Monday, 27 June 2016

Brexit Fallout Continues

Strange times in Britain these days with Brexit a hard reality to get used to
Friends and colleagues are still processing their shock and disappointment over Brexit that left us all floored on Friday morning Hong Kong time.

One colleague who is British, and has lived in Hong Kong for over 20 years, and her son was born here, is devastated that her son's job opportunities have virtually evaporated.

"Before he had 28 countries [in the European Union] to be able to work in, and now it's only one!" she exclaimed. She is angry that her older relatives voted Brexit, who wanted to keep Britain the way they remembered it from before than realize the world has since globalized at such a fast rate that no country can survive by isolating itself.

However not all of the Brexit voters were old -- even her younger friend who is an expat in Hong Kong preferred to leave the EU so that Britain could retain its "Britishness", whatever that means.

Jeremy Corbyn put himself in an awkward position politically
Another colleague is very curious about the geo-political fall out, with Prime Minister David Cameron betting his job on the line to remain, and has no choice but to resign.

It seems the referendum was an emotional issue and the remain side didn't do enough to reassure people that there wouldn't be immigrants flooding in, that even though Britain sends 350 million pounds a week to the EU, it got back much more in terms of subsidies and other benefits. It also didn't try to tell the skeptics that the Brexit campaign was wrong in saying that big chunk of money would go to health care.

Then there's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn who was in a bizarre position. Labour is all for remaining in the EU, yet he himself is a Euro-skeptic, and so he was very low-key about campaigning to remain. He sacked one person who questioned his leadership, which led to many of his shadow cabinet members resigning.

And then there's Boris Johnson. He didn't really want Brexit... did he? He jumped on a cause to get on the political stage again, and he did it, but now he's quiet. No one wants to take on the challenge of putting Brexit in to motion now.

Will Boris Johnson continue his path to become PM?
Oh and Scotland is hinting it wants out of the UK...

Meanwhile the EU is outraged this is what the Brits really think of the union, and would rather kick Britain out sooner rather than later. The remain side is naive to think the EU will still continue to do business with them like before, though things might be cheaper now that the pound has fallen.

However the reality is that all those countries need Britain, and Britain needs the access to such a huge market to keep its economy going. Or maybe it doesn't need Britain?

The news hit Hong Kong hard of course, as the city was formerly a British colony, and many have business interests, children studying there, and so on.

Amusingly Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying stated that Hong Kong was prepared to deal with the outcome, but Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and Hong Kong Monetary Authority Norman Chan Tak-lam both admitted they were caught off guard.

It's a real mess and it's going to take a long time for it to be sorted out. But it's a new reality everyone has to get used to. Everyone.

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