Comment: Quo Vadis Great Britain?

Good Bye UK!? As CargoForwarder Global we deeply regret the outcome of the British referendum last Thursday, which saw Britain vote by 52% to 48% to leave Europe. The UK stepping out of the EU will harm both sides, but predominantly Great Britain itself that could fall apart and suffer severe economic declines. But there are slight hopes for a U-turn.

When German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was asked days before the British Referendum how he would react if ‘Leave’ would succeed, he simply said: “I would cry.”
If he did last Friday, when the results were clear, is not documented. But we know that meanwhile a growing number of Brits are crying, even many that supported the Brexit campaign with their racist and dump slogans. It dawned upon them that the UK leaving the EU not only wouldn’t solve any of the country’s problems like unequal distribution of income, immigration or the growing social and economic gap between the ins and outs, populists such as Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson had repeatable blamed Brussel for having caused. Even worse, their Leave vote might rip the UK apart, turning Great Britain into Little Britain should the Scots and perhaps the people of Northern Ireland decide to quit their UK membership and apply to join the EU instead. A new Hadrian Wall would split up the UK.
We also note with deep regret how some of the UK press held a misleading campaign against Europe, which was spiced with many untruths. Not neutral reporting, and only led to misinformation.

The warnings were written on the wall long before the people flocked to the polling stations deciding in favour of ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’.
Too late now - we have to get on with restructuring Europe and also ensuring that the remaining EU and the UK somehow remain close.

EADS Chief Tom Enders puts UK investments at stake  -  source: Airbus
EADS Chief Tom Enders puts UK investments at stake - source: Airbus

Warnings were written on the wall
Warnings which devastating consequences might a Brexit cause, predominantly for the UK itself, were thousand-fold echoed by industry associations, many companies engaged in trans-European trade, the transportation sector or the finance industry. Once out, there won’t be a way back nor any insurance paying for the damage caused, was the message repeatedly sent from continental Europe across the channel.
Now, the damage is there, with bitter consequences for all sides, but particularly the UK itself. Indicated by many voices, like the one from Tom Enders, Chief of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company – EADS. He indicated that Airbus is reconsidering its investments in the UK as result of the country’s upcoming EU departure. This sounds worrisome for the aircraft manufacturer’s future activities in the UK, particularly the production plant in Broughton, Wales, where the wings of all Airbus variants come from.
British carriers are impacted, too by the decision. In case they intend continuing serving EU airports, they’d have to apply for traffic rights. Mainly affected will be Britain registered Volga-Dnepr daughter CargoLogicAir that connects its home base London Stansted with Frankfurt on way to South Africa. Another candidate is LCC Easyjet, serving many point-point routes out of London to mainland Europe. No wonder that Easyjet’s CEO Carolyn McCall urged both London and Brussels right after the referendum’s outcome to “prioritize the UK remaining part of the single EU aviation market.”
 
Heathrow keeps cool
In a statement of 26 June, a spokesperson of Heathrow Airport said: “With today’s result, the case for expansion at Heathrow is stronger than ever before. Only Heathrow can help Britain be the great trading nation connecting all regions of the UK to the world. It is the keystone that connects businesses of every size to markets across the world as the UK’s only global hub airport”…“We are confident that the Government will make the right choice for the future of the UK, putting the interests of the country first. We look forward to working with the Government and its agencies on next steps.”
They got two years’ time, since any EU member state exiting the block is granted a 24 months lasting period to renegotiate its future relationship with Brussels, including air traffic matters. 

Quentin Lacoste of French logistics firm Clasquin warns of a domino effect triggered by the Brexit  -  company courtesy
Quentin Lacoste of French logistics firm Clasquin warns of a domino effect triggered by the Brexit - company courtesy

Forwarding Agent CLASQUIN reconsiders UK investments
Even prior to the UK voter’s decision, Quentin Lacoste, Group Chief Operating Officer, CLASQUIN GROUP Worldwide, based in Lyon, France warned in a statement given to CargoFrowarder Global a Brexit might trigger an EU exit process, “sending a very negative message, as well as setting a precedent, towards other global regions we all interact and compete with.” The manager went on to say: “We have dealings and opportunities in the UK which we want to strengthen and intensify towards our own presence and representation in the future, on a long-term basis. When prioritizing our plans of footprint extension, the fact that Britain is part of the EU gives us an additional level of comfort to invest. This is to be compared with unpredictable mid-term implications in case of an exit.” This comfort needed by investors like Airbus, CLASQUIN and others has vanished since last Friday.

Political paralysis
This all the more since the Brexit vote has led the country into political chaos with no new leadership in sight. Cameron will resign in October, the Conservative Party is completely divided in EU supporters and opponents, Leave propagandist Boris Johnson preferred to vanish into thin air since triumphing last Friday, so did UKIP boss Nigel Farage. In contrast, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and leader of the Scottish National Party appeared before the press, announcing an initiative of her government for holding another vote on Scottish independence within the next two years. She stressed that in contrast to the Leave decision by a British majority, 62 percent of Scots voters supported Remain in the referendum.
 
Quo vadis Great Britain?
In view of this chaos, statements from EU politicians urging London to immediately file Great Britain’s withdrawal from EU membership are of limited help. So are initiatives of disappointed British Remain campaigners demanding a second referendum.
The only means to end the political confusion, offering a decent way out of this dead end situation are new elections. This way, a party or coalition supporting Great Britain’s ongoing EU membership could repair the damage done by the Leave referendum and make a political U-turn by keeping the UK on board the EU. This might also hamper any separatist initiatives within the United Kingdom and prevent Great Britain being dwarfed to Little Britain. Pushing the reset button by UK voters would surely be applauded by Europe’s politicians and the entire aviation industry.
A step that needs farsightedness and courage.
This is what we would wish for you, Great Britain!

Heiner Siegmund  /  John Mc Donagh

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Dan March (Tuesday, 28 June 2016 01:58)

    Although I was very firmly in the Remain camp and voted such, this patronising attitude is a major reason why UK voted out. Instead of encouraging that the UK could play a different but vital role in setting a vision of the future, UK, German, French and EU politicians issued threats and punishments in the event of leaving. No one likes to feel backed into a corner by the school bully. The very high level of dissatisfaction across Europe of the EU and its unaccountable and deeply flawed institutions is at an all time high. Something that no one in Brussels is still prepared to address.
    However flawed the EU is I still believed it was better to be inside fighting for change. I feel deeply disappointed at the UK decision, but unless the EU becomes more nimble, inclusive and able to adjust and cater to the differing needs of its members it has just as an unsure future as the UK.