by DR RAMI RANGER
Founder of Sunmark and co-chair of the Conservative Friends of India
BREXIT is a mess that was created by politicians for no good reason. In a nutshell, Brexit is a self-inflicted wound.
The referendum was won only due to the images of refugees coming into Europe on our television screens which repeatedly appeared during the campaign. British people, especially elderly voters, were frightened that Britain would be swamped by immigrants. As a result, they voted to leave.
It was a narrow victory for the leavers, but they are showing no consideration to those 48 per cent who voted to remain.
As a result, the country, parliament, political parties and the cabinet are divided. Last week, the Queen appealed for a middle ground to be found in order to unite the country. Sadly, the ego of some politicians is bigger than the cause or their common sense. They are hellbent upon damaging Britain’s future relationship with Europe and also that of our next generations. They are behaving as if we still have an empire to dictate our terms.
They do not appreciate the fact that in order to gain something, we have to give something in return.
No business can plan ahead when there is so much uncertainty. Brexit without a deal will plunge the country into chaos and even a recession. Sadly, some politicians refuse to listen to the voices of concern coming from the Confederation of British industry (CBI), the Bank of England and the chancellor of the exchequer. World leaders are also warning against a hard Brexit, including the prime ministers of Japan and New Zealand.
Hundreds of multinational companies, especially from India, Korea, Japan and China, invested in Britain because of free access to the biggest global market, Europe. Now, they are left high and dry with the referendum result. Naturally, they must relocate in order to secure their future business and growth in Europe.
According to Bloomberg, 350 British companies are in advanced talks with the Dutch government to move their businesses to Holland in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Some of the Japanese, German, French and even British banks are planning to move to Frankfurt, Germany. Sony and Panasonic have moved their headquarters to the Netherlands.
The NHS will face a severe shortage of drugs post Brexit, and there will be a reduction in the amounts of fruits and vegetables in the market. Inflation will creep up due to a weak pound. Many European migrants are already abandoning Britain due to the weak currency and uncertainly about their future.
All the rhetoric about business continuing with Europe on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules is nothing but a red herring. WTO rules do not offer guaranteed access to foreign markets. Goods and services are subject to custom formalities and checks which always lead to delays and costs. For example, under WTO rules, cars and car parts will attract a 10 per cent duty. There are 164 members of the WTO, but none of them trade freely with one another. Their trade is subject to customs and tariffs. If the WTO rules created the kind of panacea as claimed by some politicians, then there was no need for Britain to join the European Community in the first place.
I hope good sense will prevail and the prime minister’s deal is approved with small amendments to please the Brexiteers.