The problem with change is that it is much easier to be aware of irritation or worse consequences as a result of it, than it is of the good things that emerge, often later on (or that is how it seems). Any change in a nation or even in a local area is usually caused by men and women somewhere else who make decisions on our behalf. We can rail against them verbally and as we are often told, we can get rid of them at the next election (not a realistic choice most of the time in my experience). However when the change comes as a result of our own decisions and if that change has a direct bearing on other people around us, then the issue is how do we look people in the eye who may have strongly advocated another point of view. How do we cope with the fact that one persons ‘better judgement’ at the time has led to immense difficulties for others that they see or correspond with every day. Politicians get used to the rough and tumble of win some lose some. However most of us do not, we have not developed a teflon exterior with our friends. When the Scots voted to remain in the UK, essentially nothing changed and so slowly people returned to going about their lives the way they usually do. The same when we chose to reject the Alternative Vote. Unfortunately we are not able to say that about the referendum on Thursday.
The sorts of change that emerged within hours as many said they would include:
- Standard and Poor and Moody credit rating agencies are both suggesting our credit rating is to be downgraded. This will lead to more expensive borrowing on international money markets. At present our National Debt is £1.7 Trillion so a minute increase in the debt costs will make the EU net payments appear to be very modest and affordable and increase the need for the austerity budget which George Osborne threatened and was criticised for.
- Losses incurred in the stock market, particularly those companies in the FTSE250 which are predominantly British Companies and will affect ordinary investors as much as it will impact institutions. The loss so far is £25Bn. Although some of this will hopefully be recovered it would pay for our EU membership for 3 years.
- The cost of a depressed Sterling, even though it has bounced back somewhat during the day means that our petrol and almost every other commodity will cost us more at least in the short term. The benefit is that British goods will be more attractive overseas which will help some businesses, and we will be a more attractive place for overseas visitors (an unintended consequence one assumes!)
- The request by Natacha Bouchart, the Mayor of Calais to her Government to make changes to the deal with the UK over the issues surrounding the Channel Tunnel and the Calais ferry routes is both reasonable and predictable. That people like Liam Fox and Michael Gove dismissed this is proof that they are unfit to lead our nation. However any change will have a direct bearing on Kent.
- The various pledges by those leaders of the Brexit campaign regarding money paid to the EU are possibly best summed up in this clip of Nigel Farage admitting at the end of the piece that he was ostracised by the Leave camp and so the lies were someone elses fault
Clearly the first few days problems will soon be forgotten and the long term impact is far from certain, if there is a bit of volatility in the price of petrol etc and a few job losses, few people will know or care as we move forward. The fact that the 3M people from the EU are now feeling uncertain about their future may be more significant as the Health Service and Education are already under pressure and early leavers may be hard to replace. The point is that as we meet our neighbours in the Street or correspond with friends, we will not be able to blame our Government or even the EU for any problems that may occur. It is us who made this change and we have to face that fact. Politicians will certainly be quick to do as Nigel Farage did on that clip and blame others, and eventually the finger will be pointing in our direction. The question is are we ready for that?