It has been nearly two months since the UK voted 52% to 48% in favour of leaving the European Union. It was an issue that the public were asked to vote on and one that produced high engagement amongst the public and produced a wide variety of views. However, it will be the approach adopted by the few, and not the many, that will enact how this pans out. We now have an unelected Prime Minister in the form of Teresa May, put in place by the parliamentary conservative party elected on 24% of the electorate back in 2015. She has to come up with something BEFORE we leave – this much, we know.
For me, the major factors that need to be considered during a Brexit are those that relate to social issues within the UK, sovereignty and economics. Three very general and yet very significant areas that all come down and integrate into one crucial factor that we are all constantly scrapping to maintain – our future.
The social issues and divisions have actually been fairly prevalent, in my view. The short-term divisions that societies and organisations have taken on this were clearly displayed and demonstrated by the example of the major political parties. The Tories have since been seen to overcome their smears and put the both remain and leave campaigns behind them by eventually settling with Theresa May as their leader and accepting that “Brexit means Brexit” (make of that what you will). But it looks as though it may be some time before the Labour Party and their peers can begin to accept a particular aim and party policy on the referendum vote that they can unite around. Both of their leadership candidates have taken opposing views on whether to accept a Brexit or not and some of their MPs are taking this vote as little more than an advisory signal. Whatever the politicians make of it, I sincerely hope that it is a wake up call for them.
There is also the aspect that Scotland voted to remain and England voted to leave. Nicola Sturgeon has, to begin with, taken matters into her own hands to secure Scotland’s place within the EU by directly meeting officials in Brussels and also holding talks with the Prime Minister. Again, this is something of an eyebrow raiser, particularly for those who live south of the border. Though this could be just another rousing excuse to trigger a second independence referendum, no official discussions and deals can yet be done. It is difficult to see how Scotland and the SNP will be quiet on this. They are certainly going to want a say in what goes on.
But, the obvious signs of division come closer to home. When I woke up on the Friday morning (my day off) to the news that Britain voted to leave I actually, at first, did not think much of it (probably because I had been up since 4am the previous day and could barely think straight). It was only when I went into work the following Monday that I noticed something was not quite right within the department. After I heard that an argument had broken out between a remain voter and a leaver, I began to see that it might take a while for work places, families and, indeed, communities to come back together.
Thankfully, it looks as though the worst has settled. The reaction by authorities and communities to condemn the increases in hate crime and people posting leaflets through doors stating “Polish Vermin” has gone to show that more can be achieved when we work together to prevent and punish the actions of the few people who aim to divide us.
For me, sovereignty is where this country could make a big step towards improving international co-operation and thus making means to have a further reach. I have so far not mentioned immigration, as I believe that this is indeed part of a wider issue than both remain and leave campaigners would have had you think. The Leave campaign had the wrong approach to immigration which caused a lot of tension and the Remain campaign had no approach whatsoever. With improved sovereignty and international co-operation we can actually start to look at the reasons behind immigration as opposed to setting up barriers which get us absolutely nowhere and cause people to take risks crossing the channel.
To do this, we need to actually understand the wider view and not just talk about ourselves when negotiating new deals. Having something to offer in this case, could prove crucial to Britain’s well-being and how we are viewed as a major player in the world.
We should also have to keep a close eye on the American Presidential election. The outcome of that could prove to change the USA’s approach on deal with the UK. The current President, Obama, stated very clearly during the referendum campaign and said after the result “Britain will remain a very close ally of the US, but will still be at the back of queue” when it comes to trade deal. Personally, I have been very much opposed to the TTIP deal that is being pushed by the Tories, but we will need to outline some clearer form of working with our western neighbours and allies instead of bringing about methods that only benefit the big corporations and the privileged few.
The economical effects are leaving are far more difficult to decipher. Like many of you, I am not an economist so all we can do is speculate. Although a difficult topic to discuss in wider scenario such as this (as I found to my discredit during the referendum campaign) I would relate to the format that our economic cycle took back in 2008/9. What struck me most about the aftermath of the Credit Crunch was the determined behaviour of the working class to just get on with day-to-day life.
Despite the continuous economic reports released both during and after the referendum campaign, we are about as unclear now as we were back then on what direction this country will go once we cease to be a member. I hope it does not sound too contradictory when I say that the only thing that is certain is the uncertainty. There is a wealth of considerations that the new Prime Minister needs to factor in before Article 50 can be activated. Although nothing permanent has been declared and no negotiations have yet begun there has been interest from the outside to trade with the UK. This effectively means interest in making more TTIP-like deals between the UK and these individual nations.
I have always taken the view that we need an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. We are of course, a long way off this and reports from the Bank of England, The Institute for Fiscal Studies and Markit (amongst the many that have drawn up some economic conclusions since the referendum vote) only indicate that it could get harder to have an economy to clear up so many issues concerning the inequalities across the country. However, these reports are but a mere guidance on how things will shape out. We will probably only have ideas on what the economy will look like once the major uncertainties are over. A good time to hold politicians to account over what has happened to the economy will come in the 2020 General election (assuming there will not be a “snap” General election like what I have heard from some sources).By then we will then have more of an idea of the outcome and the proposals that each political party will adopt going forward.
In all honesty, it is too early to tell for the most part what will happen and the early signs concerning the above three key areas are nothing but an indicator when sensing the direction that we will go compared to the direct that we should go. What is clear is that something will have to change if we are move forward. This all come down to one thing and that is the preservation of our country and our wider world. The EU always had a fairly decent record on the environment. It would be an absolute tragedy to see the government overturn and/or ignore the environment directives that have really been the start of harmonizing the wider issue of global warming and habitat destruction. If social unity, sovereignty and economics are put forward as a priority in all of this then we can make something of a Brexit for the country and for our planet.
Failure to see from another’s point of view can be crucial to securing all of this. Both remainers and leavers need to put political differences aside to ensure the best result. Only then can we secure a better future for our country, for the planet’s preservation and for the common good.