• EU

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    01 July 2016

    I voted to ‘Remain’ in the EU. I campaigned hard to encourage others to do the same. But on the day it was not to be. The will of the people (notwithstanding the narrowness of the result) will be respected and we are leaving the European Union. The immediate consequences are clear. At the time of writing billions have been wiped off the value of listed British businesses, the pound has collapsed to its lowest level in 30 years, international credit agencies have downgraded our credit rating to ‘negative’ meaning the cost of UK borrowing will rise. Uncertainty, that killer of business, investment and jobs stalks the land. Political instability matches the economic shock. The Prime Minster has announced his departure. The leader of the Labour Party faces a no confidence motion from his own parliamentary colleagues. Given that Scotland voted to stay and England to go the Scottish Nationalists are now preparing for another referendum, the precondition for which they set out in their last Scottish parliamentary manifesto – a precondition that has now been met – the breakup of the UK just came closer. In Northern Ireland (where they voted Remain) they are trying to get their heads around the future imposition of border controls where currently workers and trade flow seamlessly between the two countries. The Irish Republic is now pressing ahead with plans to poach businesses who want an English speaking base within the EU Single Market – finance in particular - with the risks that the EU authorisation of Euro denominated trading may be withdrawn from us. Its not just Dublin eyeing up The City - the leader of the ruling party in the German Bundestag has been quick to say that the London Stock Exchange and German Bourse should be merged and located in Germany – future regulations squeezing London as a non-EU centre may deliver that. And something else is becoming clearer. Just as we are getting a better understanding of whether the Remain campaign was indeed just crude ‘Project Fear’, backed up by conspiracy and all those apparently ghastly experts, so we are learning more about the sunny uplands that the Leave campaign pledged. The early signs are no so good. Mr Farage winged his way through an interview on breakfast TV last week in which he accepted that the £350 million a week EU contribution saving that his chums promised for our NHS (remember the splash on the side of their battle bus) was not actually going to be available after all – because the figure is a massive exaggeration. And leading Brexiteers whose campaign gave most of us at least the impression that Brexit would bring immigration down are now saying that it is actually likely to continue to rise. There are many ‘what ifs’ in life the consequences of which can only ever be speculative. Well the Brexit ‘what if’ just happened and over the coming months we’ll be served up some good old fashioned facts. I suspect many will find them hard to swallow.