image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

UK Leaving the European Union - It makes no sense to weaken British negotiating position

       Brexit stands for Britain Exit, which means withdrawal of Britain from the European Union (EU). It affects us all in the UK. It is the  current hot topic because the negotiations are going through a most sensitive phase. This column takes a break from Sikh issues this week and takes a look at what is going on.


            Following the referendum to leave the EU, the debate about leaving the EU should have stopped and the negotiators should have been allowed to carry on with the job of getting the best deal for the UK. Regrettably, businesses which are quite understandably against Brexit, continue to cause problems for the British negotiators. They hope that the talks would fail and UK would continue to remain in the EU. For example, at a critical time, Airbus, the European aeronautics multinational company in which UK is a leading partner, has issued a Brexit warning that 14,000 jobs would be lost if the UK left the EU without a deal. That sort of public statement weakens the bargaining position of the UK negotiators.


Britain will leave the EU in any case because the public has spoken and the circumstances and the reasons for leaving the EU have not changed. Immigration remains the main issue not only in the UK but for most EU countries as well. 

        The EU idea is to have free trade between richer European countries with a large consumer market, protected by a common tariff wall around them. Such an arrangement can only be to the disadvantage of the poorer countries which are always at the mercy of the richer nations. The concept is wholly trade driven minus any social considerations. It does not take into account even the very diverse European cultures and economies.


The seven or so earlier Western European countries could have succeeded as a common market to a limited extent. However, bringing in the Eastern European countries liberated from the Soviet socialist system, was an invitation to mass migrations westwards across Europe from the poor to the richer nations. Mass economic migrations in a short period can destabilised local communities of the countries concerned at both ends. The EU itself is in danger of breaking up due to mass migrations from the African and Middle-Eastern countries.


          UK will continue to remain of great strategic importance as the mother country of the English speaking Western countries. Europe needs strong UK connection. However, from the EU negotiating angle, UK cannot be allowed to leave on easy terms. The danger is that others would follow UK out of EU. Negotiations are always like playing poker. It will not help UK position if business bosses keep shouting that leaving the EU will be a disaster for the UK. That will not help trade and industry. UK is unlikely to go against the wishes of the majority who voted to leave the EU.


It makes business and political sense to let the Brexit negotiators get on with their job so that they can get the best deal for the UK.


Gurmukh Singh OBE