Well, it’s official. The UK has decided by the slimmest of majorities to leave the EU. Or at least parts of the UK have decided it. And only some of the age groups. But on the whole, it appears that more people were afraid than not. So what does this mean for the EU, the UK, and the rest of the world. Well, for most of the world, not a whole lot to be fair. Most places won’t be affected by what happens when a tiny island nation decides to leave a group of bully nations that have been kicking the smaller members around. Most places have their own shit to deal with, most of which has been run-off effect from the actions of previous generations of those same bully countries foreign policies, and of course that little island nation too. But it will affect some people, a small percentage to be sure. First, all those holiday-home owning Brits will have to sell and vacate their lovely Spanish villa’s, which will probably cause a fall in house prices in Spain and Portugal, after all the French and Italians aren’t going to move to Spain when they have their own Mediterranean coastline to live in. Tourism will drop as well, which could impact several EU countries unfortunately, no longer will it be as easy as jumping on a flight to France for a weekend of skiing, now you’ll need a visa (though it could be simple, with EU and UK maintaining visa-free status for tourist visas). The UK will want to revive it’s failing economy, failing even more so now thanks Brexit, imports will be taxed on EU manufactured goods I suspect, though what will replace those goods? The UK manufacturing industry has struggled since being dismantled in the Thatcher years, it will take an enormous investment to get it back to a standard to provide the UK with goods. Will the UK seek to reinvent the Commonwealth? Who would join with them, I can see Australia and New Zealand seeking ties with a resurgent UK, more for nostalgia sake than actual economic advantage (JKs new slogan, let’s make NZ great again). Canada, hard to say, recently it has looked more to the US than the UK for approval. Economically there would be a market for raw materials in the UK, with Scandinavian lumber being taxed, Canadian lumber could fill the gap, and since the US doesn’t like our lumber, it would prove a boon to the economy. I see Eastern Canada being more approving of greater UK-Can relations than Western Canada. But the rest of the former Commonwealth, where would they sit? I can’t see India, Pakistan, nor Bangladesh being too eager to jump on the glory-days bandwagon, with a growing Asia-Pacific economy, they are at the front to profit from that, a turn back to the Commonwealth would put them in a slow decline. The African and Caribbean nations could do well from an agreement, providing they are calling the shots, not the UK. If they could get the UK to wipe debts off the books, and provide infrastructure, then it would be a winning situation for them, however, if the succumb to quick money and no localized control, then it would be a spiralling descent downward.
As for the residents of the UK, well, already Scotland is looking at another referendum on leaving the UK, Ireland is looking at plans to incorporate Northern Ireland (as they too voted to stay in the EU). Earlier this year the UK implemented sweeping immigration reforms, creating salary floors required to stay within the UK, many public sector jobs fall under those floors, as do jobs in rural regions. With leaving the EU this puts many more jobs at risk, especially in the public sector. The NHS is already dangerously short of nursing staff, with all but the highest paid nurses making below the immigration ceiling it will be harder to fill positions vacated by leaving EU nationals. Same is true in teaching positions. Cameron was already on pace to dismantle the NHS, is this one more nail in the coffin? The Brexiters will say ‘well, we want British nurses in British hospitals!’, but the fact remains that there are not enough British nurses to fill those positions as it is, and with University costs trending upwards, less will enter into caring professions that are so valuable to our lives that we pay them as little as possible.
It remains to be seen just how much this vote will affect people, certainly some will be worse off, new migrants to the UK, who speak English, may well have to learn another language in order to move yet again, uprooting family, transporting their networks of family, friends, and colleagues to various destinations in the EU. It also ruins my own plans of obtaining an EU passport to study in the UK, but then again, many EU universities are cheaper and the quality of education is just as good.