Across the world, people were waiting in anticipation for the results of the UK referendum held on June 23rd. And the results did not fail to deliver. It sent shockwaves through global financial markets, sending stock markets tumbling, while jubilant as well as disappointed voters gathered on the streets to fully comprehend the meaning of this epoch-making moment when the United Kingdom rewrote history, once again.
After WWII and peace treaties, the world had settled into a comfortable space with most of Europe coming together to allow the free movement of goods and people across borders. On the agenda was also a plan to stop the bickering among nations and open up better employment opportunities for the people. It also meant that the sovereignty of the nations involved had to be sacrificed at the altar of EU.
Those who favoured Brexit at the referendum, the ultra conservatives, hated that Brussels poked their nose where it was not wanted. Being a part of EU meant a lot of bureaucratic intervention, and Britain was sick off waiting to cut the red tape, time and again. Not to mention the Brexiters wish to control their country’s borders. If you think about it, Britain’s always been territorial, so it’s no wonder EU was a thorn in the flesh.
On the other hand, Bremain supporters are vaguely concerned about employment opportunities and what it would mean for trade relations with the rest of Europe. New trade laws might mean exports and imports will have to be navigated on stormy seas and this could lead to trade wars. Moreover, they think that peace between EU nations and the UK would be affected.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel considered Brexit a ‘blow’ to the Union while Trump as usual seems to be going against American sentiment in saying it is quite a good decision. There are some who think that UK is setting the precedent for other nations to follow. This might lead to a collapse in the world’s biggest trading bloc and crashing economies could mean bigger political consequences.
Already there is news of France’s far right National Party calling for their own Frexit, to back their anti-immigration anti-Europe policies. Following suit are far-right parties in Netherlands, Italy, and Greece. There is talk of a eurozone breakup, with fears of the single currency losing the war.
Americans meanwhile are scrambling to make sense of the chaos that will hit them following this historic vote. It could hurt their economy as the pound is falling and UK is one of United States’ largest trading partners. And an unstable Europe would mean an unstable America. But hey, the vacationers to Britain can look forward to a cheaper trip as the dollar is currently standing strong against the pound.
In spite of fear mongering, there are those who think Britain has absolutely chosen freedom for itself. 43 years of dependence and many of them have had enough of the endless levels of governance and rules and regulations that seem to serve no real purpose. More importantly, rising terrorist attacks in the rest of Europe would have opened many eyes to the need for border control and strict immigration laws. I’m guessing, it was the immigration bit that Trump probably liked.
Now, Britain will be able to choose who enters and exits their country, lessening the danger of attacks on British soil. Britain also stands to regain its fishing rights around its coast. UKIP leader Nigel Farage thinks Britain could follow the lead of Norway, which has access to the single market but is not bound by EU laws on areas such as agriculture, justice and home affairs.
Britain has nothing to lose at the moment if we look at their current standing. Unemployment is just 5.5%, which is close to full employment figures. Inflation is low, real wages are rising steadily and more people are able to invest in real estate. Also let’s not overlook that Britain has good trade relationships with many leading economies.
Besides, if we look at Greece, we can see that EU does not do much good other than offering loans for a bailout during a crisis which is rather like tightening the noose around a flailing person’s neck. And talking of economic figures, Germany seems to be sitting pretty with booming profits. Isn’t that proof enough for unequal growth within the EU?
As one of history’s most celebrated alliances break apart and the United Kingdom learns to stand on its own feet, I can’t help but wonder if the UK did more good for the EU than the EU did for them. Whatever be the outcome, there is no denying that June 23rd 2016 will go down in history as a
game-changer in world politics.
The world as we knew it just turned on its head!