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Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Author: Prince Foday


The referendum on Brexit and Bremain in the European Union is near the corner and scheduled for June 23, 2016. Politics in Britain had been meddling around the need for the referendum and it is great that the issue that was hanging around is now coming to fruition. This is what democracy is about and we need to applaud the politics in the Great Britain for that. The voice and decisions of the people in modern politics is what matters and the incoming referendum is a clear showcase of Britain being an epitome of modern politics. Politics is all about putting the people first rather than a self-centred or autocratic style of politics that isolates the people in national decision making process. Whether Britain is going to stay or not in Europe that will be determined by the peoples’ vote in the incoming referendum.  The people are prepared to vote and whatever the outcome shall be they will live with it. The same scenario applies to individuals and households when making decisions. Individuals and households make decisions that they get wrong or right. The truth is, there is no need to cry over spilt meal when the decision is proved wrong, as there are provisions for reviewing decisions to meet dynamic changes. Decisions are associated with potential shocks and it is a great thing to do to cope with those shocks and have a positive outlook about it. The Brexit and Bremain arguments are pouring in ahead of the referendum to convince voters to vote for either side. However, one could observe the uncertainty about which side will win. We might wake up the next day after counting the ballot box to see a Brexit win or loss. Whatever the result may be is the decision of the people and it is incumbent on all to live with the decision and any accompany shocks from it. It is Britain that decided to join the European Union and it is the same Britain that will decide to leave or stay. The questions that desire answers are, why was the European Union created? When was the European Union formed? Which countries are in the European Union? What is the purpose of the European Union? What are the Gross Domestic Product and population of the European Union? The fact that the Britain is part of the Commonwealth and European Union (EU) and the fact that there are EU funded projects in most of the Commonwealth nations makes the Commonwealth concern about his brother's  referendum on exiting or remaining in the EU.

Understanding the Crux of the European Union
The EU was created after the Second World War and it was meant to build unity between France and Germany. This unity in effect laid the foundation stone for the EU. The union itself originated from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), which was established in 1951 and 1958 respectively. The membership of the community includes Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Britain, Netherlands, Greece, Luxembourg, Spain and Portugal. Eighteen African countries were associate members.  It is from the ECSC and EEC that many other European Communities sprang and this further led to the now formed European Union. The EU was formed through the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 followed by the latest major constitutional amendment from the Treaty of Lisbon that came into force in 2009. The main aims of the European Economic Community are to reduce tariffs (tariff being the duty or tax imposed on the export or import of goods) so as to bring about free trade between member states, to unify the tariffs of member states so that there would be a common tariff between EEC members, to create the free mobility of goods, labour (services), capital and entrepreneur among member states. The European Union is an eco-political union that consist of twenty eight countries and they  are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Each of the countries is independent but has an agreement to trade between them.  The European Economic Area entails European Union countries but countries like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are allowed only to be part of the EU single market. Switzerland is not part of the European Economic Area (ECA) but allowed to be part of the single market, meaning nationals of Switzerland have equal rights to live and work in the United Kingdom.  The European Union has a Gross Domestic Product at market price of $18.51 trillion (World Bank Statistics, 2014) and population of 508.5 million (World Bank Statistics, 2014).

The Paradox of Brexit and Bremain

On Britain's contribution to the EU budget, Bremain argues that Britain pays the EU £ 340 a year per household relative to an estimated £ 3, 000 yearly benefits from EU membership and that, in or out, payment is needed to access the single market whereas the Brexit school of thought argues that Britain can stop sending £350 million, equivalent to half England's school budget, to Brussels every week, and that the money can be spent on scientific research and new industries. The Bremain argument on immigration is that leaving Europe does not mean reduced immigration and that countries that trade with EU from outside have higher rates of immigration, including from EU Countries, than Britain whilst the Brexit school argues that Britain change the expensive and out-of control system that offers an open door to the EU and blocks non-EU Immigrants who could contribute to UK.  In the case of Foreign influence, Bremain argues that at international summits Britain is represented twice by the foreign secretary and the EU high representative and co-operation has helped fight Ebola and piracy in Africa on the other hand Brexit view on foreign influence is that Britain has little influence within the EU and that from outside it can retake seats on international institutions and be of stronger influence for free trade and co-operation. In the case of regulation, the Bremain strongly argues that most EU regulation collapses and that 28 national standards into to one European standard, reducing red tape and benefiting business, and that remaining in can fight for better regulation whereas the Brexit lot argues that leaving will return control over areas like employment, law, health and safety measures that a recent business for Britain could find business favoured. On the issue of trade, Bremain argues that Britain avoids exporter tariffs and red tape, important as 45% of British exports go to the EU, and that with Britain's membership in EU, Britain can obtain better trade terms because of the size of EU whereas Brexit argument is that Britain will negotiate a new EU relationship without being bound by EU law and that it can secure trade deals with other important countries such as China, India and America.

(Source: The Economist)

Britain and the Commonwealth, Will the Centre Hold Again after the Referendum?

Britain has a relationship with other commonwealth nations, and so, the Brexit and Bremain referendum should be by implication a concern. There is a connected relationship between Commonwealth and European Union, as Britain is part of the Commonwealth. This can be explained from the principle of transitivity, which says that if A equal to B and B equal to C, therefore, A equal to C. The principle of transitivity clearly shows that if Britain is part of the European Union and Britain is part of the Commonwealth, hence, Commonwealth is part of the European Union. The Commonwealth has a blood relationship with Europe through Britain's relationship with the Commonwealth. Commonwealth is an association of fifty three independent nations, all but one being former British colony, and its membership spans from Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Americas, and Europe. The association is formed with the aim of promoting peace, democracy and development. Britain had been in strong relationship with the Commonwealth but the strength of the relationship shifted to the European Union, leaving the Commonwealth being a white elephant. Whether the results after the June 23 referendum will be in favour of either Brexit or Bremain, the question is, will Britain renew the strong relationship it had formerly established with the Commonwealth? The information gathered from the global baobab tree shows that there are two schools of thought to it. One of the schools of thought says that the Brexit win will renew the strong relationship Britain had with the Commonwealth. The other school of thought is with the conviction that the centre will never hold and that the white elephant relationship will still thrive on. The truth is, Britain's polygamous relationship with the Commonwealth and European Union is not responsive of what is enshrined in the scriptures, which says that, “if you are married to two or more wives, you need to ensure that all the wives are given equal treatment”. Britain seems to be running away from the relationships it had entered into with the Commonwealth and now it wants to runway from the European Union. There is a gain saying that, “if you fight and run away you will be forced to fight another day”. Britain has an unfinished job with the Commonwealth and European and abandoning those jobs will lead to a chaotic situation that will have a ripple-effect on their nation. The Commonwealth, for which, Britain is the lead member of the association is not working to expectations and the state of affairs in those Commonwealth nations will truly justify that. The very peace, democracy and development as the basis of the formation of the Commonwealth have yielded minimal result and Britain needs to take the Commonwealth seriously to reasonably achieve those objectives. Commonwealth nations have a role to play in Britain's stability and tackling the chronic problems in those nations will avoid the existing and potential spill-over effects on Britain. Britain can stop increasing migration from those Commonwealth countries by holding their governance properly accountable to their people and enabling them to create the inertia for their people to stay. The governance in those impoverished Commonwealth nations are inappropriately honouring their pledge of maintaining peace, democracy and development to their countries, hence, Britain is bearing the brunt of their inefficiencies. If there is a leak on a tap, you need to tackle the problem from the source. The issue of increasing migration from the impoverish Commonwealth nations are as a result of social, political and economic instability fuelled by the bad governance in those countries. Britain can effectively deal with the problems of immigration, terrorism or security problems by renewing its strong relationship with the Commonwealth and ensuring that those issues having a spread-effect on them are solved from the source. The terrorist attack on British citizens in Tunisia is a manifestation of the need for Britain to take the lead in solving the alarming insecurity problems in Commonwealth countries and around the world so as to ensure the safety of British nationals or tourists travelling around the Commonwealth and the globe. Holding the governance in the impoverish Commonwealth nations truly accountable is a way of mitigating the immigration pressure and other domestic pressure on the Great Britain. A bird eye view of those deprived Commonwealth nations will show that they are rich in resources in relation to their population but the immense greed, weak transparency and accountability and the empire of dictatorship had made the performance indicator for peace, democracy and development out of the feasible region. There are Commonwealth and European Union funded projects in those ruined Commonwealth nations but it seem those projects are not providing positive outcomes, as a large proportion of those funds are not spent on the target projects but distribute between private pockets and administration. Britain has to be cognisance of this and turn the table to the direction of true transparency and accountability for the Commonwealth projects. Leaving the state of affairs to continue as it is will make Britain and the Commonwealth to continue facing the burning problems inherent in their nations. We need serious of purpose in achieving peace, true democracy and development.

The Brexit and Bremain Analytics

The arguments on Brexit and Bremain had been around immigration, trade, foreign influence, budget and regulation. We all have the rights to our opinions and such discussions are good for promoting effective democracy. We are all winners in our own views and it is a way of pursuing mutual understanding for the common good. The various schools of thoughts on the Brexit and Bremain have been keenly looked at and feel that there is need for an independent evaluation of the points raised by both sides. Britain is surely better to stay in the European Union than to leave. The simple point is, “no one nation is an island or can survive alone”. Nations need each other in the area of trade, benefits from immigration and the influence nations will have on each other and benefits from regulations. It is better for Britain to stay in the European Union and be part of the solutions to the problems than exiting. In a marriage, you sign before God and man that “for better and for worst”, so Britain needs to stay in Europe for better and for worst. Britain has to remain in the Europe Union but within the context of helping in the reformation process. The free movement of people as the basis of the European Union is what is making the people of other European Union member nations coming to Britain and making British people to move to other European member nations for the sake of tourism or selling their services. If Britain exits the European Union, a serious dust will be raised that will take long time to settle. Britain leaving will lead to huge unemployment problems and domestic pressure. The question that desires answer is, what preparation has Britain made to absorb those British people who are going to lose their jobs out of Britain when they come back home? The returnee mess will be long to clear, so, Britain has to be ready to clear the mess when the referendum turns in favour of Brexit. Trade among European Union member nations allows free movement of goods and services. Trade paves the way for British goods and services to be sold in other European member nations and this is great for the national income through the net income from other European Union member countries. It is obvious that the net effect of the income raised by Britain from trade in other European member nations in relation to trade by other European Union member nations in Britain will inevitably be positive, making trade by Britain in other European Union member nations fit for purpose. Britain's presence in foreign decision making is very necessary, as it is better to be part of the change than abandoning the influence on change. Britain being part of the Europe Union will help in solving security and other social problems, economic and political problems at home and abroad. Britain's foreign influence is good for its domestic stability and the stability of other European Union member states. For the case of its contributions to the EU budget, the benefits derived from the contributions outweigh the expenses on the EU budget. There are EU sponsored projects in Britain and the expenses on those projects are far more than what Britain is contributing to the European Union budget. The direct beneficiaries of the EU sponsor projects are individuals,  private and public investments, so Britain's contribution to the EU budget is something that the British nations are directly benefiting from or is a form of investment by Britain, for which, they benefit the more. Regulations or controls are necessary ingredients for any union. Export of goods regulation by the European Union is meant to control goods exported within and outside European Union member states. Where there are no regulations, members countries will export goods at their own peril, hence, attracting a cheaper price for their goods. With regulation on the amount to be exported, a higher price will be attracted. This is the reason why there is “buffer stock system” to control the export of goods. Buffer stock system is where goods are stored in the warehouse when prices are low in the world market to create artificial shortage in order to sell at the time when the goods can attract higher prices in the world market. Britain being in the European Union can help to regulate the exportation of their goods, tariffs and other tools of regulations. The Laws in Brussels are within the global context and standardised for the general good of the European member nations. Britain leaving Europe will never make much difference to the laws Britain will end up adopting.


On account of the above, it is relevant for Britain to stay in the European Union. The European Union, like any marriage or relationship, is a necessary evil. The referendum is close and Britain has to be careful when voting on 23rd June 2016. The statistics for the polls are coming up but what really matters is the outcome of the referendum this coming Thursday. There is uncertainty about the two sides of the coin, which is Brexit and Bremain, so Britain has to be prepared for the sucker punch. We live in a global world where a single nation can never succeed alone in dealing with its social, economic and political problems. No one nation can handle its domestic problems alone, so there is  the desire to be in strong relationship with other neighbours and being in it together to solve the common problems. Being part of an international economic organisation can pull resources, talents, transferred skills and otherwise. The days of Narcissism are over and the modern world is about cohesiveness and eliminating the very issues that were setting us backwards. Britain needs to remain in the European Union and remain for good. The European Union needs Britain and Britain needs the European Union. It is better for Britain to stay and fight for the issues surrounding their grievances than abandon an unsolved problem which may hunt the nation back. What I will suggest Britain to do is remain and reform the issues on immigration and other issues that form their grievances. Immigration is a global problem and none of the immigrants are happy to live their countries, due to the strong lineage the immigrants have with family and friends in their countries of birth. The immigrants are living because of the awful state of affairs in their countries ignited by weak governance. People are migrating because of social, economic and political inequalities and problems. The European Union is divided into rich and poor nations and Britain being in the European Union can assist in closing the poverty gap and stabilise the pressure on the rich side of the brotherhood. Apart from Europe, Britain is urged to strongly embrace the Commonwealth and help in cementing the cracks in it. The Commonwealth has rich and poor sides of the brotherhood, so Britain needs to take the lead in closing the poverty gap and shape the Commonwealth towards the path of sustainable peace, standardised and acceptable democracy and a development that is spread in both the rural and urban sectors of each Commonwealth nations. I have to rest my case now and hope it will be properly digested and acted on for this is the only non-financial contribution the author can give the Great Britain, the European Union and the global world. We need world peace and this will only come with collective actions at micro and macro levels.


Prince Foday
Reporter, Human Right









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