Punk, I’ve changed my mind; we need to Brexit

Sometimes in life you get a wake up call, like emerging from a dream or being hard slapped. This is one of them; it’s right, it’s overdue. 

When the news broke, myself, my friends on Facebook and the ones I get alone with on Twitter were fairly unanimous in our fury at the #Brexit result. Well why, and why didn’t we see it coming, we are supposed to be the educated ones. Why did these other voters want out? I spoke with a solicitor before the vote; he was Brexit, people at the golf club, Brexit. If only we could have gotten rid of these people we could have avoided getting the wrong answer. If. 

These people didn’t just believe in Brexit, they were strongly Brexit, and they are not stupid. The ones I spoke to are generally sensible people. What is it that drove them to risk our nation’s economy, what a stupid thing to risk. 

But eventually I came to the question which demands an answer. Why didn’t Brussels ask us if wanted to open our doors to the people of Eastern Europe. Why not? It’s a massive choice, it could change the face of the country for ever. There are other questions like this that we were never asked, but this is the one that hits me. 

Fifteen years ago, I worked in Rolls-Royce, when our man in Brussels came back from there one day, and explained to me, in bewilderment, that Brussels was intending to open Britain’s borders to several European populations. There was going to be a lull before it happened, but it was going to happen. We both rolled our eyes in horror, not because we don’t like Europeans, but because we both felt it wouldn’t wash, and could be a disaster. Given enough head we could become inundated with Eastern Europeans: it was bloody obvious. But they didn’t ask us. If they had, Britain would have said NO. 
The reason they didn’t ask us is that our wishes are an inconvenience to the EU. They didn’t want the obvious answer.

A further question warrants an answer: why did all the educated classes get so cross once the Brexit vote came through. You can point to the economic risk, we might be poorer. But isn’t it that we were quite comfortable with having the good side: the access for our children to work in Europe, our access to possible villas in France, access to cheap Romanian car washers, a boiler fixed. 

How middle class is that? How overly indulged. We were happy to let slip democracy for our own self gratification. Really?

Brussels was never going to stop ignoring us; they could continue throwing us gratifying morsels which they decided were for our own good and we would stay happily silent. However, the great British electorate were not wholly getting or seeing these indulgences and now they have had their say and they have voted for democracy. The big Fuck Off vote of the century. The Punk Rock moment of voting. We deserve what we have got and Brussels deserves what it has lead itself into. They were right, I was wrong, let’s #Brexit for democracy.

I furiously voted Remain but Brexit will be fine, if not irrelevant. 

I’ve had more time think about this than you and have decided Brexit is going to be fine, in fact it’s going to be irrelevant. I actuality, I’m writing this 8 hours ahead of you, from Perth, Western Australia. As the voting results came in, I sat through your night horrified that my country was about to ruin itself by leaving the EU, but I was wrong, it’s not, it will be fine. 

As the result became clear, I could hardly contain myself and wrote angry things on screens and uploaded them. But, let us consider what bothers me, and it’s not the lying, both sides lied and we need to forget that and consider what matters to the country’s future now we Brexit.

There are two things which concern me: economy and immigration. I want the economy to carry on without a great Thatcherite obliteration of fine British people like I experienced 20 years ago trying to bring up a family and pay a mortgage at 14.5% interest rate. Remain voters and Brexit voters both want this. Secondly I want us to have many more immigrants than we have now and to treat them with the utmost dignity, they are after all helping our country with its economic and employment requirements. Both of these things are almost certainly going to happen, and it’s what Remain voters voted for. The fact that many votets thought they would magically dissolve immigrants and we would go back to jolly white old Britain was naive and stupid of them. I think you will find Boris said “control our borders”. He didn’t say shut them to immigrants, what’s your problem, it’s what Remain wanted too. 

We need to be sensitive on the immigration issue as people get confused with what it means. Is it people seeking asylum from persecution, or economic migrants looking for employment or about allowing our own British people to be rude and racist to others of foreign habits? My wife trains French, German and Spanish students to be teachers of modern languages in British schools. I am a professional engineer and know that few British youngsters read engineering at university, and for our engineering industry to continue we need to regularly hire students from Europe and outside Europe. If we stop immigrating young people to do these jobs the jobs will not get done, children will not learn and our industries will falter, our friends from other countries will not have jobs. 

All Remain and many Brexit voters want this, the only issue is that some Brexit voters think they are going to get fewer immigrants. They don’t understand that Britain is an old age pensioner lop sided population. It has too few indigenous young people coming through to fuel the economy which pays for the NHS bills of the very same pensioners who voted for Brexit. We need to sell the idea of allowing immigrants to the voters who think they are going to get fewer, it’s what Remain voters want. The way to sell it to them is to say “yes we are having immigrants, but these ones will be controlled under a new British regulatory system”. You may even suggest that we retain the right to throw out immigrants under these to-be-defined regulations, but need to consider if that deal will attract the sort of immigrants the country wants. In other words immigration will be the same as before the referendum, but immigrants will fill in a new UK form. Remain voters will get what they wanted. 

The second concern is the economy: will there be an economic meltdown with thousands of job losses as a result of business withdrawn. It seems, and it’s early days, that the stock market thinks not. Yes it wobbled but it recovered. This means the detail profit models which are run and scrutinised for each business on the stock mark have concluded that withdrawal from the largest business market in the world is not going to materially change British business prospects. Or in other words being in or out of the EU makes no difference to business. This is surprising, but not completely surprising, business did not suddenly boom when we joined the EU and it’s not going to falter when we leave: we will still sell stuff in or out. If anything you were mistaken into thinking EU membership was any more than emporers clothes. 

So the two main issues carry on as before. What else is there? My friends in Europe being let down and hurt, I’m embarrassed? Simple: good friends don’t ask for money and your pride will heal. 

Like I say, business as usual, nothing significant has happened other you realising it isn’t materially going to change anything. 


Indian Ocean waves at dusk.