First off full disclosure: I have a Belgian wife, two half-Belgian children and travel regularly to Brussels to visit friends and family. I was born in Paris to British parents who, perhaps ahead of their time, spent several years living and working on the continent. I speak two European languages (badly to passably) and enjoy the freedom of travelling through Europe unencumbered by national borders. I was virtually born a Europhile, as good as married into the EU and was in the ‘Remain’ camp before there even was such a thing.
I was however hugely disappointed by Cameron’s failure to secure any kind of meaningful ‘deal’ in his negotiations with EU. The disappointment was not so much with our Prime Minister as the EU themselves. The organisation is badly in need of reform so surely a threat to quit by their second biggest economy was a huge chance to take the first steps. The answer however was a resounding NEIN, and this ongoing ability of EU politicians to carry on kicking the can down the road, often for their own personal and national agendas, is highly frustrating.
Despite this I believe the UK must remain a part of the EU. We’re part of Europe whether we like it or not. Our biggest trading block is barely 20 miles away, our fortunes are inevitably tied to theirs and we need to remain as influential as possible. We no longer need to worry about ‘ever closer union’, surely now revealed as an impossible goal by everything from the ongoing Greek debacle to disparate reactions to the refugee crises. While politically impossible to admit for now at least, if anything the EU needs to take a step or two back and become a little less integrated. When these changes do come as they inevitably must, the whole of Europe will be better off for the UK being involved.
Back to the more personal reasons for wanting to stay in the EU, I simply do not need the inevitable economic turmoil which would occur in the short to medium term. No one seems to dispute the first year or two would be difficult and rather fraught. Even if I did believe the long-term benefits would eventually outweigh this for the economy as a whole, as a business owner in the City I need stability to plan, grow, create jobs and be successful. Our sector has gone through enough over the last 8 years and I am not inclined to literally vote for more drama!
I’m also confident this is view shared by most of the British public. The polls in Scotland swung dramatically towards ‘Leave’ in the closing stages, only for the referendum itself to swing decisively in the other direction. I was living in Australia when they were debating whether to dump the Queen as Head of State and become a republic. While there was huge passion to do so the eventual referendum in 1999 was a resounding vote for the status quo. Even on the relatively trivial matter of changing their national flag to the iconic Silver Fern earlier this year, New Zealanders rejected change in favour of sticking with the Union Jack. It’s a cliché because it’s true- people do not like change and I do not expect our EU referendum to be any different.
The whole debate has taken up a huge amount of time, energy and focus. It seems every politician in the country has done nothing for months but campaigning on one side or the other. Assuming I’m right and remain wins out this means there’ll be one further economic concept to debate: Opportunity Cost!
Sentifi – Brexit Widget
Rob Gill is a finance professional with experience and qualifications in both the retail and investment banking sides of finance and the founding director at London-based mortgage broker Coreco Group. Having built a reputation for providing financial advice to High Net Worth individuals, he is now concentrating on building Coreco as a business and a brand with the same ethos of quality, professional advice and service. He can be reach via Twitter @ and via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robgill1.
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