Like millions of others I followed the Brexit Fallout live. First results brought mild surprise. This turned to consternation then shock.
“Probably the most disastrous single event in British history since the second world war.” Martin Wolf, Saturday’s Financial Times
Brexit Fallout Means Divorce
This is all in sharp contrast four weeks ago at a dinner in London when I had an upbeat conversation.
“London is on fire,” enthused my dinner partner, “the city is so exciting. There are more cranes here than in Shanghai. No city in Europe has this kind of energy and development.”
That was May this is June. Now multinationals are preparing to move and “the world’s most costly messiest divorce” is imminent.
Founding Fathers included Schuman, Churchill and Adenauer
Eleven visionary leaders inspired the creation of the European Union. The goal was for a peaceful, united, prosperous Europe after two devastating wars.
In 1963 President Charles de Gaulle of France laid out impossible conditions for British entry. That drove my father through the roof.
Forget the South of France
Growing up in England we enjoyed summer holidays in warmer Mediterranean countries. After crossing the channel we drove through France enjoying wine regions and Provence. Not in 1963 after De Gaulle’s dictum.
That year father announced we would not spend one franc in France. The car was filled at Dover, mother had a huge picnic basket and after the usual “brandy to settle the constitution” on the channel ferry, father drove furiously from Calais to the Swiss border. My parents were supporters of the EU concept. I wonder what they would think of the Brexit Fallout?
The Morning After Brexit Fallout
Amid market and Global tumult, Prime Minister David Cameron resigning, yards of Tweets, acres of ink and non-stop talking heads, Friday was for me and many others, an unsettled day.
Who voted Leave and who wanted to Remain?
A howl of protest came from the North of England and from areas of stagnant growth with dead-end jobs. The status quo, perceived London elitism, immigration and globalization all fueled a leave vote.
Understandable rankling resentment of bureaucratic dictates and perceived interference from Brussels, especially in farming and fishing practices, fueled more leave votes.
Days of the Empire? Really?
There were many leaves in my generation who did not grow up in the EU.
“I am afraid it is the oldies who have done all the damage, harking back to times when we had an empire…times that can never come again. I weep for the younger generations, ” Dorset Grandmother
“Younger Generation Vents Fury at Older Voters” – Saturday Financial Times
Under-25’s—the better educated, Londoners, Scots and Northern Irish—wanted to remain, is the poll analysis.
“The Wrinklies have done it,” ran an Australian headline. “You have got to be kidding me?” was a recurring younger set Tweet the morning after.
Tony Blair: Sunday morning Quarterback
“I believed that Britain’s future lay in Europe…the immediate impact..is economic. The lasting effect may be political with global implications….Labour supporters did not get a clear message from their leader Jeremy Corbyn.” Tony Blair
Blair continues, “They (thought) Brexit would bring an end to …immigration problems, and..flatlining incomes..they saw Brexit as an opportunity to register an anti-government protest.
Those in political center were demonized as out-of-touch elites. Immigrants were described as a bunch of scroungers…in reality migrants from Eastern Europe contribute far more in taxes than they take in welfare.”
Astonishing revelations from Google Trends are that as the Brexit vote numbers were being counted major UK Google questions were:
What is the EU? and What happens if we leave the EU? Were voters truly aware of the consequences? One woman quoted in the Financial Times said: “I just put all that (voter information) in the bin”.
The Future after Brexit Fallout?
Tony Blair: “The challenges of globalization cannot be met by isolationism or shutting borders.”
“Britain is a strong country with a resilient people and energy and creativity in abundance. I don’t doubt Britons capacity to come through…but the stress on the UK is already apparent.”
With Prime Minister David Cameron gone, Boris Johnson, aka BoJo, is odds on favorite to take over – but that will not be sorted until October. He did a brilliant job as Mayor of London and with the 2012 Olympics. He is a brilliant intellectual man.
“Up all night waiting, shock and horror. No one thought this was possible, and if we can be stupid, so can US, (and) elect HIM….”
My worry is that Brexit Fallout will cause a brain drain, the kind we had before the days of the EU. Will the best, brightest and most educated young people who voted to stay, in fact leave for better opportunity abroad.
I no longer live in England and did not vote, but I am British and care deeply. Generations of men in our family fought for England. This pending divorce makes my heart very sad.