…And a new word has entered the political lexicon, which may soon become inescapable.
“Brexit” is shorthand for British exit from the European Union – a possibility that is looking more realistic by the day. Ukip, after all, are in the midst of a seemingly endless political summer…
…Moreover, plenty of Europeans are beginning to think of the UK as a power that has already turned its back on them. “We’re not actually making many constructive suggestions about the future of Europe,” says Leonard. “So we’re not really much good to anyone else at the moment.”
At the very least, I suggest to him, a British exit would create no end of economic turbulence. After all, when it looked as if Scotland was thinking seriously about leaving the UK, billions of pounds were wiped off the stock market. So imagine what would happen if Britain leaving the EU actually came to pass: an economic catastrophe, some people reckon.
Wait, is The Guardian agreeing with me?
(My rationale for the opinion, however, is hang the EU, it’s doomed anyway.)
…But what of all those grim predictions about Brexit’s dire economic consequences? “I simply don’t believe them,” she says. “The EU is actually causing economic chaos at the moment.” Evans runs a marketing and PR firm: she talks about the costs implementing European directives, claims that it is big business that defends the EU while small firms suffer, tells me that trading in the EU can be a bureaucratic “nightmare” and ends with a rhetorical question: “How can being able to negotiate our own trade deals again, in our own interests, be worse than the status quo?”
Guardian on the side of the bankers and capitalists.
There is no precedent for a country of Britain’s size leaving the European project. …None of these examples, needless to say, shines much light on what would happen if a country with 65 million people and such a huge economy decided to sling its hook.
“Leaving wouldn’t be a straightforward process,” says Leonard. “It could take years and years and years, and cost an enormous amount of money. Think about the tens of thousands of regulations we have that govern every industrial sector, and everything that gets made. Or passports: you’d need new ones, new forms, new border controls … new everything. Tens of billions of pounds would have to be spent, just on managing the transition.”
Cost benefit ratio of leaving early or crashing with the EU as a member?
In terms of popular support, the political drive to leave the EU is largely based on public concerns about immigration….
They dare not explain why. Rotherham…?
“That’s something that I think would be unacceptable to the people of Scotland and the Scottish government.” She will not be drawn on exactly what she means, but she says this, with a hint of menace: “I have a warning that there will be very serious consequences indeed, and I’m not sure they have been properly thought through.”
Fine, leave too. You’re a net drain with your free University education and better NHS anyway.
…. He thinks that the Eurozone’s economic woes mean “the whole thing is beginning to crack”, and sketches out the unlikely-sounding scenario of David Cameron realizing his current approach to renegotiation isn’t ambitious enough, and somehow leading an argument that would lead to a “a whole new architecture in Europe”.
Better likelihood of Cameron coming out as gay.
…“But the costs are worth it if you’re going to preserve your democratic right to govern yourself, and be a free and prosperous country.” All this, he assures me, is better than being “being inflicted by an unstable and imploding Europe that doesn’t work. And if we exit, other countries will follow us. That’s my judgment.”
It’s us and Germany. Even Germany is beginning to doubt the EU’s might isn’t worth the cost.
Again, the prospect of stock market meltdown is swatted away: “I don’t think that follows at all … if you’re coming forward with a positive proposal to trade across Europe and the world, a lot of the stock markets would say, hooray.”
GB would be fine, which British taxpayer gives a shit about elsewhere?
If Britain leaves the EU, Cash says, it will mark something as historic as the abolition of slavery, the repeal of the corn laws (which, with echoes of what may happen again, split the Tory party), the franchise-extending Reform Act of 1867, and the convulsive events of the 1930s. Not for the first time, I’m reminded of the drastically different ways that each side of the argument thinks about what’s at stake.
One camp worries about jobs, border posts and passports; the other talks passionately about national sovereignty, and hears the call of history. Europhobes are from Mars; Europhiles are from Venus. And as the great political war about Europe grinds on, any kind of truce seems more unlikely than ever.
We shall leave. It is an eventuality at this juncture.