Brexit – Cosmopolitans, Ostriches, Lemmings & the Pied Piper

Male and Female ostriches Cape Point

Male and Female ostriches Cape Point (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A dead lemming on a stone in the rive...

English: A dead lemming on a stone in the river Revåa in Norway. Lemmings migrate in large numbers across the landscape, stopping for nobody. When they have to cross a river of some size, some lemmings will die. Every few years so many lemmings die this way that drinking the water from the streams becomes a health hazard to people hiking in the mountains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After months of following alternative viewpoints on Brexit, both in the mainstream and social media, I have decided that it is time to clarify my own views.

Firstly, it’s necessary to state my bias. From the beginning, I have been a passionate European. Despite some misgivings about the size of the bureaucracy and the favored status of Germany and France, I still passionately believe that the UK should remain in the EU and be pivotal in its leadership. I am a UK national and an expat, currently resident in Cyprus. Much of my career, I have lived and worked on Continental Europe. For most of my life I have been cosmopolitan in my beliefs and outlook.

For me, there is overwhelming economic evidence from gold standard sources, like the International Monetary Fund, that the economic outcome post Brexit will range from bad to very bad. The uncertainty is based upon the new trading relationships which could take years to negotiate and trigger panic and fear. These are serious and quantifiable risks.

The Brexit campaigners have failed to publish economic projections or risk assessment for fear of losing a huge numbers of votes. The Brexit campaign is focused on quaint and dated concepts of sovereignty and fanned by xenophobia. The Brexit team is not being led by a Churchill or Thatcher with deep political convictions – there are too many opportunists whose political aspirations influence their argument.

Being in the UK for a few weeks, I am encouraged by young people but alarmed at the views of many of my age.

In my view, the Brexiteers are like ostriches burying their heads in the sand – they are blind or oblivious to the risks. If Brexiteers win, the ostriches will transform into lemmings and we shall watch them die. Or if you want a third metaphor, think about the children who followed the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

Illustration from The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Illustration from The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What would Brexit mean for the UK economy? | World Economic Forum

English: Official logo of the World Economic F...

English: Official logo of the World Economic Forum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this excellent analysis the WEF explores the question, ‘What will be the economic repercussions if Britain votes to leave the EU?

Source: What would Brexit mean for the UK economy? | World Economic Forum

Reading this article, I am left with two important conclusions.

Firstly, nobody knows whether the economic outcome from Brexit will be ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ (to paraphrase the IMF). It will depend upon future trade negotiations. Most experts feel that these negotiations will be prolonged. I’m a realist, so I lean towards ‘very bad’ as the economic outcome of Brexit.

But the second point is that the Brexit supporters are completely oblivious to economic arguments. They are ready to bury their heads in the sand like ostriches claiming that the numbers don’t make sense. The WEF conclude that the Brexiteers are most interested in regaining control of the UK. The word sovereignty is frequently deployed. Sadly, we live in a highly joined up world.

So I am left with two simple open question:

  1. If Brexiteers are not just Little Englanders,  strong on xenophia, what are their real plans?
  2. Why won’t the Brexit camp reveal costed policies and risk assessments?