The Brexit Reality - Life without European Censure but at a price?
On Thursday 23rd June 2016, and in a referendum which could have potentially involved forty-six million people, the British people voted to leave the European Union albeit by a narrow margin. It's a date that shall remain prominent in the annals of history not only for the UK but for a smug and complacement union of nations who never really believed that we might actually seek departure from the increasingly federalist authoritiy that the EC has become and far different from the 'Common Market' ideology that we signed up for in 1973.
Despite greatly hiked prices in the shops, butter mountains. wine lakes, and more, we voted for a second time in 1975 to support the insane Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) at the heart of the European Economic Community (EEC) doctrine largely on the basis of improving continental farming practices. Above all else, membership was supposed to allow access to one of the largest marketplaces in the World without cross-border tarrifs or taxation resulting in greater UK employment and exports.
Britain paid a heavy price to join the EEC and even in the revamped form calling itself the European Community or EC for short, it's perfectly clear how Britain, as the third largest financial provider to EC coffers was poorly regarded in the run-up to the Brexit vote. What Prime Minister David Cameron negotiated with Brussels in advance of that crucial poll vote reminded reminded me of Chamberlain waving a worthless piece of paper shortly before World War Two began. There was nothing on that paper that guaranteed the right to refuse immigrants either in the short term or long term and I'm confident that this played a major effect on the voting patterns during the referendum. It's frustrating and annoying to realise just how close each side came to victory in their political campaigns and where the previously held Scottish Independence vote was in favour of a United Kingdom totally commited towards a United Europe. The inflexibility shown by the Europe Community to Britain and where it was needed most may yet prompt cause for other nations to reflect and pause before the entire structure and organisation comes under adverse scrutiny by the member nations.Is this the Federalist Europe that they signed up for? In the British case, clearly not, and where the provisions of the recently held Scottish referendum on the subject of independence has become moot and void since the status of the United Kingdom within Europe does not exist in current times. The map illustrated clearly shows a massive disparity between that of Scottish voters and that of English separatists and yet, Scots are supposed to accept this on the basis of the previous vote. Already, it's perfectly clear that Brexit will compel Scotand to leave the EC whether we desire such an outcome or not. We've been sold a pup rather than a fully grown race hound and that demands revisiting the notion of Scottish Independance and a new referendum based on the current criteria and before Brexit is allowed to happen.
It should become the primary purpose of Scottish politicians to ensure that the crucial referendum is presented before the formal declaration of the UK desire and before 'Article 50' is presented before the European Union. Even if this were successful, I sincerely doubt whether a separist Scottish nation will find favour withn the European Community. In many ways, the inflexibility shown by the Europe Community to Britain at a time when it was needed most, has led to this situation and may yet prompt cause for them to pause and reflect before other nations arrive at similar conclusions and elect to follow departure from a Federalist Europe that they never signed up for. If only they had stuck to the basic ideals of a 'Common Market' and trading ideal then its dubious whether Brexit could ever have become a reality. Students at Universities who were eligible to vote have complained yet examination of these figures show how many of them 'couldn't be bothered' to vote. Analysis of the voting patterns show how active participation by them could have made a major difference to the outcome.
Taking a brief look at the statistics concerning political persausion, educational levels and age with the 'remain camp' shown on the left side of the graph; one can see how those of younger age were comfortable to remain inside the EU whilst the more elderely members of UK society felt separation was a far better objective. Those of more advanced eductational status clearly felt that better opportunities awaited them within membership of the European Union. The sad thing is that far fewer young people voted than might have been expected.
It's been said that young people were denied this opportunity but its clear that it was their choice whether to vote or not. A substantial number of the latter chose not to vote so the outcome is what it is.
In my previous artiicle on the subject of Brexit, I made it clear how I was likely to vote and like many people, I seriously woke up on Friday morning expecting to hear that the vote to continue with EU membership had been victorious. It came as quite a shock to realise that the opposite had occurred. For my part, I still think the decision to leave the EU is insane and drivien by xenophobic issues concerning immigration and perceived injustices linked to unemployment, bad housing, poor educational standards and more. Despite this, we have a 'free' healthcare organisation which is unique and is the fourth largest manpower organisation in the World with only Indian Railways, the People's Liberation Army of China and Asda/Walmart exceeding that figure. We have a welfare system that many others in the World would envy but it all comes at a cost. In a country in which more of us are reaching retirement age, with many to compelled to work on beyond that age, and with fewer younger people able to fill the necessary skills gap, then any sensibly controlled immigration policy, bringing highly skilled and talented people into the national equation makes sense.
I think it was French Emperor Napoleon Bonapart who said that 'British soldiers were the finest in the World yet the worst led' and that seems to be true of the British population in current times and in the wake of the Brexit referendum. Almost in the 'blink of an eye', one of the most experienced government cabinet assemblies in recent times had broken apart despite coming to power with no money in the treasury coffers and with debts mounting in 2010. Their hastily conducted 'defence review' of one month later was risky yet well thought out for the future and where development of the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is only now starting to pay off and allowed the aircraft carrier projects 'Queen Elizabeth' and 'Prince of Wales' to proceed rather than be cancelled - and which would have led to costly expenditures and unemployment. Bit by bit, the new Conservative-Liberal Alliance began tackling national debt issues and eased the tax burden for many lesser paid workers. Sadly, the Liberal Party was crucified for its failure to deliver free tuition at Universities but I still believe that nobody would have benefitted but for the students if the Liberal influence had been absent during that period of time. I'm inclined to think that the Liberal Party coalition agreement was good for the majority rather than a few.
It's sad yet understandable that the administration led by David Cameron left suddenly 'like the captain and crew abandoning a large ship full of passengers to their own devices' yet sufficiently honest to proclaim that they were incapable of following the edict of the referendum vote and because they had no faith or conviction as to where it might lead. I can't blame them for that but it would have been far better if the transistion to the new government under Theresa May could have been handled in a less sudden and brutal fashion. David Cameron had earned International credibility whilst Theresa May was relatively unknown even to British citiizens. Four months after the Brexit vote, she still remains an enigma to many and where her decision to delay the introduction of Article 50, which officially signifies the UK decision to withdraw from the EU, will not take place until March 2017. In addition, the severe devaluation of the pound sterling following the referendum vote had prompted abandonment of the national debt repayment scheme and a long-delayed decision to renew the 'Trident' submarine defence program - another of this year of big decisions.
Against this background, one will always be left thinking what the 'left of centre' political parties were thinking about when the Labour Party chose this moment to fight among themselves and press for a new leader replacing Jeremy Corbin whose self proclaimed decision never to 'press the nuclear trigger' effectively rendered him as unfit as the 'Commander in Cheif' of the national defences. Whilst I agree with him that 'Russians love their children too' and where the majority of other races exhibit similar sentiment, I fear that some, a minority, are less squeamish when it comes to placing bombs in public places and where the reprisal and detterrent might demand more than strong words of complaint. Even US President Woodrow Wilson, a man hell bent on avoiding US military involvement during World War One, and even rode the storm surrounding the RMS Lusitania being sunk near Ireland, was eventually compelled to respond by joining the Allied forces in Europe with the aim of defeating Germany. It's been a time when the Labour Party came closing to fracture and splitting apart during a time when they ought to have been pulling together.
Turning to the youngest established political party of the United Kingdom Independence Party or UKIP for short; their main man has been Nigel Farage from the outset and it seems that his desire to step back from politics may never be entirely accomplished. It would appear that from his viewpoint, the primary objective of his political party has been attained by securing an exit vote from Europe but little else has been accomplished and suggesting that the bulk of their votes were objectional in nature against the other political parties rather than any range of positive direction and policies. According to some reports, a recent brawl occurred in which one sernior member of the party required hospital treatment and was actually planning to stand as a replacement for Nigel Farage shortly after a formerly chosen leader had been elected but then quit within weeks. Nigel Farage was compelled to return to steady the helm. The injured candidate then cancelled his membership of the party.
It's interesting to note that Northern Ireland voted narrowly to remain within the EU and this is where the frontier of EU is likely to be established in the form of border patrols and customs offices stretching across the land and re-introducing a barrier that neither side actually wants. In a recent court ruling, phrases from the 'Good Friday' agreement were quoted as confirmation of sovereingty over the lands but this was dismissed as unapplicable in the current circumstances. In some cases, it has left farmers in the border line area with fields on either side of the border with most selecting to grow crops of greater value south of the border in expectation of better prices.
It's sad to say that I've said more in the last few paragraphs than the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) Nicola Sturgeon has uttered since her rapid knee-jerk reaction and flight to Brussels to meet with European Ministers. I get the very powerful impression that she received pretty short shrift during these discusssions and prompting repetition that 'Brexit means Brexit' as quoted by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and which may go down in history as her most famous quotation. The degree of silence from the SNP has since caused one to wonder if deafness is actually a part of my condition rather than exists in actuality. Nicola Sturgeon's flight to Europe was a waste of tax payer's money!
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 belief for an Independant Nation whose income was highly reliant on North Sea Oil but I was already aware of how 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 tragically that the subsequent Brexit vote would go.
If I'm being completely honest then I've never been a great fan of European Involvement in our country and that's perhaps jaundiced because we were rejected twice by French opposition and then compelled the accept the notion of 'wine lakes, butter mountains' and more in support of the inefficient common agricultural policy meaning that prices in our British shops soared to provide income for non-profitable businesses in Europe. In return, one could journey throughout Scotland and observe the signs and decals proclaiming involvement and investment in new roads across the Highlands. By contrast, it remains strange to me how so many EU projects involved relatively minor projects rather more useful and profitable investments like the Bankfoot Roundabout Project begun in Southern Glenrothes and which was deemed as essential when Cannon moved into their factory nearby and allegedly so when the ill-fated ADC project also failed to materialise.
In the original plan, the Bankfoot Roundabout would have been raised above the A92 on two bridges but then the project was cancelled when the money ran out. It explains why the current shambolic roundabout lies in a dip from most sides and almost always with queues of traffic. Approximately three thousand six hundred vehicles commute into the town of Glenrothes each and every day and making it the highest in the county. Even on a basic level, one can see that our roads in Scotland are substantially poorer than the English counterparts. It seems that our basic problems of transportation often lie closer to that ugly building in Edinburgh rather than the European Union.