Back in 1984 singer Kirsty MacColl recorded a single which includes the lyrics ‘I don’t want to change the world, I’m not looking for a new England’ but thirty two years later the British people made clear that they were looking for a change. The future of the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) literally changed overnight and people woke up to a ‘New England’.
On 23rd June 2016 it was announced that the UK has voted to leave the EU (also known as Brexit). The results said 51.9% voted out and 48.1% voted to remain. The out-vote won by 2%.
Thursday’s referendum saw Scotland, London, Brighton and Northern Ireland vote in favour of Remain while England and Wales voted Out. Scotland announced they want to hold a second referendum to become an independent country and of course they want to remain in the EU. The outcome of the referendum has expanded the rifts between town and country, children and parents, Scotland and England. People are speculating that Northern Ireland and/or Wales may want to leave the UK too.
Where will the UK be in two years time? This referendum was about remaining or leaving the EU. Looking at the status quo you wonder what people thought what they were voting for.
On 1 January 1973 the United Kingdom joined the EEC (European Economic Community). As a result of the Maastricht Treaty, the EEC became the EU (European Union) on 1 November 1993. The EU started as an economic union but it has evolved into a political union (hence the name change). In 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron rejected calls for a referendum on the UK’s EU membership but in 2013 he announced that a Conservative government would hold a remain or out referendum on EU membership before the end of 2017, if he would be re-elected in 2015.
After the referendum results in 2016 Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation and two members of the Labour party have submitted a motion of no confidence against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The EU wants the UK to get out of the EU as soon as possible but MP Boris Johnson said was there was “no need for haste” in beginning the process of negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU and insisted that the result of the referendum did not represent a retreat into isolationism and that Britain would remain a “great European power”.
The banks based in London could move outside the UK and rival financial centres like Amsterdam and Frankfurt would benefit. In France Calais wants changes to a deal which allows Britain to carry out immigration checks on the French side of the English Channel, after a UK vote to leave the EU.
Trading arrangements between the UK and EU may also be subject to renegotiations. During the negotiation period the UK could be trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. That would mean UK exporters may be paying new EU import tariffs and facing non-tariff barriers. The UK would also be likely to lose their preferential access to the EU single market.
Free trade deals that the EU negotiated with 53 countries will no longer apply to the UK and they would have to renegotiate with those countries.
The agriculture in the UK is intensive and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 1.6% of the labour force. Around two-thirds of production is devoted to livestock, one-third to arable crops. But please note that farmers are currently subsidised by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. The UK retains a reduced fishing industry and it is also rich in a number of natural resources including coal, petroleum, natural gas and salt (just to name a few of them). England is known to produce some of the best cars in the market. Some of the car brands produced in the UK include Aston Martin, Bentley, Invicta, Land Rover, Jaguar, Morgan and McLaren. Car manufacturer Rolls Royce is still based in Chichester.
The UK also has as a wine-industry and there are nearly 400 commercial vineyards in England, from Cornwall to Suffolk and Haywards Heath to Yorkshire producing wine. For the beer lovers there’s the Harvey’s brewery in Lewes which is renowned throughout the South East of England for its wonderful range of traditional ales. Ridgeview in Ditchling (near Brighton) is a family company dedicated to the production of the highest quality sparkling wine and they’re the proud winners of numerous international sparkling wine trophies.
Over the next two years this may all be subject to renegotiations but the best thing for now is to get on with it. The UK will not leave the EU immediately. The UK is still a member of the EU and will probably remain so for several years. David Cameron said the government would respect the result and carry out the instructions of the British people, reassuring the 2.9 million EU citizens in the UK that they will not be adversely affected.
So that’s where I stand as an EU citizen. I will not be adversely affected by the leave-vote. In 2001 I’ve moved from the Netherlands to the UK and I have enjoyed living and working here ever since.
The Treaty on the functioning of the EU rights apply to me as an EU citizen, but will the same rights apply to me in the UK in two years time? Will these rights apply to you in the future as a UK citizen after the UK has left the EU?
Today it was announced that people want a second referendum on UK’s membership. One of the petitions of the EU tops one million signatures, after the vote to leave.
Can it be done or is too late?