It’s Monday evening after UK referendum day and I’m sitting here just feeling more and more worried about what I’ve seen happening both over the build up to last Thursday and few days since.
So here’s my analogy…..
When you join a club, lets use a yoga class as an example, you usually pay a weekly or termly fee. In return, you get your hour of yoga tuition each week for a vastly reduced cost than if you had to pay for the teacher to come and teach just you. OK, a private yoga session is perhaps a nice thing to be able to afford, but by going to a club, you also get to socialise with other people who share your interest. You do your yoga, then you might chat with your fellow yogis, share stories about what you’ve been up to, talk about how you adapt positions you find difficult, offer advice, etc etc - another additional benefit of getting together with people that are all interested in the same thing.
So this was kind of my thinking about the benefits of being part of the EU. As part of “the club” you get to find out what other countries are up to, offer and receive advice on how to deal with problems and work things out together. The EU, or common market as it was back then, was set up so the countries of Europe could help each other out after the second world war. A time of food shortages, depression and uncertainty. Hmmmm, I’m already seeing similarities with how things are today. So, as I understood it and from what I remember from A Level Economics, the general idea was that everyone paid their fee, and in return, all of the countries that had joined could trade freely with each other, without having to worry about too much paperwork. This meant that if for instance, the UK was running short of tomatoes, they could just get them from Spain instead, and all the British people would still be able to enjoy their favourite soup. Now please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but as a tiny country, the UK has never been a massive exporter of anything, as historically we preferred to march in and take control of parts of the world that were better at producing things than us, then claim them as our own. This is what made Great Britain’s power. We were essentially a bit of a bully!
I’m definitely not saying that the EU is all good, and the way some of it’s countries have been treating the refugees and migrants lately may have been enough to make me think we should walk away, but, I still think that the best option of working things out is to at least try and do it “together”. Also our government seem to be making a bit of a balls up of running the country by themselves, so to give them more power at the moment wouldn’t really be the best of ideas.
Then there’s the whole campaign thing. A question on the side of a bus stating figures that were proved to be wrong! Really?? Or a big poster with a photo of a crowd of people that could be “sent home” if we left the EU. Sent home to where? A blown up building in a town full of terrorists? What happened to humanity and caring for each other? So, these things alone had already began to confirm my “better together” theory even before I spent a lot of time reading what the people much more qualified than me (the ones that run all the other political parties, economists etc, along with organisations I respect such as Greenpeace) think, in order to make judgments on what might happen if we “Brexited”. I think a lot of people did believe that bus though and maybe thought that all the experts predictions couldn’t really be true and they were just trying to scare them into voting for their side.
On Friday morning, though it became clear that those experts were telling the truth and that old Nige’ had actually allowed a “mistake” (his own words) to be printed on his "tour bus" and bill boards all over the country! Then people started saying how they regretted their choice to vote leave and that they didn’t expect these things to happen!!
So, as you may have noticed, I have to buy precious metals and stones, and what do people do when their countries exchange rate starts to fall? They buy gold instead! This pushes the already high price up even more, which in turn means that my raw materials cost me more. I was hoping things might have gone back to normal over the weekend, but nope, this morning, our currency is still worth about 10% less than it was last week and as we import practically everything then it means that everything will begin to cost us more. One immediate effect on my business is how much I have to pay for gemstones. I’m sure that if I wasn't bothered about where I buy them from that I could still buy them for the same price, if not cheaper, but I couldn't guarantee that they hadn’t been dug out of the ground by a 7 year old that has to work to support her parents because they’re too ill from mercury poisoning!
Now this may seem selfish, but I’ve spent many years working really hard, and over the last year especially, my business has started to do really well, maybe not yet well enough to describe as “booming”, but my commission book is currently pretty full and I’m managing to save a little cash every month that I’m planning to use to finish doing up the work in progress that I call home. But now I’m just thinking I’d better not do that just in case everything dries up and I cant afford to eat! I’m struggling not to be annoyed with Brexit voters when I look at how my costs are now rising through no fault of my own. Oh and on top of that, I have to fill in a form for HMRC this week to prove to them that I’m running a viable business and tell them how I intend to grow!! So, I’m afraid you’re just going got have to bear with me on that one as at the moment, I’m not over thinking if the UK hadn't voted “OUT” then I would be still be sitting here continuing to be like normal people with “proper jobs” planning how my new bedroom will look!
So, as we get to the end of day AR (after referendum) 4, and read more stories of people being told to “go home” and called all sort of racist names, alongside news reports of people saying they regret their choice because they didn't think it would count, I can’t be anything but incredibly worried, and annoyed by that Independence Day or Winnie The Pooh lets all be friends Facebook meme. Last Thursday has made the UK a poorer country with an uncertain future. Definitely not a day for celebration, whichever way you voted.