I recently was exchanging messages with Ray Southam of fastenerdata – www.fastenerdata.co.uk
I’d encourage you to check out his fastener related website. I asked Ray how things were going in the UK and asked a few questions about (what I referred to as) Brexit. After several exchanges I invited Ray to share some thoughts on this site as a Guest Blogger. Ray’s thoughts are shared below. Interesting times in Europe with elections in France and the UK. I’m not always up to speed on these things but here are Ray’s thoughts:
Britexit is the biggest thing to happen in my lifetime, having experienced numerous recessions and the instability that comes with them; oil fluctuating between 140 and 20 Dollars a barrel and wars in the middle east and the Balkans; Britexit has the greatest potential for change .
The British government joined the common market in 1973 and the British people confirmed entry by referendum in 1975. At that time voters in the UK thought that continued membership would give them prosperity, they did not expect that membership would come with baggage. What many did not envisaged was the slow movement towards a federal European Union, centralized in Brussels with a common currency, and the loss of Control by the UK electorate.
In the early days, there were sticking points; the common fisheries policy that put many UK fishermen out of business, the mountains of food and wine lakes keeping prices artificially high and the subsidies paid to farmers not to produce. These issues were balanced against the benefits of free movement, removal of tariffs and the expanse of financial influence in London.
The entry of ten new member states in 2004 with eventual free movement, put pressure on the UK; many in the eastern bloc saw the UK as the road paved with gold. The UK had seen mass movement in the 1950’s with immigrants from the West Indies and in the 1960’s from Pakistan; these migrations were not problem free, integration proved slow and in some instances incomplete. A combination of migration, loss of sovereignty, membership costs, loss of control of the legal system and the heavy handedness of a Brussels government, tipped the balance.
Not everyone is in favour of leaving the EU; Londoners who’s jobs may be at risk, younger people who have not experienced the UK pre-1973, and areas of the country that have benefited from European development grants. Britexit has divided; a show of hands at the British association of fastener distributors showed a 50/50 split and this was mirrored in the 53/47 exit vote.
What now, well none of us is sure; the predicted collapse of the UK economy has not happened, the weakening of the pound has been a double edge sword. It is in both the interest of the UK and the EU that the split is amicable; the EU sells more to the UK than we sell to it. As with other market changes we need to take the long-term view, this is the thinking behind a general election on June 8; whoever gets into power will not have to go back to the electorate until 2022, three years after Britexit concludes.