Britain is voting today for a referendum on whether or not to continue with the European Union in what has been dubbed “Brexit” or “British Exit.”
I’d like to clarify at the outset that I’m no expert on economics or geopolitical affairs. So it’s up to you to take this article with whatever you want — a glass of iced fruit juice or a grain or three of salt. Here we go.
1. Among other things, the “Leave” camp is saying that being in the EU puts pressure on the British economy, dragging it down so to say. So what were the British thinking when they joined in the first place? A coalition or bloc is always going to be a compromise. It’s not as if all the member countries had booming economies earlier. The financial crisis led to Iceland’s crash, Grexit and general austerity all over Europe. Germany and France, the supposed engines of Europe, haven’t grumbled like the British on this, or at least their governments haven’t. While Britain’s relationship with EU has long been like a marriage rather than courtship — constantly harking back to its own greatness and sulking — maybe the British could learn a thing or two about shared responsibility and caring for the less-fortunate from the continentals.
2. Britain showcases its multiculturalism as proof of its vibrant society. Being in the EU supports that. With the easy movement of workers and capital to and from the British shores, the economy is strengthened too. Why would you leave then? Supposedly because of point no. 1 and also because there are “too many foreigners” in Britain now (more on that in a moment). But things worked fine before, didn’t they? Let the tide turn. It can only get better from what the present situation is.
3. There was a couple once. Both of them earned well enough to be able to take care of the overall finances. One day, one of them had a steep paycut due to downturn in the economy. A few months later, seeing that the condition might take longer to improve than first thought, the other one said, “Honey, I think staying together is turning into a big problem for us. I’m tired of shouldering both of our responsibilities. We should go our separate ways.” Now if that isn’t selfishness and blatant individualism, what is?
4. One of the major bones of contention is the number of foreigners coming in Britain and taking away jobs meant for British citizens as also the fact that every citizen there pays $ 300 towards the EU fund/membership when Brussels allegedly doesn’t even listen to them or is answerable to them. Leaving aside the nitty-gritty of the membership, what I find ironic (and you can differ with me on this, as on the other points too) is that this is the same Britain that colonised half of the world and unashamedly looted those countries’ wealth. Yeah, this is me as a history-wise angry Indian speaking. Why was it all good when the British came and ruled our countries and filled their coffers with our wealth and now when people from these countries want to have a share of the Great British Pie, they are seen to be encroaching? And how in the name of God are you even thinking that in an ever-shrinking world, you can cut off ties with your neighbours with a simple vote? Just like that? I mean, isn’t that a bit unreal and hypocritical? Was there ever a referendum on Britain leaving its colonies before it was forced to? Has Britain recompensed the countries it exploited? Is the British economy an island, unconcerned with whatever happens in the rest of the world? I don’t think I’ve heard any news regarding any of these yet. Granted, by and large the exploited countries aren’t members of EU. They were from the other continents. But irrespective of that, the sentiment doesn’t change, not for me.
5. I love the fact that British people can have a frank dialogue with their government on what they think is a problem, despite the issue being so obviously massive. That shows their democracy’s maturity. Whatever the result might be, the fact that dialogue has been used as a means to arrive at a conclusion (the ignominious murder of MP Jo Cox aside) and that people can directly participate in decision-making, despite the result not being legally-binding, is heartwarming to see. More power to the people (wasn’t that a famous quote? 😀 ).
Here’s an article from The Week detailing the whole saga as well as providing the pros and cons of Brexit. The Economic Times says it’ll benefit India if Brexit does indeed become a reality while they also have an article on how this is essentially a war between the new and the old.
For what it’s worth, I am in support of the “Remain” camp. We need more globalisation and less borders. By the time you get down to reading this, the result of the referendum may well have been declared. That’s superfluous here. As I’ve already mentioned, you may very well differ from what I’m saying. I would apologize in advance if this felt like a rant. Also, it’d give me great pleasure if you shared your own views on the issue, what you perceive it to be and how it’ll affect things going forward.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. – Unrelated to the issue, the lady in the image above, Holly Peers, is stunningly gorgeous. I first took her to be Kate Middleton. 😍
Be warned of NSFW images before you Google her. 😄