Sunday, 6 December 2015

Playing right into their hands?

Would the flag continue to wave at Brussels for long?



Disclaimer: I haven't had the time to read too deep into the subject, and the post is solely based on whatever I've casually read till date, I shall post a more detailed article on the subject when the reality is nearer.

I recently read an article which said that for the first time, a majority of the British people favoured an exit from the European Union, in the upcoming referendum following David Cameron's promise if re-elected to power. The immediate cause stated for the change of mind amongst the public was the tragedy that took place in Paris last month and that is what made me confused, as to whether we're giving in to what the perpetrators of the attacks wanted - a weaker UK, a weaker Europe.

The present decade, post the EU crisis has seen a rise in support for the Eurosceptics, especially the UKIP, who despite managing to win just one seat, is in fact the third largest party in the UK by vote share whose sole ideology is an immediate exit from the EU. Post the release of the results of this survey, Nigel Farage might have been celebrating privately but then - are we, inadvertently giving in to the plot of the perpetrators?

Brexit is not a new subject and has always been a discussion where the trends have been similar to the Scottish Independence Referendum where a silent majority opposed the idea but the loud minority were a significant number (refer to my earlier post on Noise or Voice) and all that you need to swing it in favour of the loud significant minority is ONE event and that is exactly what the perpetrators of the Paris attacks perhaps intended - rattle Europe, cause fear and distrust amongst the member nations and the last of it, provide a fillip to the Brexit movement ultimately weakening the Union.

Britain is isolated within Europe and historically, they could use this isolation to their advantage by controlling the seas but in the present era, it is doubtful whether that can still work, but that apart, there are a lot of ramifications on a Brexit - for starters, a significant drop in GDP upto 3% is estimated owing to a Brexit and I am not going to dwell on this too much as the exact figures are always under dispute. As Obama said earlier during a Brexit debate, the special relationship with a strong UK in a very strong Europe and not otherwise and hence, the special relationship with the US is under threat with a Brexit in prospect. Moreover, from what I understand, it could also threaten London's position as Europe's financial centre, with the speculation that many companies possibly moving to other locations within Europe and also, there is also the question of the relationship with the Netherlands, Malta and Cyprus who have significant trade interests in the UK.

But before I go too much into the isolation part of it - there are very little answers to the question from the Eurosceptics as to what would happen post Brexit, if it were to happen, except the very loose suggestion from Nigel Farage that he'd increase cooperation with the non-contiguous Commonwealth. The question to whether this would just be an exit from the EU or whether this would imply an exit from the EEA as well and the Council of Europe / the customs union are questions that don't have very precise answers - would UK continue to be a de facto member akin to Switzerland and Norway or are they going to isolate themselves totally? If UK is going to stay in the EEA, I guess Brexit is a mere symbolism where there would be no real result except that probably, Farage would have moved a step closer to No. 10. Moreover, what about the other complications - the UK have themselves aligned to the Maastricht Treaty in every way possible and if the government wants to repeal that, how long would such legislations take, driving the very question on when a real Brexit can practically happen? I wouldn't even get into the debate as to which side should Cameron be on, for the campaign as, members of his party have been on either sides and if an exit does happen, what would a subsequent Labour government which is pro Union do post being elected to power, if it happens?

Let me not get too much into technical details for two reasons - one; whatever I know is only out of what I have read casually from the papers that I get in a distant land and two; the technical aspects are certainly not the core discussion at Harrods or Hyde Park, it'd be all about how EU is the reason for the Paris attack and how moving out of it would secure Britain from all possible attacks. There is also the popular sentiment that the Romanians and the Bulgarians would stop grabbing British jobs and the dole.

But then, with a Brexit - we're just going to show that we've just made ourselves vulnerable, there would obviously be chaos for a while when one EU 3 member leaves the union and of course, this is exactly the opportunity that the perpetrators are probably looking for and we've played right into their hands, by swinging in favour of the result they want which is something that we should avoid at all costs.

This is a time when Europe ought to be together, the reason why Paris could get back strongly was not in spite of the Union but because of the Union (I know that this statement is a rip off from Gordon Brown), with the cooperation from Belgium, Greece and other member states alike and the enemy is common, even for Britain and it is the perpetrators of the Paris attack and not the European Union. This is a time where unity is required, more than ever, not just in Europe but throughout the world and more countries need to come together than break away. May there be success against the perpetrators of the Paris attacks and may the success of a joint European operation bring kill the Eurosceptic sentiment.

Long live Europe!

Have a nice day,
Andy

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