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2 August, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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UK requires a new reality check on Brexit

Dithering along in the current manner will only invite further shocks
Mohammad Al Asoom
UK requires a new reality check on Brexit

There is a vast gap in opinion between political parties and organisations, and even within each party and organisation. The national party that led the Brexit vote by frightening voters over issues such as migration now is in retreat and saying, “Brexit is probably a mistake that needs to be reconsidered ...”.

The former business secretary Vince Cable thinks Brexit may not happen despite discussions having started. Many are now criticising the performance of Brexit Minister David Davis for not having a clear programme for the negotiations.

Under this situation, the UK economy suffers from severe consequences even before the conclusion of the negotiations that are expected to take two years. The pound sterling is at its lowest in years, and the financial sector is experiencing uncertainty due to a lack of clarity and conflicting stands, and given that the two rounds of negotiations have further complicated the issue.

No guarantee

Obviously, the cost of Brexit was not estimated appropriately before conducting the referendum. France said the Brexit cost has touched 100 billion euros, an amount that is difficult for the UK to afford it in view of the current economic situation.

In addition, there is no guarantee that Britain will remain a member of the common market as is the case with Switzerland that is a non-member of the EU. Or even with Turkey, which is exempt from customs duties.

As for the issue of immigrants that has contributed significantly to the outcome of the Brexit vote, the facts are not as promoted by Brexit supporters.

In fact, 850, 000 immigrants in the UK came from countries that recently joined the EU and who were exempt from entry visas and allowed to work. The overwhelming majority of them came from Poland. There are the children who were born to the immigrants but not counted as migrants, which means they will get British citizenship.

Additionally, these migrants constitute 80 per cent of the workforce in the hotel and restaurant sector. This clearly means that their Brexit will lead to the collapse of this sector, and noting that the Britons do not work in these activities.

These indicate a host of accumulated mistakes. Former prime minister David Cameron, who resigned despite a strong performance, made the first mistake. His call for a referendum to leave the EU was meaningless. The current Prime Minister Theresa May repeated the same mistakes when she called for new elections in June during which she lost a parliamentary majority. The elections were proved to be worthless.

Comprehensive assessment

The question is how to get out of this impasse; will Britain leave the EU or remain a member? This question sounds reasonable after the UK found the costs and losses from Brexit.

Being in the EU means power for its members, especially if it is accompanied by profitable economic integration for everyone.

The solution lies in conducting a comprehensive assessment of the costs and put the facts before voters and then call for a new referendum. This will lead to a decisive outcome on Brexit, help correct previous mistakes, and save UK’s face.

The writer is a UAE economic expert and specialist in economic and social development in the UAE and the GCC countries

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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