I wrote in The Hostages about the high odds stacked against the British “leave the European Union-camp”. A number of government members from other EU-countries warned the British voters against the negative consequences of a Brexit. The US president and the General Secretary of NATO did the same, although EU is not a member of NATO.
There have also been a number of statements in media from so-called experts on economics and security policy issues. I have no doubt that some of them know what they are talking about, but there are so many pundits on the various TV-channels that their opinions are probably not worth more than the average Joe’s. The experts and politicians appeared to be a bunch of drama queens that may have done more damage than the voters who used their democratic right to choose independence.
This is a translation of a post I wrote early this morning on my Norwegian blog, and I referred to some of the first statements. The German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was a sad day for EU and the UK. Manfred Weber, leader of The European People’s Party in the EU-parliament, said the decision would harm both sides. The leader of Labour in Norway said this would have consequences for all of Europe. He also stated that there will be a lot of uncertainty in both politics and the financial markets in the coming days. It just got increasingly more melodramatic during the day.
It is undoutedly hard to get out of the union, but there is a question of how much of the uncertainty is directly related to the referendum and how much is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many have warned against doomsday, and even the General Secretaty of NATO said that the world would be safer if Britain remained in the EU. I sometimes wonder how much safer people feel in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan after NATO and EU demonstrated their devotion to the welfare of others in these countries. The NATO-country Turkey seems to succeeed in their strategy to persuade other NATO-countries to send ground troops into Syria. They can do this without involving EU, because although many like to pretend that EU is a strong political union, it is mainly about trade. There’s not much agreement, if any, about the rest.
Many people have been talking about the coming doom today. I’ve seen some headlines about celebrities expressing disappointment and even anger. Since when did we start listenning to Jeremy Clarkson and J.K. Rowling in questions related to the lives of low income families? These are rich people that are not bound by national borders. They are not going to lose much when the EU-experiment goes sour. They are not going to get stuck in Britain, and we are seeing more and more examples of the union’s failures. You may want to call it something else, but the truth is that EU is either not willing or not able to do its most important task, to give the citizens good, stable lives. BBC reported last year that more than half a million Scots, including 100 000 children, live in severe poverty. I assume there is a difference between poverty and severe poverty, so this sounds bad. This happens on the outskirts of EU, and when the refugees started coming to Italy and Greece they didn’t get any help at all. It doesn’t appear to be better inside the union, and why give up your sovereignty if you still lose?
Many have predicted disaster, and if it happens, I think it’s just as likely to be caused by the people who agigated for it. Those are the people spreading fear on the stock and currency market. It’s interesting that no one is talking about the Britons democratic right to govern themselves. It’s like they are to be threatened to make the right decisions. It will be interesting to see how democratic EU is, but it’s not promising to have all these people in powerful positions trying to bully countries with a different view.
Norway and Britain have a lot of history together. We seem to think a lot more about them than they do about us, but that may change. We are neighbours after all and should be stronger allies than we are. This could be a good opportunity for Britain to discover the world outside EU. It’s nothing more than a curiosity, but there are some old English words used in Scotland that show the close bond we used to have:
Old English Modern Norwegian
bairn (children) barn
stain (stone) stein
quine (girl/woman) kvinne
fuhl (drunk) full
hoos (house) hus (long u)