Part five in a series of posts written last year
By Pat Geary
This post was written on June 23, 2016
The UK voted today in the EU referendum.
There are four pillars that I focused on with my posts: foreign policy, immigration, economics and politics. Social factors are influenced by all of those.
The only reasonable argument I have thought about that is against voting to leave is: if the UK stayed in they could always leave in the future if things really began to get away from them. They could try to reform the EU in the meantime.
In the end I decided that a message needs to be sent to notify the powers that be that globalization (via the EU) has crushed the working classes in the UK over the last 20 years.
Cameron attempted to negotiate with Juncker under the threat of the UK leaving the union, and got nothing. The EU would not compromise on issues that Cameron knew mattered to the British people. It is obvious to me that the EU will not reform unless a situation forces them to do so. Brexit might be that situation. It is fantastical thinking, but some of the moderates in the EU and the representative nation’s leaders might feel the pressure to force through some major reforms in the event of Brexit. This would be welcome by everyone. It might even lead to a rapprochement with Britain in the future and a better EU. I believe, however, any reform is unlikely if the UK remains in the EU as it exists today.
The economy is another big factor for my decision. The uncertainty of a leave vote will wreak havoc on markets, but many feared the collapse of London as a financial centre when the UK refused to join the EU monetary union. Everyone now looks back almost 15 years later as though that was the best decision the country made. However, that was not the opinion of economists at the time. There will be pain, but London will always remain a financial centre. It was before the EU and it will continue to be the case. The UK is one of Germany’s largest export markets – they will not be looking to impose high tariffs. This is about collective interest. The EU and the UK economies need each other. The unelected bureaucrats in Brussels may want to make the UK hurt for this decision, but the elected central power of the EU in Germany can not afford to let that happen.
We always look back at events and say we should’ve done this, or we should’ve done that. The 2008 financial meltdown was an example of that. It was very obvious some serious changes needed to be made in the financial system, but none were taken. As humans we have the propensity to keep dancing while the music is playing, even if we know there is danger approaching. We need to be forced into making changes. However, this is not working. The EU was set to implode long before this referendum came about and a vote to remain would change nothing about the EU’s structural issues. Maybe this is one of those times, where we take the lead to make a change without having to be forced into it. Isn’t this a force for good?
We must be positive and optimistic about change. Whatever the challenges, sometimes you need to take your medicine and suffer in the short-term, to make things better in the long run. This is a major learning from the response to the 2008 financial crisis that central banks and governments have shown they have not learned, but will eventually be forced to re-learn from their decisions since the crisis. That time will come, but for now, it’s time to take a stand against globalization and the EU. A leave outcome will create two options for the EU: it can reform for a better Europe, which the UK will be more apt to have a major role in; or it can continue down its arrogant path of destruction, until it no longer exists. If Europe is to avoid disaster, the EU has to change and it is time to send a major signal.