the result of an initiative by a British celebrity chef! However, we cannot be part of that solution if we are not in the EU in the first place.

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