Brexit - What Next? A personal view...
By Maggy - a constituent
Originally published by Daventry Liberal Democrats
In June 2016 an EU Referendum was held asking the question did the electorate want to "Remain" in the EU or "Leave" the EU. 48.1% voted to remain and 51.9% voted to leave.
This assignment will investigate how this came about; examine the issues involved and offer a way forward, following 3½ very difficult years…
Before this referendum took place, we had a huge gap between the Richest and the Poorest in the UK.
After the referendum, this situation has continued to grow worse - with Food Banks and homelessness now commonplace.
Before the referendum, we were not fairly represented in the UK - artificial boundaries favoured some political parties over others - there was no "Proportional Representation".
After the referendum, this has remained the same.
On the other hand, the EU had, and still has a system of proportional representation and each member country can VETO any legislation it does not approve of. EU officials (or the EU Commission) are selected by the 28 Member States democratically elected leaders and EU laws are agreed or rejected by the EU Parliament, made up of democratically elected MEPs. So, the whole process is as democratic as it can be.
However, only roughly a third of the UK electorate have ever taken up the opportunity to vote in EU Elections. Allowing UKIP (now reformed as the Brexit Party) to take many seats. These individuals, under Nigel Farage, have extreme Right-Wing views and have been working against the institution they are supposed to work with. In other words, they have not been representing the UK or working in our interest.
Before the referendum, the UK was the 5th largest economy in the world, able to trade freely with the EU, who also negotiated preferential trade deals on our behalf with other nations.
After the referendum, and the triggering of Article 50, the pound has lost value and economic growth has slowed. Figures vary as to how many billions of pounds the Leave vote has cost the economy, but it is substantial.
"Uncertainty" is a keyword now - businesses are unsure how to, or whether to, invest in their businesses or the UK and so much investment has been lost.
Companies have moved investment to the Netherlands, Germany and other EU counties, to avoid the prospect of higher tariffs.
If we have a "Deal" or "No Deal" scenario, the results of both will involve further unnecessary spending. Also, both situations will lead to us paying a legally binding divorce settlement to the EU and spending many years renegotiating trade deals and fighting court cases.
How long will all this take?
Before the referendum, immigration and migration were an area of concern in the UK & round the world
After the referendum, this has still been the case. But, although the issue may be more understood, there has simultaneously been a dramatic increase in racism and "hate crime".
Many EU workers have left the UK leaving shortages in several sectors, such as hospitality, Social Care and the NHS.
Before the referendum, the NHS and most regional and local public services were struggling to cope with demand. A more centralised Conservative government favouring a prolonged period of austerity.
After the referendum, there has been even more demand on services; more Violent Crime and a struggling Police Force, NHS and Social Care System.
Funding has been promised in all directions - but first in line for hard-earned austerity money has been vast sums to pay for preparations for a No Deal Brexit. A No Deal Brexit that was not an option on the referendum Ballot Paper in 2016.
Overall, the economic costs of coming out of the EU will cancel out much of the funding needed to revitalise essential public services.
Scotland & Northern Ireland
Before the referendum (and following the Scottish Referendum of 2014) the UK was united.
After the referendum, with both Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to remain in the EU, tensions have been re-ignited, and concerns raised about the future.
Long before the referendum, environmental concerns were being raised - threats to the natural world, caused by human activity, were well documented.
After the referendum, although not due to the Leave Vote, science has revealed a faster rate of Climate Change. With the situation now more crucial, urgent steps are needed to slow this process down. Many young people have taken to the streets concerned about the future of the world they are inheriting… Brexit has been an unwelcome and costly distraction.
Before the referendum, many world leaders were making efforts to work together to reduce Environmental damage, Conflict and Nuclear Weapons.
After the referendum result- in favour of Brexit - and the prospect of a weaker Europe, Nationalism has been bolstered, around the world, and conflict increased - under leaders such as Donald Trump (USA), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Xi Jinping (China)- all jostling for position.
This is the very Nationalism and War mongering Churchill was seeking to avoid in Europe, when he put forward the idea of a "United States of Europe", which formed the foundation of the EU after WW2.
Brexit outcomes appear to favour stronger links with NATO and the US, weakening Europe and tipping the balance of power. We currently have a "foot in both camps", as well as strong Commonwealth links, which have all helped to stabilise Europe and the Western world for many decades.
Before the referendum, we were both British and EU Citizens.
The position after the referendum has been unclear on this subject- but if we do leave the EU, we will lose our rights as EU citizens.
We have already lost a lot of good will, both at home and abroad. Funding could well be lost for combined projects which are vital to our progress.
In general, no long-term promises have been made to prop up Farmers/Fisherman/ Medical/ Technical/Environmental/Scientific and Educational projects. Although, unfortunately, most promises that have been made so far have either been broken, or just plucked out of the air without thought.
Yellow Hammer Report - September 2019
Following the partial publication of the "Operation Yellow Hammer" Report, which examined the impact of leaving the EU, the clear indication is there is no good Brexit. With a "No Deal Brexit" being the worst possible scenario. Yellowhammer shows 12 areas of risk. These include the food and medicine supply chains and the status of UK citizens residing in the EU. There are also three risks common to all areas. The twelve areas of risk identified are: transport systems, people crossing borders, key goods crossing borders, healthcare services, UK energy and other critical systems, UK food and water supplies, UK nationals in the EU, law enforcement implications, banking and finance industry services, Brexit and the Irish border, specific risks to overseas territories and Crown dependencies (including the effect of Brexit on Gibraltar) and national security. Risks common to all areas identified are: - legal, communications and data.
This vital report has been brushed to one side by the Conservative government.
So, was the referendum a good idea… and is Brexit a good idea?
Brexit has been a way for the government to divert the focus away from austerity and worrying domestic issues. So, before the referendum, we were led to believe the EU was to blame for all our ills and a political "shake-up" was needed.
Apparently, due to the EU "Open Border" policy, hordes of EU immigrants were entering the UK to take advantage of our benefits system - rather than helping to support our vital services, which was closer to reality.
News items were exaggerated in some newspapers and spread on Facebook and Twitter without being challenged and with social media this was instantaneous.
We were fed a strong ideology of a damaging and money grabbing EU - run by "dictators" who told us what to do and it was patriotic to save our wonderful country and "take back control" of our laws and borders.
To strengthen this ideology, the Leave campaign focused on the financial cost of the EU and exaggerated the figures. The cost of being a member of the EU was, in fact, a very small percentage of our overall public spending. For example - we spent at least 10 times more on the NHS alone.
[This assignment doesn't deny there has always been areas of waste in the EU and the UK, which need a concerted effort to be reduced.]
Money was poured into the Leave campaign from dubious sources and the overall result was Brexit being miss-sold in a more manipulative way than PPI, and with far more serious consequences.
Russian influence has been proven, but the extent of which is still unknown - as the Conservative government have so far refused to publish the relevant report….
Those voicing the "Brexit ideology" have not only proven to be untrustworthy, but, the different Leave factions continue to fight about what kind of Brexit was originally on the table. Boris Johnson has made promise after promise of a wonderful, economically boosted, future after Brexit, but during the last 3½ years all his bluster has resulted in a deal worse (for the economy; Irish border etc…) than Teresa May's.
After removing many moderate conservative MPs, and breaking constitutional law, in his determination to push his deal through Parliament, we must ask "How is Boris's deal better than staying in the EU?"
The embarrassing shambles in the House of Commons has been inevitable. Without an open government, and no effective Labour opposition, questions are still unanswered, regarding the legitimacy and funding of the 2016 referendum.
The Way Forward….
Despite the attempted cover-ups, we now have much more information to hand showing Brexit to be a big mistake - to carry on with it would compound the mistake and make us worse off in every sense.
There have been concerns that going against the referendum result would be "undemocratic" - but, with
the proven dishonesty and even lawbreaking of those championing Brexit, it is time to think again….
Surely, the solution is to come together and work towards common aims - we owe this to future generations. We all make mistakes and may feel guilty about our lack of forethought regarding environmental and political decisions. But rather than feel glum and ineffectual, we need to contribute towards a better world, both politically and environmentally. There is no more time for infighting…
The motto of the EU applies here, "United in diversity". "It signifies how Europeans have come together to work for peace and prosperity, while at the same time being enriched by the continents many different cultures, traditions and languages" (EU website)
By revoking Article 50 to Stop Brexit, we can move forward within a more secure environment and, if we, as individuals, become more involved in the political process, we can help shape the rules, rather than letting others shape them for us.
This provides a perfect platform to start to rebuild relationships and work together towards a better world.
The LibDems have a similar philosophy and it is well worth reading the preamble to their Constitution….
The question is: -
Who do you trust to make a better Britain for your families and for the future?
By Maggy a resident of Daventry Constituency