As stated in the headline of this article, I've deliberately taken a lot of time to consider the potential consequences of the Brexit decision. It's allowed me to see how quickly David Cameron abdicated his position as Prime Minister despite former claims that he would stay irrespective of the vote. It's allowed me to see total breakdown of the Labour Party and where the contest for leadership is probably moot. It's allowed me to see Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP embarrass herself and her party on a European scale and confirming that once we're out then that will include Scotland too. It's alowed me to see that we're in a false dawn period whilst Article 44 concerning EU departure remains in abeyance. Ideally, from my perspective, i sincerely hope that it remains this way for many years since the damage done to the British economy is already considerable. Before Brexit, sterling equated to about one dollar sixty-six on average but has since fallen to about one dollar twelve: great for exports if the product being sold is wholly of British manufacture but elsewise challenging. In Japan, a country with the worst debt record on the planet, they'd have been delighted by such news since they've been trying to acheive similar results for decades without success. In true British style, we've attained that status within days of the Brexit vote and forced the Bank of England to reduce interest rates to almost non-existant rates. It bodes well for the UK in the short term interlude in which we are currently existing within but what of the medium and longer term? How will multinational companies regard Britain in the future if it fails to secure similar trading agreements with the remaining contingents of the EC? Even before these questions have been asked, France has overtaken Britain in the global comparision of economic states and has relegated Britiain to its former status of being in sixth place. Thus far, and even before the hard discussions of trade agreements has begun; the news has been negative and self inflicted.
In the run-up and prelude to the Brexit vote, there was considerable debates about the status of Switzerland and Norway as regards the EU. In early 2017, Switzerland is due to lose that former status whilst Norway remains compelled to pay huge sums into EC coffers in order to retain its trading status with the EU and much in the same way that the UK already contributes as a member of the EU. Does anyone seriously expect that to change in an agreement to secure a trade deal with Europe? In similar ways, the former fishing rights to our coastal regions were sold off to Europe when we joined in 1972 and invited all and sundry to plunder the waters around our coast. Are we sufficiently naive to maintain that right in order to secure trade agreements with Europe? I could cite many more examples and enough to fill a tome with more pages than the most books ever published. In terms of law, by example, there might be 800,000 revisions to make as a consequence of EU departure. In a previous article, I warned of the dangers concerning TTIP involving the EC but in the new reality in which securing a new trade agreement with the USA, this hazard has now become magnified.
At present, we're presented with a glass either 'half full' or 'half empty' depending upon your point of view. In my optimistic mode, I can see British manufacturing flourish with high technology products like never before and with exports to all parts of the World and in which high value currency exchanges are involved. Sadly, my viewpoint is tempered by the notion of a country more akin to poorly paid workers assembling goods for minimal wages with the latter becoming more probable. Even before Brexit, there's plenty of evidence to support the latter view with former 'industrial estates' reduced to 'trading estate' status. It's a sign that, as if any were needed, we aren't sufficiently productive or efficient in the World when we are compared to others. Getting to the former position will demand investment in technology, recruitment and training to high standards and long term encouragement to retain staff until retiirement age. The big question is who might pay for this and the effects on company shares and pensions.
It's sad to say that I've said more in the last few paragraphs than Nicola Sturgeon has uttered since her return to meet with European Ministers. It's my impression that she received pretty short shrift during these discusssions and prompting the major degree of silence that we haven't heard since. In many ways, the 'Scottish Independence' vote has queered the pitch and making the current situation far more complex and difficult. Looking back, I might have changed my own beleif in the Union and elected for an Independant Nation whose income was highly reliant on North Sea Oil before foreign interferance largely originating from OPEC countries might have made us destitute and broke. At the time, I thought this was a lucky escape but never imagined how the subsequent Brexit vote would go.
Having said that and in the wake of the 'Independance Vote' it's shocking to see how many roads in Scotland are in urgent need to repair compared with that of Northern England. In addition, it remains strange to me how so many EU projects involved Highland Projects compared to the Bankfoot Roundabout Project begun in Southern Glenrothes with the lofty objective of creating a roundabout on two bridges above the A92 yet ended with a roundabout with raised parapets intended for these bridges yet never built because the money ran out! Companies like Cannon and ADC based their decisions to invest in Glenrothes and partially based upon the completion of that project! In current times, Glenrothes has the highest influx of motoring commuters in Fife region and yet lacks this facility while EU investment in the Highlands never had a chance of generating equal wealth opportunitties. Our basic problems of transportation often lie closer to that ugly building in Edinburgh rather than the European Union.
More to follow soon.