I thought it was about time I started a blog, and on the request of one my friends, I’m starting by reposting a response I made to some “brexiters” commenting to a post I made talking about the younger and/or more educated you are, the more likely you are to vote to stay in. It’s a debate focused much more on emotion rather than reason right now. The young are also much less likely to vote, so they need to get out there and register to have their voice heard. Anyway onwards…
The mess we are in is not caused by the EU. The 2008 depression (which we are still in btw, judging by our performance against historical recovery of GDP say in comparison to the 30s) was caused by a global shock when the sub-prime housing bubble in the US collapsed. A sign of how interconnected all economies have become in the globalised economy. A good film to watch on that is “the big short” which really lays it out well. The debt bubble in the UK followed suit rapidly, as for some reason people thought it was ok to borrow 100% of a property value at 7+ times their earnings. Irresponsible lending and a standard of life we simply couldn’t afford. We are still feeling the results of this debt crisis.
You want to know some other things you are more likely to be the older you get? More likely to rely on inherent prejudice and stereotypes to make judgements. In other words, less tolerant of change, more likely to be homophobic, xenophobic, and otherwise hold outdated bigoted views.
The other stat is the more educated you are the more likely you are to vote to remain, regardless of age. It’s not a simple topic but the problem is it will be reduced to such by the sensationalist plays on both sides of the argument. Some people will reduce a highly complex socio-economic and geopolitical discussion into “too much immigration”, ignorant of the overall facts of immigration and how we benefit from it both in terms of contribution to our economy, but also the many millions of Brits who live abroad in the EU, something made much easier by our membership.
When it comes to trade I can tell you having had to build a small business and learn from scratch how to import and export both products and services both within the EU but also with a big market such as the US, the process and red tape is chalk and cheese. Just trying to understand the “Tariff” (a huge book of all the tax codes and rates when you want to import or export something to countries outside the EU) is an absolute nightmare. With the EU, there can be complexities of VAT, but none of the Tariff malarkey and all the forms to fill in and arguments to have with customs on the US side to let them release stuff where you may have filled something in slightly wrong.
Yes we won’t just stop trading with the EU overnight. There will be a protracted period of negotiation where uncertainty will prevail. Know what doesn’t like uncertainty? The markets. Foreign investors. People on the other side of business deals choosing whether to buy from a UK company or a German one. Expect the value of the pound to plummet and stocks to fall. I wouldn’t put parity with the Euro out of the question and $1.20 against the dollar.
This won’t be an issue about whether we will just stop buying BMWs. We might impose a 10% duty on German cars for example in response to a duty on UK financial products, as a hypothetical situation. That is unlikely to have much of an impact given BMWs are relatively premium products anyway. However, there are much bigger political issues at play. The rise of their own nationalist parties will make the likes of Angela Merkel not in any mood to show leniency to the UK. They will be worried about further break up of the EU and act strong to prevent others getting the idea they should go that way. There is a bigger picture and trade is just part of that. I know how I would act were I in her shoes. The best we could hope for is something slightly better than Norway. That won’t deal with all the issues people seem to think are the problem: immigration, EU regulation, EU laws.
There are so many mistrusts and misrepresentations of stats being flown around (indeed by both sides but the heavier weight of the misrepresentation has definitely been on the leave side according to statistical agencies). Scaremongering is happening both ways and I am just concerned that we will walk away from an institution of peace and prosperity for Europe for nearly 50 years, because we will look too narrowly at what is a highly complex issue.
The world is far more interconnected and a very different place to 1973. You cannot isolate yourself from the globalised economy. If you want to deal with the hugely growing companies and markets of the world, you want to be part of a larger power bloc not going it alone. You really think China or India want to deal with a market of 60 million ahead of a market of 740? They have a billion each btw and their economies are growing fast!
People need to think much bigger than our little island and realise we are no longer the empire we once were. We need to be close to our allies and establish closer economic and political ties. Now is not the time to go it alone and think everything will be ok. We need to change the system from within and do our bit to improve it, not walk away because things have got tougher!
For further reading, check out http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexitvote/2016/05/27/dear-friends-this-is-why-i-will-vote-remain-in-the-referendum/ for an professional, academic and well referenced piece. Does a better job than me 🙂
And finally if you are eligible to vote in the referendum but have not registered. DO SO! REGISTER TO VOTE NOW!