After four and a half tedious years, Brexit is finally only a few days away. With or without a deal, we finally seem to be leaving.
Much talked about the damage a vote would do to Brexit before the referendum. We were told we would plunge into recession and become the dwarf of European garbage. It’s important to remember that the predictions of doom weren’t just for the time of our departure. I still remember George Osborne, Ed Balls and Vince Cable standing in front of an airplane and telling us that the day would begin after a vote on the economic crash. Of course not, and in more or less every way the economy and prosperity of this country continued to grow. Fear of Brexit did not let investors and industries flee as we were told.
Last week, Brexit was back in the news, and the end of the transition was fast approaching. For a year now we have been subject to European rules without a say (nothing new) and now we can finally enact our own laws, regulate (or deregulate) our own industries and decide who catches our fish. Every time I open the BBC News app I see a new prediction of doom. So far we have not been able to go on vacation to Europe, eat soft cheese and of course cause unspeakable damage to the economy.
There is little doubt that Brexit will have an impact on the economy, changes always and the time of adaptation to the new regulations. Hopefully there will be a deal, but if not, imports will offset the export tariffs and the business will adjust as it always has. What confuses me, however, is that the amount of people we see now how Brexit will ruin the economy and our lives have been silent for the past nine months. For the past nine months the government has been printing money in bulk and shutting down entire industries to solve all sorts of future problems. Now they’ve either slept for nine months, they don’t understand the basic economy, or they don’t really care about the economy at all and just want a smoking gun aimed at Brexit. I suspect it will be the third option for most people, but for some it might be all three! I’m not saying that all Brexit critics should have been lockdown skeptics, but not even questioning the money tree economy of 2020 is telling.
Hope I’m wrong, but let me make my prediction for the next few months. Brexit will happen deal or no deal, this may or may not affect the economy. The impact will be short-term, minor, and difficult to measure amid a much larger recession. In March the vacation will end, millions of people will not find a job to return to because their employers have at best made cuts or, at worst, have perished due to months of lack of income. Unemployment will rise. By spring enough people will be vaccinated for a bit of normalcy and the shops, restaurants and cafes will be full and all of the printed money currently piled in people’s bank accounts will flow into the economy and inflation will come . People’s savings diminish as their money is less and poverty increases. Once all of this is done I can almost guarantee that some people, and probably many, will turn around and say – look at the damage Brexit has caused! We can’t let that happen; We cannot allow a real economic crisis to be confused with a people’s will to sovereignty and freedom.
What frustrates me the most is when self-righteous politicians show up, as Alistair Campbell did on Politics Live, declaring, “This is not what people voted for.” – Yes it is. Those who strived for freedom on June 23, 2016 were aware of the risk. For months they were verbally abused with predictions of ruin, that Brexit meant to wallow in poverty for the rest of the time without the nurturing love of the ever benevolent European Union. They chose not to listen to these fortune dealers, they decided that the risk was worth it, they saw what was possible when they looked beyond the coasts of Europe into the world, knowing that it made no economic sense to be chained to an economic bloc in decline. I think they are right, they may not be, but they are not supposed to understand or know what Brexit means and the possible consequences are deeply offensive.
We should be confident about Britain’s future as an independent nation. It is time for people to stop digging for reasons that are moving to the EU and for the greatest democratic exercise of our lives to be honored. Roll on December 31st!
James is studying Politics, Sociology and Eastern European Studies at University College London for the last year and is interested in a range of social and political issues.