Divorce, British style

To be or not to be, that is the Brexit.

Early next year, we all get to watch the Super Bowl — the pinnacle of American hype and glory. The world cup of American football! I can hardly contain my excitement — or at least, if I knew the first thing about the game I would hardly be able to contain my excitement.

More entertaining was the British Hyper Bole — the completely over hyped, hyperbolic media frenzied commentary about the Britain vote to leave the European Union. As with all modern day media, the pendulum swings to extremes and this was no different.

In a close race, people whined about what is really a majority. They whined about the geographic nature of the split in voting between the rich and the poor. They whined about not being able to travel Europe freely anymore.

They whined. A lot.

As an ex-pat with Irish heritage, I was part of the reason for a spike in searching for an Irish passport.

I got caught up in the frenzy. The Irish government is dealing with a spike in passport applications of 4,000 a day compared to the usual 200 per day.

What I found interesting was the dialogue of the younger generation in my family who were eloquent in discussing the merits of continuing to work to improve the EU rather than dump it.

They felt the merit for them to stay in the Union was stronger than departing. I was proud of my family for largely taking a conciliatory approach to the conversation.

But the vote went the other way and the proverbial sky started falling, or so we were led to believe.

Even Sir Richard Branson made a last-ditch attempt to save the Union with a video a few days before. As much as I admire Sir Richard, I have to wonder how much of his opinion was purely business motivated due to increased landing fees at European airports.

I understand my parents’ viewpoint that the country is bucking under the weight of forced immigration from the EU. Because of the socialist system that Britain loves, many immigrants are drawn to the welfare cheques that can help them settle in.

Many other people have also taken advantage of the welfare cheques, putting pressure on the UK treasury. 

British jails are full with a large proportion of inmates coming from elsewhere in Europe. The British taxpayers feel they pick up that tab. They may be right, but there are benefits to being in the EU too, some of them monetary.

The dialogue before the referendum was largely self-centred with various politicians and leaders angling to get to the trough or create a trough.

Margaret Thatcher decried the decision to join the EU many years ago and accurately predicted a duplicate layer of bureaucracy that would not serve Britain’s interests terribly well.

What does it mean to the average Brit? Well, they now have to show a passport to get into Europe, at which point they can travel through Europe freely.

Is all the whining really about taking a passport on holiday? 

It may mean that economically the U.K. will be on its back foot for a little while. But remember where this tiny island has been before. It is still an important financial centre, and will remain so whether it is in or out of the EU.

It will still export expertise, products and services to other countries and it will, as always in difficult times, rise to the occasion and sort everything out.

Our grandparents would remind us of the difficult times they went through if we would bother to listen. 

That is the very nature of the U.K. It will pull together (eventually) face the opportunity and create a new path to economic sustainability. 

The largest mistake was that the dialogue was never about the solution if there was an exit so now, there is a lot of head scratching to do. Thanks goodness they have Mark Carney to guide them … our loss!

As a postscript, I did find it more than slightly amusing that the Canadian prime minister came straight out and indicated that he would continue to build relationships with the U.K. even though they may not be in the EU… good for him. Perhaps he forgot that the queen is in fact, the queen of Canada.

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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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