Uncharted Waters – A View Of The UK EU Divorce

The outcome of the EU referendum carries many implications both for businesses and workers. Businesses face uncertainty as stocks become unpredictable creating market volatility; workers are burdened with the anxiety of job insecurity and both are faced with the issue of not knowing which legislations will or will not change and how significant this will be in relation to them.

The effects of this divorce from the EU are unknown as no nation has ever broken away from the union.  This blog will explore the implications that the Brexit may have, mainly focusing on the stock markets, individuals working throughout Europe and those wishing to work in the UK, and how Johnston Vere is approaching this unprecedented decision.  All of these angles should offer a perspective on what could be expected to happen in the short and long term, along with the attitude we should uphold throughout this unchartered economic landscape.

Stock markets continually fluctuate on a daily basis for a number of reasons, including political and the “Brexit” decision being a massive diplomatic change obviously offset markets.  The UK entered uncharted waters when the decision was made by the people and this became more unpredictable when David Cameron resigned as the Prime Minister directly after the result was announced.  A leaderless country preparing for the unknown poses as a cause for financial uncertainty and this was mirrored by the fall in Sterling, leading to massive disruption in the stock markets as businesses started to review their investments and withdraw stocks according to their interpretation of the situation.  This state of affair will hopefully be helped in the short term as the UK should have a new Prime Minister in place in the next couple of days.

Many people in the UK are unhappy with the outcome whilst others celebrate independence; the split was almost even with 51.9% voting in favour to leave, giving a feel for how close the margin of victory was for the ‘Brexiteers’.  The vote has essentially split the UK in half, with petitions to have second referendum circulating (one gathered over 4 million signatures) along with anti-Brexit protests taking place in London.  The political tactics deployed in the run-up to the vote were divisive and in some cases clearly misleading, leaving many people confused with what they were actually voting for or against. Many leave voters have in fact called polling offices requesting to change their decision, showing that some didn’t really understand what they were voting for.

For example, the “Leave” campaign bus slogan that suggested that leaving the EU would create more funding for the NHS was immediately queried following the result and led Nigel Farage, a predominant figure of the leave campaign to suggest that it was not a possibility which was in direct conflict to some of his fellow campaigners.

Further research has shown that after the verdict was delivered some people frantically started googling “what is the EU?” demonstrating how some voters had little understanding of what they were voting against.  This is very concerning as it is quite possible that people with a lower understanding of the issue will feel the force of the Brexit more severely if further austerity measures are taken to balance out the economy.

From a small company perspective such as Johnston Vere, we have needed to look at how we will be approaching Brexit. As a business, the first thing we decided was “you know what, these things happen”.  What we must do now is stay strong as a unit even though it is not the decision that we wanted as a business.  We would rather have an open pathway where we could carry on operating without any sort of turbulence ahead.  Sadly the decision didn’t go our way but we must move on from this, on the morning when the vote was revealed, we came together in a meeting and discussed our plan for moving forward.

We agreed that we would take a positive approach to this and actually re-double our efforts to work closely with our clients as the essence of a service company is to be as close to the customer as possible.  We are almost saying let’s turn back the clock in some ways and get physically close, achieving this through meeting more clients in person, moving away from email and actually interacting face-to-face, these more personal interactions are appreciated by our clients and very rewarding for us too.

It’s important that all small businesses take a positive approach to the situation as they have been described as the “backbone” of the UK economy, SME’s accounting for 60% of all private sector employment with an annual turnover of £1.8 trillion.

For British companies to survive it is crucial to find ways in which we can offset any inward looking feeling that the Brexit campaign has portrayed, and the negative aspects of that close minded perspective.  We must strive to achieve a welcoming approach to our clients and to look after their interests as much as possible so that we remain their chosen partner for our services.  Even though we are at the top of our field we believe the best way to move forward is to improve our service and relationships with our customers.

The worst consequence to come out of the Brexit decision is the racist views that have erupted, which tarnishes the UK as a whole if not stamped out.  Only a minority have this vile view, however, we must stop it before it ripples throughout our society, these opinions would turn the clocks back in terms of racism and unravel many advances we have made as a society.  We are multi-cultural by nature and have been this way since the first man created a boat. We are an island proud to be built upon such a mixed heritage; history has shown how people have moved throughout Europe for thousands of years.  It is this that we hope people will remember in a time where so many ‘far-right’ groups have emerged, tipping the balance of societies and creating a dived when unity is required.

So let’s turn a negative into a positive, if the majority of the UK took a confident and constructive approach then there may be significant opportunities and benefits for us to look forward to.  We believe that we need to remove the current general media approach which is to slander any decision that is made, directly fuelling the economic uncertainty.

Large sections of the general media has spent most of its time attacking the leave decision when much of the same press were earlier saying that we should leave the EU; this ‘doom and gloom’ approach only worsens the situation as it sends out a negative message to potential foreign investors weakening our economy as a whole, on the other hand, if an optimistic approach was taken from these media outlets a level of confidence may return and with that a recovering economy.


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