The UK is transfixed with Brexit which is understandable, but just take a minute to look around and see what chaos rains across the European Union.
France is in chaos, Germany uncertain, PIGS broke, the Euro uncertain, the world environment being trampled over by not only Trump but several of his kind in the EU, and we worry about Brexit! Even worse a range of people who should know better keep on prophesying doom and gloom and no one seems to think there can be any upside to leaving the EU.
It’s time for calm thinking. The EU dream is all but dead, coming apart at the seams, and it is fair to say that the UK is one of the main causes or at least one of the main manifestations of this unravelling.
The Brits for all their faults, are smarter than many think. There is no doubt that the EU will suffer enormously from the British exit, far more that the UK. In areas like technology, research, defence and intelligence the UK is miles ahead of its peers in the EU. In terms of finance and banking London holds sway and will continue to do so. Yes there will be short term disturbance of all the markets but it will settle and the UK will be substantially better off without its levies to the EU, with opportunity to trade fairly and widely inside and outside the EU.
Hopefully the vicar’s daughter in Downing Street will be replaced by a leader of imagination and charisma that can exploit the great opportunities that will doubtless come. It will not be too long before the gigantic bureaucracy that is Brussels will be knocking on the UK door seeking advice and succour on any number of fronts from defence to technology.
The French always resisted the entry of GB into the European fold. There is little to choose between the posturing Macron and the elegant but strutting de Gaul. Their attitudes remain unchanged, in wanting to see the resurgence of an imperial France as a joint European leader without the Brits who have always retained more soft power. The french dig up the streets in protest the Brits just wring their hands.
The real disadvantage of the unravelling of the EU is not so much the UK’s withdrawal as the rise of populism throughout Southern Europe. The stability that the EFTA and EU imposed has been comforting, but the rise in the uneven material wealth in Hungary, Roumania, Greece and say Germany has given rise to enormous dissatisfaction and the rise to this uneasy populism. Instead of de-emphasising nationalism the failure of the EU’s fiscal system has exaggerated it. The whole political ideal of Delors has been or is being turned on its head.
In the UK referendum many people voted to leave for the reasons they perceived to be the most crucial. Those who have least feared they would lose most and voted primarily against the free movement of people which they saw as a strain on the UK welfare and NHS. Now that the reality of world economic migration is striking home everyone has a much more reasoned view of migration in general. Immigration is no longer the issue it was. Nonetheless the great majority of Brits are loath to change their minds. The population seems at odds with Parliamentarians who are as ever more cautious and unadventurous than the great majority. Democracy strikes again!
The question is should MP’s vote as their constituents tell them or vote according to their conscience. An impasse! How the French love that word – but the people say “Let’s go, the world awaits.”