What to do about Brexit?
Like many others, I was shocked once news spread that the UK actually did it, they decided to leave the European Union. After initial shock came a little bit of what psychologists call the “5 stages of grief”, which is a perfect metaphor for the reactions to this messy breakup.
After inital denial “Did that really just happen?”, came the all too natural anger “I hope they crash and burn with their decision!”, or “Ok so the idiots did it, they broke the UK, and the EU with it.” Then the bargaining, “If at least Europe comes out stronger after this”, until depression “Oh my god now all the right-winger dimwits talk about Frexit, Nexit and god-knows-whexit”. Finally, the morning after, acceptance.
It is what it is.
“Nothing get’s eaten as hot as it’s cooked!”, I don’t know where you are from, but I believe this saying is true nevertheless. There has been a lot of analysis shared in the last 48 hours how this could have happened, from economists, politicians, even historians, taking us as far back as to Winston Churchill. Hindsight is always 20/20. Where people usually fail is at having a decent foresight.
The media usually does not help much, always invoking drama and sensationalism to elicit emotional responses, when it would be more expedient to put out facts to spur rational decision making.
So what are the facts?
- The UK voted in a referendum that they want to leave the EU
- There are likely economic detriments coupled to that decision because of how the market functions
- The world is not going to end
This short list does not look very scary, and it should’nt. Like in any relationship, no party should be forced, manipulated, begged, incentivised or coerced to stay if they rather want out. Arguments like “I am better for you! You need me!” have as much creepy appeal as they are appalling, and who really wants to be that person? Mature people part as friends, thanking each other for the good years shared, split up their stuff equally and fairly and wish another all the best for the future.
If there is something that is needed in politics right now, it is this maturity
Who can say for certain that more than 17 million people in the UK voting for leave have all been single-handedly dumbfounded by xenophobic and nativistic forces, while the 16 millions that voted for stay were all brilliantly clear in their heads and not manipulated by threats of economic apocalypse?
The scandalous thing about Brexit was never the decision to stay or to leave, it was the dirty campains, the lies and political bravado on both sides.
No matter the twisted reasons, the UK set out for a huge social, economic and political experiment, an experiment where the odds of failure are all too high, but I would be lying if I claimed knowledge of the outcome. As an experimental scientist, I know that sometimes one is led in the wrong direction, but usually, there is a lot to be learned in exactly that space. When this experiment likely fails, maybe one can be more reassured in the power of the European Union to foster wealth and prosperity, and most importantly piece. Though if the experiment is a success, if the UK manages to create something better than the European Union, the dreamchild of a “never-again” post-war generation and humanities biggest hope for global stability, I’ll be damned not to hear them out.
Every day brings impactful decisions, for good or bad, we have to acknowledge the sovereignity of people to decide over their own fate.
I am convinced that in the long run, more successful decisions will outcompete their less successful counterparts. That is how we progress after all. So even if this decision turns out to be a huge mistake, maybe some decision being made in response to Brexit will be overwhelmingly positive. This will be up for us to decide. I’ll leave you with one last fact:
If you zoom out far enough, the world has shown to be consistently getting better, but it was never a straight path.
This is an opinion article. If you like it, feel free to ❤ it and spread some hope!