March 30, 2023

Brexit: It’s the economy, stupid

A successful economy means more investment, growth, opportunities, employment, wealth, successful businesses, increased tax revenue, stable governments. More optimism, openness, tolerance. Many elections are won over the economy, not the EU referendum.

After a superficial and vicious campaign, anger and fear prevailed. Feelings over reason. The vote was seemingly a rebellion against the establishment, against the so-called elites. The referendum on EU membership was the occasion, a vote of general discontentment the result. Especially when so little is known in the UK about the EU, its raison d’être, how rules and compromises are achieved in a union of 28, the democratic process involving successive elected British governments and directly elected MEPs, the devolution of power from the UK only in absence of a veto, but also the regular non-take-up of the veto by the British government on most major decisions, and the quiet casting of European directives into British law.

The shallowness or malice of campaigners could be seen over and over again, with Boris Johnson’s limited depth on EU matters despite having worked as journalist in Brussels for over 5 years, or the Daily Mail’s utter contempt for their readers feigning on their front page last week the arrival of European migrants in the back of a lorry while everyone knows that European citizens travel to the UK with their European passports and do not hide inside lorries.

The EU is an economic and political project. The unfading, overwhelming necessity can be easily understood when contrasting it with the alternative program of some who rather have the EU split up into 28 separate xenophobic nations.

It is a bit steep to pretend that European civil servants are the elite while many politicians on both sides of the EU referendum campaign are. Developing a single, common market is fundamental to a more efficient and cost competitive economy and is hugely beneficial to all. The alternative of 28 different countries duplicating and establishing incompatible red tape is a costly nightmare some try to ignore.

Many British people are badly prepared for what will happen next. Google reported that searches for “what happens if we leave the EU” have tripled the morning after the vote. Analysts had predicted that the UK will face a series of economic shocks in case of Brexit while Vote Leave’s Michael Gove declared “I think people in this country have had enough of experts.”

The economic downturn will affect the whole country, everyone, including auto-handbagging leave voters. People slowly realise that they been thrown in front of the Boris bus.

Johnson and Gove are convinced that Brexit will make their political career.