As the UK people vote today on whether to stay or leave the EU, we wish them a fair and democratic result, no matter what the outcome.
As a point of reference for scare-tactics used by both sides of the campaign, it is important to keep in mind that the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland) has been a separate sovereign state for over 300 years–with its own currency, parliament, constitution, monarchy and cultural heritage. Its membership in the present day European Union (EU) has evolved over just the past 60 years: first as a founding member of the Western European Union in 1954, the European Free Trade Association (EETA) in 1960, the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 which became the European Union (EU) in 1992, and the Treaty of Lisbon (EU constitution) in 2007.
Its membership in the EU was motivated from the beginning as a way of supporting the UK economy with free trade between EU members. The UK resisted however, the two key aspects adopted by other members, namely the common currency (Euro) and ‘Schengen’ that allows visitors to travel freely between member states without passports.
Being a dominant western power and dynamic multi-culture with some 65 million residents, who are among the wealthiest households in the world, there is zero chance that pulling back from EU membership will end the world’s interest in doing trade and business with the UK. Those insisting that the vote today is definitive one way or another are most surely overstating the matter.
The most significant impact of this referendum, is not its actual outcome, but rather the the reminder that countries can share trade and common ideals of peace and democracy, without sharing a common currency or handing over their sovereignty to external governance.
This is critical because it should serve to assure other countries like Greece, Italy and Spain, that they too could go back to their own currencies and policy-decision making and maintain trade, with or without EU membership. And they need to, in order to devalue and restore some competitive global advantage and strength in their own individual economies and employment markets.
The common currency and Schengen experiment was tried, perhaps in earnest and naivete, but by now, has clearly failed in serving the best interests of its weaker constituents. The problem is the top down politicians, policymakers and international conglomerates who have profited the most from the current EU design, are also now the most entrenched and opposed to the necessary evolution back to more localized, nation-state self-determination and decision making.
A glimpse at the primary funders behind the ‘Remain’ camp reminds of who has profited most and now has the most to lose in a less centralized EU power model. See: Official pro-European campaign is part funded by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. Here is the chart from the article. Hint: what is best for the bankers is generally, worse for the rest of us.