Goodbye Lenin and the EU Referendum
Waking up to the results of the EU Referendum, has been like waking up in the German Democratic Republic and finding the Berlin Wall has come down. It’s looking through a mangled mess of concrete and iron, where everything that has been familiar, has now been taken away.
On the surface everything is normal, as it appeared when the Soviet Union disbanded. The traffic still rolls, people need to work and items are available to buy in shops. The civil service still functions, children still go to school, while opinions are divided on this very public vote.
The EU Referendum was by no means small and throughout the night, when votes were announced, millions of people have woken up to find there has been regime change. This change has caused the Prime Minister to announce his resignation, thrown the financial markets into question and has left people questioning their future.
England and Wales voted to Brexit, while Gibraltar, Scotland and Northern Ireland have each voted to Remain. For the first time in years, people are now discussing the reintroduction of national borders and the possibility of independence referendums, as a blow-back from the result.
Despite reassurances from Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, that all EU citizens are welcome, there is a tangible unease among British based Europeans and those from EU member Southern Ireland. There is also questioning into the future of British people resident within Europe and what their status will be, once the UK has formally left the EU.
As the Brexit has triggered the re-definition of Britain’s relationship with it’s European neighbours, there is a question relating to movement for people, goods and services having to be legally re-drawn. There are possibilities, where people can simply enter an EU country for work or leisure, now having to wait in line for a visa and even face the possibility of acceptance or rejection.
At the same time, businesses and those who trade online, may equally have to confront the reality of having to increase the price of products, to afford new import and export charges that will have to be introduced, if only for Britain to survive in a 21st century and globalised economy.
This is Britain’s Year Zero, where as a nation it’s having to take full responsibility and can no longer hide behind the culture of blaming Europe, for the decisions Parliament makes. Britain has to look at its diplomatic relationships for trade, while investing in infrastructure, language skills and providing credible trading skills, for people of all age groups.
Despite claims by many in the Brexit camp, that the EU Referendum marks Britain’s Independence Day, there is also the danger of it becoming known as a disaster for Britain. If as a consequence of reclaiming the country’s “sovereignty” back from the EU, the United Kingdom is left drifting in waters, both isolated and divided.