Last Thursday the people of the UK and the People of Peterborough voted to end our 40 year relationship with the EU. Personally, I voted to remain, but not without concerns the EU needed reform.
What I am clear about though is that this was not a vote of confidence in any future Conservative government. It was just one month ago, in the local elections people in Peterborough constituency voted in more Labour councillor’s than they did Conservative, or any party for that matter, and this whilst the EU referendum campaign was ongoing.
The leave campaigners had assured people that the remain side were fearmongering and people would not be worse off as a result, that business would not leave this country in order to have unfettered and unconditional access to the world’s largest single market. Sadly, those fears are in fact now materialising. We’ve since heard reports of banks and businesses declaring they will in fact leave, meaning the loss of thousands of UK jobs.
Once the markets opened on Friday morning amid news the leave campaign had triumphed, billions were quickly wiped from the UK stock market and more than 2 trillion wiped worldwide. Terrible news for anyone retiring in the near future as their pension could be severely affected. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England has since warned that it could take years before things finally settle, until the uncertainty ends and the market begins to resemble what it was. One thing we know for sure though, is that investors don’t like uncertainty.
No one really knew what might happen as a result of us leaving the EU, but experts did try to predict. Their voices were often drowned out by those accusing them of self-interest which I fear led to more confusion in the minds of voters. The picture does now become clearer though as many of those predictions are being played out.
We are hearing from the boss of Next, the giant clothes retailer, that clothes and food prices will likely rise in the spring of next year as the value of the pound has nose-dived. Our currency is now weaker, meaning it will cost more to buy goods from abroad. The UK credit rating was has also been downgraded to negative, adding to the country’s woes.
Politicians like Stewart Jackson who led his constituents to leave had better hope that things do stabilise, and soon, otherwise the pain of the last 6 years of austerity will pale into insignificance compared with what may come. It’s in all of our interests that we negotiate good terms of exit with the EU, so we can continue to trade without masses of bureaucracy that would stifle UK business trading effectively.
As I write, politicians are among the least respected people in our society. If the leaders of the leave campaign continue to back-peddle on their campaign promises this can only worsen. If you state during your campaign that we can spend more on our NHS by leaving the EU, then you must deliver on that promise or the electorate’s trust will further diminish.