For better or for worse, the U.K. voted for Brexit. Firstly, everyone has to get over it. A majority of the people spoke, and they were heard. There will not be a second referendum. The U.K. is leaving the European Union. For whatever reason, the delusional belief that this can be reversed still lingers.
However, this does not need to be a divisive topic by itself. It does not matter if you were the most ardent supporter of “Remain” or have been an Eurosceptic for decades, we all must come together and hope for the best “divorce” deal possible. We must further understand that there may come a point in the U.K–EU negotiations where the EU is offering unacceptable deals. Whether it be terrible trade terms or anything less than full control of our borders, we must be prepared to walk away.
We should not walk away because it may be an effective negotiation strategy, but because, as Prime Minister Theresa May so eloquently puts it, “no deal is better than a bad deal.” The EU referendum focused on sovereignty: the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) was the Independence Party after all. Surrendering our independence to an overly bureaucratic, unelected organization again would be unfaithful to British voters and downright undemocratic.
Furthermore, a bad deal may cause the U.K. to end up in a worse situation than before the vote. If the EU demands that we comply with all of their legislation for access to the single market, then it will not be worth it. Before Brexit, no matter how overreaching and un-British the EU legislation was, we still had a say in its crafting. Going forward, this will not be the case. If the goal of Brexit is to restore national sovereignty, then this situation will be a failure and national humiliation. No citizen wants the U.K. to become an obedient subject of the EU.
ASL Students seem to agree. According to a recent poll of 145 students conducted by The Standard, over 10 percent more students agreed that a no deal scenario would be favorable if the EU was being unreasonable. The U.K.’s future without a deal, however, is not a bad scenario Our trade with the EU is important, but we can still maintain that trade without a specific trade deal with the customs union; the U.S. does and, until recently, Canada did too.
Frankly, statisticians and most economists underestimate the resilience of the U.K. economy, and cannot anticipate any policy put in place by our government once we leave. For example, if there is a concern about losing workers from the EU, a solution is to open up the U.K. to those workers again or others, but through our immigration system rather than a superstate. Among youth, particularly in London, Brexit is regarded with such negativity. I will be the first to admit that membership within EU did have some benefits, and that leaving will have its drawbacks. But we should greet this new opportunity with excitement instead of pessimism, for there is so much to gain: we can have trade deals suited to our needs rather than Europe’s, endeavor to change our nation without the input of a massive bureaucracy and decide who can live within our borders.
An exit without a deal could have implications for the student body. If the U.K.’s immigration policy is not dictated by the EU, and EU citizens are not granted the right to remain, many students and students will have to get visas or leave. Businesses may also deem the U.K. as inconvenient for holding a European office and decide to move inside the common market. However, these two outcomes depend not on a hard Brexit, but on the government’s policy after a hard Brexit.
With all of the speculative negatives it may be hard to stay optimistic. But underestimating this country is indeed a mistake. For this is the country that sparked the industrial revolution, that ruled over a third of the world, that birthed modern liberalism and then defended those values in two colossal world wars. For a small island off of the biggest landmass on Earth, that is a pretty thorough résumé. Britain has and will continue to thrive; her people have proved resilient, adaptable and successful time and time again.
The EU drags down the U.K. It is dysfunctional, has massive regional imbalances, is faced with an immigration crisis and its currency, which is very much at the center of the organization, is a disaster. Furthermore, the EU is incapable of handling any of these issues. Be glad we are leaving, and be optimistic about our future. Let us remember that while we are leaving the EU, we are not leaving Europe.
Written by Staff Writer Jonathan Philips