It has happened, it has finally happened. Britain went to the polls on Thursday 23rd July 2016 to vote on whether Britain should be in the EU. And voted they did with 51.9% voting to leave and the remaining 48.1% voting to stay in the EU. So it the matter will be put in motion and Parliament will have to debate on whether Britain will indeed stay or remain. The pros and cons on the matter have to be considered. Before declaring formally to the EU that Britain will start the process of leaving. Whilst many people might think that Britain has left the EU, in actual fact, Britain still a fully paid up member. Until Parliament has debated the matter and the Bills have been passed, Britain is still in the EU.
Britain joined the EU (The EEC as it was known then) in 1973 after two previous failed attempts. Since joining, Britain has been an active member in Europe. However it has not always been a cosy relationship. Britain being an island with her distinct identity was going to be at odds with Mainland Europe. With the economic benefits were always going to be the drawbacks. Laws passed in Europe became laws in member states and together with regulations, it was not always ideal. Britain is not the only member state that voiced discontent, but with the recent polls being announced. Other member states have become more vocal about the possibility of leaving.
For many years, politicians have talked about leaving the EU. But it was never something that was going to really happen. Whilst nobody wanted to pay huge sums of taxpayer's money to the EU and some of the policies have been wasteful, such as the old food mountains and development projects that didn't bring in the desired benefit. We all agreed that free trade has been good for all. The freedom of movement of goods and people meant it was easier to do business and find work. However, in recent years the ever increasing number so refugees coming into the EU has become an increasing problem. Together with terrorism in the Middle East, there are problems growing inside the EU. The violence demonstrated in recent years, in Denmark, London, Paris and Brussels shows how bad the problem is. The EU is simply having problems housing refugees. It has become difficult to tell apart the genuine cases from those who are here for free housing and benefits, or cause terror.
Europe has a skills gap, and Britain is no different. Millions from Eastern Europe have moved from their home countries to find work. The shortage of nurses means Britain has to hire from overseas. Most of these people are genuinely here to work and are no trouble at all. But it doesn't take much for the right wing groups to make all foreigners targets and Muslims have become prime targets. If the vote out of the EU was because Britain will definitely benefit economically, we can understand. But a lot of voters, voted out because of immigration and other small minded race-related reasons. So what will become of the thousands of people from across the EU who currently work in Britain, if Britain does leave?
The Conservative Government does not have a clue. The bet was that the remain vote will will, but it didn't. There was no plan B in place. We simply haven't a clue as to what to do. To stay in the EU will be embarrassing after all that talk. If Britain leaves, then Britain will have to re-write her laws and the new agreements will have to be made with the rest of the world. For more than 30 years, Britain has not had to do this. The rest of the EU will also face problems. Britain is a major force economically as well as politically. The negative impact will very much be felt by both sides for many years. Some quote the Swiss and Norwegian example, but in reality, neither are ideal. Both countries are very rich and outside the EU, but they pay a lot of money to be in a club, but none of the voting rights. It took decades of negotiations to get these deals, and decades later, they have not concluded.
Personally, I think the EU need to look at reforming. There are too many members and with more than half in dire economic turmoil. It is a wake up call. No European country will say no to cooperation, but no European country will yes more red tape and something must be done about the borders. It is time for change, but not like this.
And here's something a bit light hearted…