The majority in the UK has voted to leave the EU. It is not a massive majority of the country, but it is the majority of those who voted in the referendum. This referendum result presents a victory of the Leave camp and UKIP that has been campaigning to leave the EU for a long time now.
However, what is very disturbing is that it is the Leave camp that now wants to stay and figure things out. Are they saying they did not have a plan, and do not know what to do now? All we heard during the campaign from UKIP and the Leave campaign is that the EU needs UK and promises that a good trade deal will be achieved without ever saying how, which is something the Leavers were doing throughout the campaign, i.e. giving very vague statements, and ignoring the fact the EU can hardly waive the freedom of movement rule that goes together with the freedom of trade, because many countries would then vote to leave the EU and chose to take the free trade agreement only.
These vague promises now continue despite lowering of country’s credit rating and announcements of corporations and the financial industry on moving their businesses to the continent. The promises of trading with the whole world are continuing without any plan on how this is exactly to be achieved. This was all to be expected because no reasonable person ever believed that UKIP or the Leave campaign had a detailed plan on how to continue after the Leave vote in order not to damage the economy.
I expected all of the above, but what I find shocking is the following. Some public campaigners for the Leave vote are now saying they never said the free movement of people will be abolished but simply controlled, which is not how it sounded during the campaign when they were persistently insisting that numbers will be cut down to tens of thousands, which is against the freedom of movement treaties of the EU.
We already heard that the suggestion on the EU membership money going to NHS was campaign propaganda, or “a mistake” as Nigel Farage has put it saying it should have been communicated differently and trying to distance himself from promising money to the NHS even though there are videos confirming he did say so.
What is also surprising now is the amount of activism and denial from the side of those who voted to leave, i.e. some of them are continuing to campaign to convince the others leaving was a good decision, even though the decision has been made and there is no need for further campaigning, while some went to social media to cry they did not understand what they were voting for.
All these statements are ridiculous, unnecessary and quite sad. If people are not fully informed to make a decision, they should not go to cast votes because their decisions affect millions who might know what they are doing when casting their votes to either side. On the other hand, those who voted to leave should understand that Remainers are disappointed and angry and let them blow their anger out before they accept what has happened and not bully them with demands to get on with it. They will get on with it, but certainly not within a day or two.
In the same way, being jubilee that the economy did not crash even though it has been three days since the referendum is entirely unreasonable because nobody in the Remain camp said that the economy will crash or that anything negative will happen immediately. It is yet to be seen what will happen, and all economic theories and history of economy clearly teach there may be consequences if the UK fails to remain in the single market of the EU. And no matter what people voted for in the referendum, free trade goes together with the freedom of movement.
What annoys me are attacks against David Cameron for calling for the referendum in the first place, coming from both the EU and the UK. As we know, the main focus of UKIP and then the Leave campaign was immigration and if demands for EU referendum were not met the immigration concern had a potential to turn into open hatred and racism against the EU citizens living in the country. Obviously, both UKIP and Leave voters were swearing they have nothing against the EU citizens who already live here but simply want to get the control and slash numbers, however, this is not true. Persistent insisting on cutting down the numbers and placing immigration at the heart of the EU referendum debate absolutely testifies that the major focus of the Leave campaign was on immigration, and that majority of people who voted for Brexit predominantly voted against the immigration from the EU.
If some people have genuinely believed that they are taking back the control, which they previously did not have, then they were ill informed about the nature of UK’s membership in the EU. The UK has never joined Schengen agreement, and as such the UK had a chance to control its borders more than any other country that joined the Schengen agreement. The fact this was not always enacted is another story, however, it has little to do with the EU. The UK also always had a vetoing power in the EU and it has used that right many times to stop changes that were not in line with UK’s interest. The EU even agreed to take the UK out of the closer Union and accepted pound as an official currency of the EU along with Euro, and changes to the distribution of UK benefits were also accepted. All these stories of taking the control back still pushed by the Leave camp and UKIP are nothing but populism, just like the promise that the money from the membership will go to NHS while a place in trade will be preserved.
As we know Switzerland and Norway are paying an access to the free market and they allow free immigration. The answer to this is always that the UK can trade with the rest of the world and that the EU needs UK more than the UK needs the EU. Fair enough if this is true, but a detailed explanation on how the trade with the rest of the world will work as well as detailed figures on trade that confirm this would be quite handy in current situation when the Leave camp is facing criticism.
Nevertheless, what is crucial now is to negotiate exit, and I agree that a Brexit Prime Minister should manage the negotiation. I agree that it is not David Cameron who should now deal with tough negotiations but those who supported the Leave, and I do not think it was surprising or inappropriate for him to resign from the position. Since fundamental treaties of the EU link freedom of movement with freedom of trade, it is crucial for Leavers to negotiate the future trade agreement with the EU. Unlikely for members of UKIP that claim the UK would get a good trade deal because the UK is so crucial to the EU, I am not sure the EU can afford to waive the freedom of movement requirement because many countries will call for referendums to leave the EU. Nevertheless, Norway and Switzerland could immediately ask for their agreements to be amended accordingly because they are complying with EU regulations in exchange for the free trade after their citizens voted against joining the EU.
Therefore, when UKIP says a trade deal can be easily negotiated this is not based on any current EU treaty unless the Leavers (such as for example Dan Hannan who is now advocating Norway style of relations) mean staying in the current single market and allowing further immigration without having a say on who comes in or deciding on the numbers (as freedom of movement is not limited in any EU treaty expect for the initial period when a new country joins the EU), but leaving the EU in a sense of not being part of the stronger and more dependant EU. However, due to some media articles it does not seem that all Leavers want this. Nevertheless, if one reads some comments on the media articles it is quite obvious that many people who voted to leave want the immigration to be cut and controlled, and limit access to the health care and benefits for those who do come to work here. People are saying this quite openly, and this was the message of the Leave campaign they voted for:
This is against the fundamental principles of the EU, and signals from the EU at present do not show that the EU is willing to give up from fundamental principles of the EU based on freedom of movement, freedom of trade and solidarity.
This is why Brexiters (and I would add along with someone from UKIP) must lead the negotiations with the EU. In that case, it will be Brexiters who will either have to give up from the access to the single market that has a potential to severely damage economy of the country, or remain with the single market and use the economic benefits of the access while allowing further immigration. In this scenario they will also have to agree to continue to comply with EU regulations and pay into the budget, but they will be exempted from the political union or having a say in new regulations. In even more words, they will get what David Cameron negotiated anyway and accomplish nothing other than losing power to make any changes from within or block unwanted regulations. However, this is precisely why Brexiters and UKIP must be involved in negotiations with the EU.
The UK must be set free from UKIP and divisions it created in otherwise kind and inclusive society. If UKIP is pushed aside in negotiations and not faced with the decision making process, they will clearly continue their work of creating divisions and giving unclear promises. As a result the UK will fall into even more divisions and history teaches us this must be stopped at every cost.
Thank you for reading.