Cyprus Mail
Guest ColumnistOpinion

The UK voted for uncertainty

Newspapers are displayed for sale the day after Britain voted to leave the EU

By Steven G. Traylor

The headlines read: ‘EU leaders demand quick UK exit as economic fallout grows’, where as the rest of us are still coming to terms with ‘what happened’ on the 23rd and we begin to comprehend the fact, the UK will really, really, really withdraw from the European Union.

This is a Union the UK was the leader in the ‘sign up’ world of 1973 for the ‘benefit of a common economic block’.
“Britons decided (on Thursday) that they want to leave the European Union, so it doesn’t make any sense to wait until October to try to negotiate the terms of their departure,” European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said. “I would like to get started immediately.”

This is not going to be easy for the British government, as David Cameron boasts’ ‘the world’s fifth largest economy’’ two days after the longest day of the year; the sun is truly beginning to set on the United Kingdom, now becoming a political outsider of the world’s largest trading block – the European Union.

The nearly 52% of UK citizens that voted for a Brexit will not find themselves in a easy task when negotiating with the European Commission representing some 27 remaining member states – and seeking more over the next few years.

This majority of UK voters apparently did not hear what President Obama said with David Cameron by his side, when last in London, if UK were to leave the EU “that would send UK to the back of the queue for any trade deals with the US. We’re negotiating trade deals with the EU”.

It seems to this observer that the Breixt crowd was fixed on the immigration issue and overlooked the long term consequences of a short term problem, which could have been dealt with in a number of different ways, that didn’t cost 100% of the citizens economic uncertainly which is the future for the United Kingdom.

Don’t forget also, a Pandora’s Box has been opened with Scottish leaders speaking about a second referendum, and Northern Ireland thinking similar thoughts as well. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is forming an advisory panel to look into legal, economic and diplomatic points in how to deal with the EU and telling the UK that all options are on the table regarding Scotland’s future. Noted Sturgeon, it was “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland is being taken out of the EU against its will.

The final vote on Thursday saw most young – urban London – Scotland and Northern Ireland part of the ‘in’ column and rural – older Brits throughout the UK selecting the ‘leave’ box at the voting booth, and not fully understanding the consequences of the ‘out’ vote. Was it simply political protest? Was it fear from Brussels? Was it some believe, a return to the past? These and other question will take quite some time to answer, in the meantime, the United Kingdom sets itself on a road not before traveled, and very uncertain for its long future.

By Saturday afternoon, some 2.7 million people had signed a petition on the official UK Parliament website, seeking possible re-vote according to the BBC. Only a 100,000 signature threshold is needed to force a debate on the issue by members of Parliament, but has no legal requirements on the members of Parliament to comply.

Amid last week’s vote to get this ‘out’ show on the road, credit agency Moody’s announced a downgrade of the United Kingdom’s credit outlook to negative, a prolonged period of uncertainty for the UK, with negative implications for the country’s medium-term growth outlook, said Moody’s. This is but some the beginnings for the UK’s foreseeable future and it won’t get better anytime soon, it will only get worse.

In the mean time, ‘Long live the Queen’ will still be heard. Unfortunately, those listening won’t much care to hear that tune, as the UK prepares to move to the back of the queue when dealing with the rest of the integrated world of Europe and beyond, now that the true colors of the Union Jack are revealed.

It seems Humpty Dumpty will never come back together, again.

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