I feel I should rant.
The Brexit vote stunned us all.
Even though the outcome was expected to be close, the final opinion polls had pointed to a narrow victory for Remain in Europe, and was given a mighty blow when the real outcome stuck at Leave!
Britain’s decision to leave the EU is the biggest assault on the unity of Europe since World War Two!
I’m not shocked anymore just angry, and bitterly surprised, at how close we came to establishing common sense with Vote Remain, on the UK’s EU referendum!
As a result of the appalling outcome, the British Prime Minister – David Cameron - had no choice but to resign.
And so he should!
I don’t usually write about politics on my blog, but what an idiot!
David Cameron will be remembered as the man who orchestrated the split of 369 years of the Scottish joint establishment with the United Kingdom, and probably go down in history as the person who began the wave of the breakdown, and fracture, of a 43 year international relationship with our neighbours – members of the European Union!
To get my reaction, I was pretty much everywhere last week, making one statement after another, in this or that form of media.
But the one that I liked the most was the lovely TV news piece that I did with a German TV station called Deutsche Welle (DW), which is one of the world’s biggest international broadcasters, providing a broad picture of political and cultural life in Europe. A bit like the BBC, but mainly about Germany!
I was contacted by the Culture Department who wanted to do a piece for their TV magazine – Euromaxx. They wanted to talk to well-known British people who live in Berlin and to record our response to the awful outcome of the referendum.
It wasn’t a happy outcome!
But you know, I’m a professional and so with my shoulders back and my head held high, I put on a pretty dress and went for my TV interview.
I think I did a good job!
This referendum was a complete and utter mess, and revealed the multiple cracks in a disunited kingdom – London and cosmopolitan, intellectual, middle class, younger Britain, on one side, and rural, provincial, working class, old-age pensioner England on the other.
I’m so glad that I live in Germany right now!
On the assumption that the people have spoken, and democracy has taken effect, Britain will have to live with the political, constitutional, diplomatic, and economic consequences, and that starts with the shockwaves effect of other European nations calling for the same thing, and thus, creating a domino effect.
A referendum was held on Thursday June 23rd, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain, in the European Union.
Leave won by 52% to 48%.
HOW DID PEOPLE VOTE?
Both England and Wales voted strongly for Brexit, whilst Scotland and Northern Ireland both backed staying in the EU. I’m proud to say that both Manchester and London voted for Remain.
On paper. Nothing!
There’s no need for anyone to panic just yet!
It all depends on negotiations with the other EU member states. As I told you last week, no nation-state has ever left the EU except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!
However, the first goal is to calm everyone down!
The financial market is all in a frenzy, Europeans are wearing shrouds and the Americans are having a bit of a laugh at our expense!
For the UK to leave the EU it has to invoke an agreement called Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Once this is invoked, the formal legal process of EU separation will begin. Britain will have two (2) years to negotiate its withdrawal.
This article was only written up in late 2009 and hasn’t been tested, so no-one really knows how the Brexit process will work.
EU law still stands in the UK until it ceases being a member – and that process could take some time. Until then, the UK will continue to abide by EU treaties and laws, but not take part in any decision-making, as it negotiates a withdrawal agreement, and the terms of its relationship with the now 27 nation bloc!
WHAT ABOUT UK CITIZENS WORKING IN THE EU?
If the UK remains within the single market, it would almost certainly retain free movement rights, allowing UK citizens to work in the EU and vice versa. However, if the UK opted to impose work permit restrictions, then other countries could reciprocate, meaning Brits would probably have to apply for visas in order to work.
Working in the EU could become more difficult for UK expats, if host countries ask them to comply with more restrictive rules when it comes to permits, and setting up businesses. They may lose their automatic right to work within the EU area, and be asked to apply for Blue Cards.
It’s very unlikely that people already living and working abroad will be sent back to the UK, but it could become substantially more difficult for new expats to find work on the Continent, due to employment laws in 15 member nations, which states that non-EU citizens can only be hired, if no other suitable candidate has been found within the EU area.
WHAT ABOUT EU CITIZENS WORKING IN THE UK?
Again, it depends.
If the UK decides to introduce a work permit system (as it applies to non-EU citizens), then entry will be limited to skilled workers, in professions where there are shortages.
WILL A VISA BE NEEDED WHEN TRAVELLING OR ON VACATION?
Highly unlikely as the tourist pound will always be welcome.
British citizens can already visit many non-EU countries for up to 90 days without needing a visa, so it’s possible that such arrangements could be negotiated with European countries.
WILL A BRITISH PASSPORT STILL BE VALID AS A DOCUMENT?
It is a British document – there is no such thing as an EU passport, so it will stay the same although in theory, the government could, decide to change the colour, which is currently standardised – red – for EU nations.
WHAT’S THIS SINGLE MARKET MALARKEY?
The European Union single market developed in 1992, allows the free movement of goods, services, money, and people, within the European Union, as if it were a single country.
The idea was to boost trade, create jobs, and lower prices. However, it requires a common law to ensure products are made to the same technical standards and level of quality and expectation. Critics say it generates too many petty regulations, and robs members of control over their own nations. Other critics state mass migration (free movement) as having been abused by poorer East European countries who flock to wealthier West European nations.
HAS ANY MEMBER STATE EVER LEFT THE EU?
No nation-state has ever left the EU. Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SCOTLAND?
Scotland’s First Minister – Nicola Sturgeon – is very unhappy, and said that it is “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland faces being taken out of the EU, when it voted to Remain, and that a second independence referendum for Scotland is “highly likely!”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR NORTHERN IRELAND?
Deputy First Minister – Martin McGuinness – said the impact in Northern Ireland would be “very profound,” and that the complete island of Ireland, should now be able to vote on reunification with the Irish Republic!
BRITISH POLITICS – WHICH WAY FORWARD?
The next Prime Minister is likely to be Boris Johnson.
What lies ahead is a complicated renegotiation of our relationship with our closest neighbours and most important markets. The talks with EU leaders will require seriousness, finesse, diplomacy and a capacity for building trusting relationships. It will also require flexibility.
On the other hand, we could become like Norway!
WHAT IS THE NORWAY OPTION?
Experts believe that the UK could follow the Norwegian initiative which is not to be a member state of the European Union (EU), but to have a close association through membership in the European Economic Area (EEA).
EEA membership gives Norway full access to the EU’s internal market, allowing it to trade goods with EU states without customs fees, except food and drink, which is subsidised by the EU. Iceland and Liechtenstein are also members of the EEA.
In return for that access, Norway is obliged to implement all the EU’s laws relating to the internal market implementing about three-quarters of all EU legislation, including the working time directive.
ANY OTHER OPTION?
We could of course, go all the way, cut our losses, and opt out of any EU association completely, trading as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which deals with the global rules of trade between nations. However, experts agree that this is definitely not the way forward, and would only lead to an economic crisis.
On the other hand, Britain could choose to be like Switzerland, which is not a member state of the European Union either but has a slightly more “hands off” relationship with the EU! In this case, relations between Switzerland and the European Union are framed by a series of bilateral treaties that allow Switzerland to participate in trading agreements.
In short, having our cake and eating it!
THE BIRTH OF “NEW BRITAIN”?
I doubt it!
The United Kingdom itself could break apart and begin the disintegration of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales – all countries who formed that most beautiful nation – otherwise known as the United Kingdom!
The leaders of Leave might have won the Referendum, but they have not won the battle, instead they have opened Pandora’s Box, and by doing so, unleashed profound economic instability, crushed relations with our closest allies, toppled a prime minister, and jeopardized the unity of the United Kingdom!
Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what?
Quite frankly, in the political mess that we find ourselves, nobody is a winner!
So Britain has left the EU. And most of us didn’t want to.
We can leave the EU, but we can’t quit Europe.
Because Europe is our continent.
We’ve got a stiff upper lip.
We won’t let those leaders determine our future with Europe.
We’ll somehow make it through.
Haven’t we always!
This article is not sponsored, and all opinions connected to this most important referendum, are my very own!
Next week, I’ll be writing about my love for Europe!
I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week from June 28th – July 1st.
I’ll also be attending an Exclusive Food Tour with Fork & Walk on Wednesday, August 10th.
Save the Date!
July is going to be sunny!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in July, you’re missing all the fun!
Watch this space!
See you in Berlin.