Brexit: Is it Really Just Hobson’s Choice?

11.05.2016.

Brexit

You might think that the last thing you need is another voice adding to the clamour of the Great Brexit Debate. Surely we have heard all the arguments already, from all sides, on all the pros and cons. But I truly feel that we are being sorely misled if we think the choice that is being offered to the British voting public is the one that is being shown to us. And I feel the time is right for me to speak out on this subject.

As the CEO of a company that operates internationally and which has clients from the UK, Europe and beyond, I don’t feel that any of us is being well-served by either side of the campaign.  Both the Remain and Leave campaigns are focusing on the advantages as they want us to see them from their side and happily glossing over the issues and problems caused by a vote in their favour. Here’s my summary of what is being said to us and what is actually behind the debate:-

The “In” crowd, led by big names in the government and industry have produced figures showing how we are financially better off staying inside Europe and leaving will damage the wallet of each and every citizen as we struggle to broker new trade agreements to match what we have within Europe.  What they have chosen not to mention is that the old idea of Europe as a cohesive mutually beneficial group of countries was lost long ago in currency issues, gaping differences between national economies and mired in the engine of bureaucracy that is Brussels. The idea that we can fix Europe in the short term is simply not true and most voters know this – so why not admit it and confirm that it will take quite a long time to reform Europe and emphasise what part Britain can play in this process rather than gloss it over and pretend that it will be alright.

The Brexiters pushing the idea of a newly-liberated, autonomous UK which the rest of the world will be queuing up to trade with, unfettered by rules from Brussels, are frankly being untruthful if they don’t acknowledge the sheer cost of exit from the largest trading block in the world. They are not mentioning that Scotland will almost certainly leave the UK if this is to happen and large questions would hang over Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom whilst Eire and Scotland were able to trade from within Europe.   Other inconvenient facts would be that the UK housing market would certainly crash as international investors left the UK and most international firms would not want to open factories in what was left of the U.K.  I believe that the economic downturn within the UK would be permanent as investors swap an island of 60 million for a market place of 500 million. Maybe the price is worth paying for democratic sovereignty: why can’t the Brexit politicians acknowledge the economic costs of leaving so voters can make informed decisions.

So really it seems we are not being given a choice at all: stay and continue to hand over the reins of our government or leave and suffer an uncertain financial future for years to come.  So which way do we jump – towards principle or pragmatism? After all it’s really just Hobson’s choice!

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