Foreign leaders, countries, international bodies and major world entities of any kind are supporting the ‘stay’ option for Britain ahead of 23 June referendum, about the country’s position in or out of the European Union. The American President Barack Obama and the Chinese and the Indian governments have expressly supported the ‘stay’ option, to mention only the three biggest non European political entities.
Of course, there is an exception. Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee of the US Republican party for the November Presidential election, has said that Britain would be better off outside the EU. But he is not a political leader, at least not yet and, in any case, he has said so many absurd things, that this is rather one of his less precarious statements. Let’s be a bit more serious.
They all want Britain in the EU
It’s an astonishing fact to watch one after the other every possible and impossible entity, with power to be echoed around the world, to support the ‘stay’ vote in Britain. Understandably, there are interesting escalations in the level of the support and the importance of the source. For example Barack Obama’s intervention in favor of the ‘stay’ is the apex in both. He not only explained in detail, with an economic-political analysis, the reasons why Britain should stay in the EU, but he chose to go to London to say all that. And that comes from a person, who undoubtedly ranks at the top of the world leaders power directory.
It’s equally astonishing to watch the International Monetary Fund and its managing director Christine Lagarde to so stoutly support the ‘stay’ option. The relevant IMF reports and Lagarde’s statements explaining why Britain should stay in the EU, go so far as to be considered as a direct foreign intervention in the internal affairs of a major well governed country. Lagarde said that “a vote to leave the European Union can lead to a negative outlook due to greater uncertainties and a weaker economy”.
The banks want Britain to stay
Turning now to the western world’s financial community including London’s City, the perseverance of the support for the ‘stay’ vote is equally determined and due to that rather astonishing. Almost all the major western banks have stated that they would consider cutting down their presence in Britain, in case of a ‘leave’ outcome. It’s equally impressive that the money and capital market analysts and pundits have concluded that the GBP (Great Britain Pound) and the economy of the country will lose ground in the short and the long run in the event of a ‘leave’ outcome.
The central bank of the country, the prestigious Bank of England, shares this view and has accordingly ‘advised’ the voters. It’s equally revealing that more than 90% of the London’s City financiers are strong supporters of the ‘stay’ vote and advertise it accordingly. Obviously, they have come to the conclusion that a ‘leave’ outcome will undermine their privileged position in the global financial scenery.
Who campaigns for what
No need to say that the ‘stay’ campaigners in Britain, including Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, have equalized the ‘leave’ vote with possible hard times for the people, the economy and the GBP. Last but not least, the major rating agencies Moody’s and S&P have announced that if Britain leaves the EU, they will possibly downgrade its rating. Moody’s went as far as to say that a ‘leave’ vote will increase uncertainty and weaken the economy, while Fitch IBCA said it would review UK’s rating.
There is more to it from mainland Europe, but in this case it’s more or less threats. Apart from the Brussels leadership who just expressed their wish for Britain to stay, both Paris and Berlin appeared harsher. The German minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble warned the British voters that ‘it’s either in or out’. He meant that in case of ‘out’, Britain will face a difficult relation with the EU where it hurts, namely, free trade. Today more than 40% of the British exports are directed to the rest of the EU. It won’t be like that if the Brits choose to leave.
Who wants Britain out
Against this thunderstorm of support for the ‘stay’ side and the exorcism of the ‘leave’ option the latter campaigners have only to present the harlequins Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. Johnson’s unruly style and his largely untrue arguments to shore up the ‘leave’ option, have even undermined his options to lead the Tories after Cameron. Michael Gove, the No2 in the Tory leave campaign, with his more restricted attitude is now a better placed aspirant to lead the conservatives after Cameron.
The latest casualty of the ‘leave’ campaign was the defection of the Tory MP Sarah Wollaston. She quitted the leave the EU campaign and said she will vote ‘stay’. Dr Wollaston chairs the health committee of the House of Commons and denounced as a lie the vote leave’s allegation that a possible Brexit would increase by up £350m a week, the financing of the country’s ailing National Health System. The leave campaign has made this allegation as its main banner.
Yet, many Brits insist to ‘leave’
Yet, the polls predict quite an uncertain outcome for the 23 June referendum. Presumably, it’s not only the stubbornness of the Brits that millions of them do not succumb to the pressures from the universal ‘stay’ crusade. The negative outcomes of the referendums in France, Hollande and Ireland about crucial EU issues, proved that voters tend to decide with their mind focused on their day to day problems, regardless the question asked.
And the Brits have a lot of day to day problems to take care of, while most of them are sure that within or without the EU, their lives won’t change much. So they probably tend to show their anger by rejecting the mainstream option, which in this case is the ‘stay’ vote. It’s characteristic that one third of the Labour Party voters chose ‘leave’, despite the unanimous decision of the party leadership to support the ‘stay’ option.
The ‘systemic’ solution
Whatever the reasons for the uncertainty about the outcome of the 23 June vote, the fact remains that the almighty financial markets and the world’s political establishment, including the country’s finacial community, want Britain to remain in the EU. The reason is obviously that in our ‘brave new world’ Britain and more so the London City has a key role to perform, in catering for a special part of the global capital and money markets.
If Britain leaves the EU, this arrangement will be in jeopardy. The US, the rest of the EU, China and all the other major systemic global players in siding with the ‘stay’ side have almost explicitly avowed that. Among other things this means that even a ‘leave’ outcome may not be final and the lengthy negotiations with Brussels to settle the ‘problem’, may lead to an arrangement not very different than today’s, most possibly at the exception of the free access to EU’s internal market.