Important to understand why Brexit
Need for planning for the difficult times ahead
Things can improve in the long run
“Brexit” means Britain leaving the European Union (EU). The EU countries are in one common tariff area. Tariffs are customs and duties imposed on imports and exports by governments. So, within the EU, goods and people move around freely. UK has voted to leave the EU and many, including some very senior politicians, keep confusing that simple fact.
It was understood when the idea of a Common Market was conceived that the process would inevitably evolve towards some sort of European Union with a harmonised economic, monetary, legal/regulatory and political system that would create a super state. That process would not be easily reversible. Yet, the politicians have always been pretending otherwise. UK was always half-hearted about the EU’s final destination. It is like the child who wants to eat the cake and have it as well!
We have seen control for running the country passing on from the UK Parliament and the Government to the remote central EU institutions. The labour migratory consequences of bringing in a large number Eastern European (less developed) countries were ignored for trade gains.
So when even senior politicians talk about leaving the EU while remaining within the EU tariff area, they do not make much sense. The starting position is that the UK will leave the EU and, with that, there will be no longer an unrestricted flow of goods, services, capital and people. Those who are pushing the negotiators one way or the other at the outset are not helping matters. However, it is possible to strike all sorts of special deals during the negotiations which allow concessions on both sides. (I am speaking from personal experience of tariffs and related negotiations.)
The central issue is the free flow of labour or people from the EU to the UK. The trigger for the referendum has been the mass migration of displaced people from the war-devastated countries of the Middle East and the flow of economic and political migrants from other countries and especially the African continent. When oil reserves of the Middle Eastern countries run out or there is a massive switch to other forms of fuel and energy, the mismanagement and waste of the oil production countries will result in further mobility of people from these countries to the greener pastures in the West.
Brexit and what lies ahead is likely to affect every household in the UK. Jobs are no longer as secure as they used to be during our working lives even though British Sikhs continue to do well in most fields. There is little doubt that households and communities, including the British Sikhs, will face some serious challenges in the next few years. British Sikhs are in a position to help own community and others by creating employment through successful businesses.
Reflection on some of the difficult times ahead and raising awareness of possible post-Brexit scenarios through seminars and Sikh TV discussions can help towards preparation and a positive approach.
Gurmukh Singh OBE