Calm down! The UK has voted for Brexit – OK, let’s look at some facts.

By Yeison Ospina

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brexit facts
The British flag sails from the window of a black cab in London. Image: bbc.com

Good God! What is wrong with people? Everyone is going crazy about Brexit and it’s totally unfounded.

First off, I feel it’s important that I start by telling you I have a bias. I am Pro-Brexit.

I want to share with you all why I am pro-Brexit and what I believe will actually be happening in the short-term, mid-term and long-term. You’ve read a lot in the news about this; the pound has gone down, the EU has to change. So why did 17 million Brits choose to leave the EU and of course, what does that mean for Colombians?

Why am I Pro-Brexit?

One word: Democracy.

Democracy means that the citizens of a land can choose for themselves who governs them. When you consider the UK’s history and you look at the fact that they still have a Royal family, it becomes clear that democracy is a very important subject. What does this have to do with the EU? Well, the EU is largely a body of people who create laws, and who make decisions, both of which directly affect all the people in the EU.

Here’s the important part – this body of people (the EU) is NOT elected, but instead, it is hand picked and chosen by the EU leaders. This means that if the EU makes laws and decisions that affect the British public, those same citizens (along with all other EU citizens) will have no say whatsoever and unlike a democracy, where citizens could add pressure on their local candidates or even re-elect a different party, in the case of the EU, citizens can do nothing whatsoever.

I grew up in the UK and now, I appreciate their incredible country and culture. This a country steeped with history and with some amazing world changing achievements. The UK is a country full of diversity and a country that has always thought differently than others.

Someone came up to me today and said, “Referendums don’t work. These kinds of decisions shouldn’t be made by the people.”

I couldn’t possibly disagree more and it’s this kind of thinking that in part led to such  change to begin with. With the world changing so fast, now more than ever, people want to be part of the decision making process. They don’t want to be told what to do and have no say in their day to day lives. Exiting the EU was an enormous decision which couldn’t be taken by just the Prime Minister and his staff – it was a decision that had to be made by the people themselves.

The entire population of the UK had to have their say, and they did. A total of 74% of the people voted, 17 million people in total. Oh, and unlike what the media is trying to portray, it wasn’t 17 million dumb people. You know, living in Colombia for the last several years, I have really come to value the importance of education and I can say confidently that when you look at the world altogether, British people are indeed very well educated. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise by the media.

Now; let’s try to straighten-out some myths.

  1. Scotland and Northern Ireland will have another referendum to leave.

The same person who told me that referendums don’t work just told me that Scotland and Northern Ireland would like to take a referendum again. Bullocks.

So first, Scotland already had a referendum for independency and that was two years ago, in 2014. Northern Ireland hasn’t had one since 1973. So adding Northern Ireland and Wales into the conversation has only one purpose and that’s to create drama. Drama, scandal and making things seem bigger than they actually are is fit for the course in the media because sensationalism makes life more interesting and sells more papers and earns more traffic for ads. Northern Ireland will not have another referendum and Scotland is very unlikely to have a referendum as they already did. Emotions are very high right now so let’s wait to see what happens.

2. Scotland is in the UK to be part of the EU

This is insane. Scotland could have voted to leave the UK and then join the EU as have the other 27 countries in Europe. They decided to stay in the end for the strength that the UK brings. Britain is a strong icon and Scots are proud to be British. The pound (will get back to it later) is a much stronger currency when compared to the Euro. In fact the Great British Pound (GBP) is the strongest currency in the world. That’s quite the statement considering Britain isn’t the biggest economic power in the world. Why would you want to lose that? This is a chance for Scotland to have more power, as part of the future of the UK as oppose to the EU. I would be very surprised if Scotland left the UK.

3. The GBP has been destroyed.

Let’s look at some numbers.

chart 1

So the pound has gone down, by 10 cents since the news of Brexit, or the day the world ended as the media would have you think. Massive deal right? Well, not really. This 30 year low for the pound that everyone is talking about is actually just against the US dollar.

Okay, so why the big flux? Well, it’s because the financial world doesn’t cope well with the unknown and the idea that a country would leave the EU was unimaginable, a very big unknown. The idea that that first country would be the UK? Yes, that was clearly unexpected. What happened with the vote announcement was totally expected. Let’s get back to the numbers.. From July 8th 2014 to July 8th 2015 the pound dropped by 18 cents from 1.73 to 1.51. Why is this important? Well, because no one said a word.

Currencies go up and they go down, then they go up and then they go down. The GBP will go back up again once there is more stability and once a solid plan has been established for the future.

4. The GBP has been destroyed (Part 2).

chart 2

I have had the pleasure of living here in Colombia for just over 4 years and I have seen the pound on the peso go from a low of 2,683 to as high as 5,102. Now that’s a substantial change – you might even say they are extremes.

I’m an entreprenuer. I launched a British-made brand in Colombia and Latin America and when I heard the pound had a super drop I got very excited! I thought, “Wow! That means I can finally enjoy some great rates for importing!” So, with the Brexit vote, what do you think the value of the pound dropped to here in Colombia? 3,000cop maybe? 3,500cop? Nope! 4,000cop! And what was it at before Brexit? It was hovering around 4,200 and 4,400. So, the pound didn’t really fluctuate much at all on the peso! I’m still happy at 4,000, and the idea that pound is dead, is obviously greatly over-exaggerated.

Everyone has been talking about this Article, well, not THIS article (as awesome as Barranquilla Life is) but Article 50. Some think it has already been triggered. I have also heard people say that Article 50 hasnt been triggered because the UK is looking for a way to undo the referendum and get back into the EU – That’s preposterous. It adds to the drama and the excitement that makes sensational news stories.

Article 50 hasn’t yet been triggered simply because the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, handed in his resignation and said that he thinks this process to exit the EU should be led by whomever Britons elect as the new leader of the country.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think this staff writer has any idea of the complexity of the current political and social climate in the UK . I also know for a fact that he has never been to Scotland , where i live although English , or he would understand the Scots see themselves as Scottish not British and the older generation were duped by the media and all parties into voting against independence. I find this article right wing , self and money obsessed which the writer clearly is . If your Media company requires a writer to cover European issues and provide clear unbiased interesting content , i offer my services as i am moving to Barranquilla to be with my girl .

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