Thursday, 30 June 2016

BREXIT - 28 Years Later

by Oliver Clark

After the YouGov exit polls suggested a narrow 52-48 victory for Remain on June 23rd, I went to bed in preparation for my open day at Warwick University the next morning. On this night, 'going to bed' consisted of me watching the TV with bated breath as the thing that I had hoped so dearly for slowly became a reality. I 'woke up' to my dad telling me that it was time to get up and that against all odds, Brexit was happening. It was about half way up to Coventry when the news was finally confirmed, and that it was announced that the British Public, with the highest turn out for a national vote since 1992, had voted to Leave the European Union. It is the next chapter of Britain's political and economic landscape, and I could not be happier. However, my feelings were not shared by approximately 48% of the population.

In this article, I could go on about the pure outcry of the vast majority of my peers, angered about the uneducated and antiquated older generation (who had seen the EU for what it was originally designed to be and how different it has subsequently become) for ruining the future of Britain's youth (despite 18-24 year olds amassing a turnout of 36%, less than half of every other age demographic). But I would be forced into talking about the 52% of the population who are rejoicing and democratic vote, where their voices were heard and their vote mattered.

I could go on about the economic worries and uncertainties that we now face, ones that, despite being 100% legitimate and will cause a reduction of investment until new deals are formed, were inevitable after a vote of this magnitude. But I feel that if I talked about this, I would be forced to talk about the resilience and almost immediate recovery of Stirling, the FTSE, and various other post Brexit positives, such as the agreement for a new Jaguar Factory in Wales and the confirmation that Morgan Stanley will not be causing the 2,000 job losses that were talked of in recent months.

I could talk about the political instability that we now face, with the immediate and honestly inevitable resignation of David Cameron (in a speech that I feel will cement his legacy as one of the most respectable Prime Ministers this country has ever seen) and the apparent internal collapse of the Labour Cabinet (one that even the most rickety IKEA bedside table would be proud of). But once again I would hence be inclined to talk about the shock that this has sent through the spines of the unelected and unaccountable commissioners, who now must realise that the current direction of their European Project is not working. And hey, for all the Remainers reading this, Nigel Farage is out of a job and will probably feel inclined to take a step back from main stream politics now that his work is done! What a day to be alive!

What I am trying to say is this. The result of the referendum has had both positive and negative effects for every one of us. But the time for bitterness and anger and frustration must now be over. The public have made their decision, by a majority of 1.3 million people, and as said by both David Cameron and Jean Claude Juncker, this 'must be respected'. So let us move forward together, and make the most of the current situation. After what I feel was a poorly run campaign on both sides, I think we all need learn how to smile and laugh again. Here is how I picture the aftermath of Brexit. I hope you enjoy!

The year is 2044 and we are still waiting for World War 3, Economic Collapse and the Plague of Locusts of Project Fear. Britain has not only survived, but thrived after the democratic vote to Leave the European Union. The post Brexit Government, commandeered by the likes of Andrea Leadsom, Liam Fox, Priti Patel, and the blonde haired bombshell that is Boris Johnson, triggered Article 50 and successfully negotiated a trade deal with the EU that was in the best interest of both sides. It was only common sense that tariffs would harm the European economies just as much as Britain's, and so after months of calm, logical discussion, the agreement was reached. Due to Britain not being a member of the EU, it could now negotiate independent trade deals with growing economies across the rest of the world, such as India, China, Australia and Ethiopia, and these were reached far quicker due to us not having to wait on all 27 other EU countries to agree terms with each other.

Britain could now employ a migration policy that was not discriminatory, a points based system where they could source labour from 100% of the working population for the jobs in the economy that needed more workers. One year it was doctors, the next it was road sweepers, the beauty is that now the UK could choose. The policy, despite being branded as racist or right wing during the campaign, is in fact employed by every other non EU country in the world. There were genuine concerns over mass uncontrollable immigration before the Brexit vote, but now Britain could enjoy the cultural diversity and skills that a sensible immigration policy brings, without the stigma for some caused by free movement of people.

The European Project is still functioning! For the moment at least. After seeing the confident step of Britain in 2016, other countries decide to hold referendums on EU membership. Those who had lost faith in the project, or decided that it was simply not for them, decided to leave through democratic votes and are continuing to survive. The hottest debate at the moment is the decision over which campaign abbreviation for an EU referendum was the most catchy (my vote goes to Sweden with Swexit, but please suggest others below). As stated previously, despite Juncker, Schultz and Tusk not being at the helm, the Union still lives on for those who still want it. Co-operation between EU and non-EU countries is stronger than ever, as despite the scare stories, working together never depended upon a political union.

And what about the current politicians of 2016? David Cameron is still kicking himself for getting so involved with the referendum that eventually cost him his political career, but he is still remembered as a Prime Minister who brought about some great Economic and Social successes, with record high employment and the legalisation of gay marriage to name but two. George Osbourne is currently camped out in a military bunker, paying homage to The Shining in writing out 'Safer, Stronger, Better Off In' across the walls of his refuge. Nigel Farage is now relaxing with his German Wife and French Wine in a Swiss Chateau, reminiscent of a Bond villain who actually succeeded. I would like to use this point to express my pure admiration for Mr Farage. No matter how divisive a character he may be, he succeeded in something that he had fought for for over 23 years, truly taking on the establishment and winning. Whether you love him or loath him, his determination is undeniable and his one liners are unmatchable. He has also saved me the trauma of having to get into politics in order to take us out of the EU later in my life, so to him I say a massive Thank You! Corbyn is probably still clinging to his post as Labour Leader with his last breaths despite a 200-1 vote of no confidence from his MPs, Sturgeon is about to embark on Independence Referendum No. 57 , and still, no one knows who Tim Farron is (sorry any Lib Dems out there, I hope things get a bit brighter soon!).

And finally, Olly Clark has had a pretty fun three decades. After graduating with a first in his Economics degree, he did his best to make a difference, and hopefully made a few quid at the same time. To this day, he remembers the inspirational words of the Warwick Head of Economics Abhinay Muthoo, stating that 'economics was the subject of the present and the future' and that 'we will always need economists to solve the problems that the world throws at us'.

Just to confirm, my economics skills have not led me to a cost efficient way to build a time machine and see into the future (yet), but if this referendum has taught me anything, it is that pessimism, negativity and fear does not win.

In the words of Eric Idle, 'Always look on the bright side of life (infuriating whistling)'. Keep smiling, everyone

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