Brexit or Bust…!

Dr. Andrew Taylor (University of Hull), Ph.D. in property rights and environmental conflict, writes about the most important European issue of this moment – Brexit. First of all, „How did we get here?”. Philosophically, the Anglo-American model of the State is quite different from the European State.

Brexit_in_flags

Sursă foto: © Vexels GroovyGraphics / Wikimedia Commons

by Andrew Taylor, Adhoc-Andy.blogspot.ro

Derived from Hobbes and Locke, it is rooted in a belief that man is, at core, evil and government exists primarily to protect us from ourselves. For the British relationships with the State are based upon a contract, whereby citizens grant authority to the government in exchange for guarantees to protect life, liberty and property. As Margaret Thatcher discovered, whilst trying to impose a new tax upon property, governments that are perceived to have failed to honour this contract swiftly pay the price. There can be no doubt that a large number of people perceive the EU as a threat to their liberty. This contrasts with the European model, derived from Rousseau, who believed that people are basically good, but corrupted by their environment. Thus the job of the European States is to manage and improve the society, with individual rights taking second place to the achievement of that objective.

Sociologically, Britain exhibits an island mentality, characterized by a resistance to distant authority. As maps of how different regions voted have shown, however, the strength of this feeling and the direction of its expression has revealed a highly fractured country. London voted to continue its leading international role. Scotland expressed its preference for rules made in Brussels to those made in London. Northern Ireland voted for continued EU financial aid and an open border with Eire. Whilst England Wales, beyond London, both turned their back on Brussels and revealed the disconnect between London and its governing elite, which increasingly are perceived to have more in common with elites in other global cities than with their own people.

As a Guardian columnist wrote immediately before the vote whilst it may be true that East Europeans are willing to do jobs for the minimum wage that the British are not, does that say something about the need for immigration or the exploitative nature of capitalism. Instead of bringing immigrants, he argued, we should consider paying a more realistic wage to start with.

Historically Britain has had a foreign policy based upon keeping out of European Affairs, only entering the fray when one state tries to dominate others. A cynical observer, such as that best captured in the satirical comedy Yes Minister!, might describe such an approach as divide and rule. Unable to make any further mess of the project from the inside the British have decided that the utility of membership has expired! True, or not, alongside the rise of skepticism across the continent combined with a series of overlapping crises, the British have drawn a line under the period of ever deeper political integration.

For both the Euro crisis that engulfed Greece and the immigration crisis flowing from the Middle East are rooted in the same problem. You cannot have a open borders policy or a common currency without a common policy on immigration and finance. To imagine otherwise has been shown to be folly. Yet such policies would be highly political in nature and could only work with some sort of federal agreement. It is this; a United States of Europe, led by an unaccountable self-serving elite, rooted in a communitarian view of the State that the British have turned their back upon. A willingness to trade freely and cooperate they have not. However, such was the awful level of the debate served up by Britain’s leaders that such nuances were lost in the reactionary mud slinging of false and exaggerated statistics.

What does this mean?

Although he was mocked for raising this point during the campaign the one thing that Cameron did get right was the historical fact that whenever Europe has not been united the result has been conflict. Let us hope we have learned our lesson!

For the Union of nations that is the United Kingdom, it is hard to escape the feeling that this is the end. Scotland will get the referendum it seeks and it will vote into the EU and out of the UK. Whilst Republicans in Northern Ireland are demanding unification with the South and Unionists will be forced to choose between their historical allegiance to London and their immediate economic interests in EU subsidies and grants. Brexit may yet have achieved what 30 years of conflict in Ireland could not – national unity. Yet equally it could be sufficient to re-ignite the conflict.

For business, in the short term, nothing much will change, beyond a devalued Pound, which will suit British exporters anyway. In the long term it simply isn’t clear. As Britain is primarily a service based economy now, the EU has more to lose from a trade war and anyway access to London as the leading centre for global finance cannot be ignored. Equally Britain needs access to European markets to sell its services. I am minded of an article that appeared in The Independent newspaper arguing that the result of the referendum would make little difference: depending upon your point of view Britain will only need to accept EU rules where it wishes, or alternatively Britain will have to follow the rules without being able to influence them.

For education things are more clear cut and the news does not look good. EU students will be very unlikely to gain access to the British student loans scheme to cover their fees. There will be significantly less Erasmus exchanges and the ability of British Universities to participate in large pan-European research projects will be far less. Equally the EU will lose direct access to the second largest group, after America, of premier league Universities. British Universities, that have sought to become global education providers and invested heavily in European recruitment, are deeply concerned about how they will make up the shortfall in in finances and student numbers.

(…)

What is most remarkable of all is that the Leave campaign was won without ever outlining any kind of positive vision of the future for Britain. It was an entirely negative campaign. This does not make it wrong, but it does create a vacuum, which some sort of new vision of the future will be required to fill. We can only hope that it does not come from the likes of Mr. Farage.

Read the full story on Adhoc-Andy.blogspot.ro.

About the author

andrew taylor 2016

Dr. Andrew Taylor

Dr. Andrew Taylor, headhunter, management consultant, learning facilitator and business school lecturer (University of Hull), has a Ph.D. in property rights and environmental conflict from the University of Cardiff, Wales. Andrew has worked across the world for a wide range of multinational clients such as Coca-Cola, Holcim, AIG, PwC, GSK, Deloitte, Orange, Volksbank, ING, Vodafone, IKEA, Avon, Ipsos, Microsoft and many more. He is the founder of Connect CEE (consulting) and Endike Associates (executive search).

He has also written widely for current affairs magazines, academic journals and recently published his first book, as the main author: Taking Care Of Business: Innovation, Ethics & Sustainability (Cluj-Napoca, Romania, RoPrint 2013).

He lectures HRM on the Hull University global eMBA, at locations around the world, and successfully project managed the launch of an eMBA, as a cooperation between Hull University and UBB Cluj, including the recruitment of 28 students for the programme.

Recommended Posts
Thomas Alva EdisonBogdan Rusu lat