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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 9 July 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 JULY 2016 23 OPINION Demonstrators rally in London on June 24 in support of immigrants after Britain voted to leave the European Union in a historic referendum. PHOTO: KYODO. Brexit: A former UK resident comments Why Brexit is sure to have a knock-on effect BILLY COTSIS As a Greek citizen and former resident of London with many fond memories, I was saddened by the confirmation of a Brexit on June 24. The pollsters had predicted a victory for the Remain campaign, and after the appalling assassination of pro-EU and humanitarian MP Jo Cox several days prior, it seemed that the UK would indeed vote to stay. But the result gave way to a new real- ity, with only 48.1 per cent of those who voted opting to stay with the EU. London, the global multicultural capital, of course understood the benefits of remaining, and with a similarly European heart, so too did Scotland and Northern Ireland. The campaign, led by what can only be described as the 'demagogue' Boris Johnson and the far right anti-immigration UK Independence Party, was enough for the smaller cities and countryside to vote to take back 'independence', and stop the 'hysterical' wave of migration. I found it interesting that many Britons and swathes of the media attributed ‘uncontrolled migration’ to the EU, while forgetting about the Commonwealth and its migrants from every country. The sun never set on the British Empire, and nor should it on migration where the benefits have been obvious. Why not kick everyone out? Well, the UK prospers precisely because of migrants. Conversely, mainly retirees and older Britons seem to migrate to Spain and the wider Mediterranean. How will the British economy handle the reverse trend of them coming back? The skills and the work ethic of EU migrants have helped shape London and the UK as a colossus, with low unemployment, a growing economy and until the vote, a strong pound. The direct benefit was seen in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), which had the potential to become a depression for the UK. But it was capital from London that served as a barrier, while the Reserve Bank of Britain simultaneously pumped out hundreds of billions of dollars to keep the economy afloat. And of course, Scotland will seek to leave Britain, which will likely cause troubles in Northern Ireland as this time Scotland will gain independence, creating a knock on effect. As expected, Spain immediately agitated for Gibraltar, because they do such an amazing job with their African enclaves (sarcasm intended). Labour under the current leader Jeremy Corbyn proved to be unwilling to fight for the common good of the UK and the EU; hopefully he will step aside. David Cameron, on the other hand, is on another planet, and he knows it. The plebiscite was never going to produce a strong result for the powerful and conservative media, and the undemocratic House of Lords would always seek to disentangle the UK. I remember a slogan I came across in the UK years ago: ‘British jobs for British people’. Ironically, many of those jobs are created by the EU marketplace. But to be fair, I am no fan of the leadership in Brussels myself. Their disgraceful dealings with Greece and Cyprus during economic hardships are cause for a renewed look at how the EU operates. I find these power-hungry suits to be a joke, in the same class as Batman's nemesis the Joker, for they seem unwilling to forgive a Greek debt for which they are in part responsible. But it will take until 2019 to extricate team Great Britain from the EU, and if enough non-Xenophic pressure is created you never know, you may just witness another plebiscite (fingers crossed). Scotland is already invoking the cloak of its own parliament to block Brexit, but it is unlikely this will succeed as Westminster will of course overrule. Cameron will likely not invoke the clause to commence Brexit; it will instead be someone who takes over the clown's chair in October (I have no respect for a prime minister who seemed oblivious to the stupidity of a plebiscite). Instead what we need is now a strong, unified Europe. This is the only thing that will prevent war and provide a buffer be- tween Putin and Europe. As for the anti-immigration camp, grow up, I say. The EU is just one element of the migrant pool. The mighty empire raped and pillaged every corner of the globe including India, the Americas, Indigenous Australia, and Africa and now has, rightfully, migrants from every continent; a key reason why the economy is ranked fifth largest in the world. But the UK is likely to drop a few places within a generation; mark my words, these are the early stages that will ultimately lead to a decline. The world, not just the EU, needs a strong UK, not a weaker, less relevant one, for she is theoretically a democracy despite having a queen (not the band Queen) and the unelected elite in the House of Lords. I have a feeling the Remain camp may have been defeated, but it could have one last tilt at fighting back via Scotland and London. For those worried about what will happen to EU migrants currently in the UK, they will be allowed to remain. If Brexit is in fact invoked, that is when new migrants will have to jump through visa hurdles under a Britain free from the EU; a Britain that will also be free of Scotland, potential hard- working migrants and many other parts of the 'United' Kingdom. * Billy Cotsis lived in London between 2008– 2012 and visits annually.
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