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Brexit bagels

By Camilla Fratta
web posted November 18, 2019

I’m going to be straight up honest with you, Brexit makes me think of bagels. From the side, a bagel can look like a delicious filled cream pastry, but when you change your viewing angle, there is a gaping hole in the middle. Politicians have avoided various major consequences of Brexit. It may look fine and dandy from the side, but there are important issues when you look at the big picture. It has been an exciting past three years of back and forth, promises and delays, all to no avail. An overarching theme of Brexit has been uncertainty; uncertainty of what will happen and when it will happen.

One issue politicians and economists bring up against Brexit is the economic uncertainty it has and will cause. Former Prime Minister Cameron started the referendum to leave the EU. However, he wanted to stay in the EU. Reverse psychology? On top of that, the day after the votes were tallied up in favor of Brexit, he resigned. Talk about unexpected outcomes. But in reality, the uncertainty is because we aren’t sure what will happen if the United Kingdom leaves the EU. Politicians and economists in favor of Brexit claim that the United Kingdom will be able to use the money they would normally have paid to the EU for themselves to boost their economy. This may be true in the short run, but with the influx of money, there is also a risk of increasing inflation. In fact, soon after the vote, effects were starting to appear, and the UK’s inflation went up by 1.7 percentage points. That means that the average household spent £7.74 more a week for the same goods and services. This may not seem like a lot, but this is the average household; some household will suffer much more because of the inflation. High inflation also discourages private investors which is a critical portion of an economy’s growth.

A second uncertainty is the trade agreements the Brexit enthusiasts profess of. Cameron wanted to still be part of the EU to take part in its trading benefits but not pays its dues and fees to be part of it and help other countries. One of the European Union’s goals was to have free trade between countries. Canada, not part of the European Union, took seven years to establish trading agreements between them and Europe. How long could the United Kingdom take? It has already been three years since the referendum and there isn’t a decision yet. The United Kingdom already has a trade deficit as is, and it is unsure whether the agreements and treaties outside of the European Union will be more beneficial.

Another uncertainty is whether Brexit will even go through. Former Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, foresees that Brexits “won’t be resolved any time soon.” Theresa May, the successor of David Cameron, also resigned after her attempt at a Brexit deal was refused three times. Now, the current Prime minister, Boris Johnson, is also trying to complete and close the deal. He has until the 12th of December, the General election. Out of the five possible outcomes, only one is a sure Brexit. Will all the drama and uncertainty be worth it?

Overall, Brexit has been a mass of uncertainty and instability. Its economic and trade effects are uncertain. Whether the Brexit deal will pass is also uncertain. The economy does not thrive in uncertainty and it is high time a decision be made--or unmade. Instead of a straightforward bagel, Brexit has turned into a complex knot of tricky, trippy, and trivial decisions to make. ESR

This is Camilla Fratta’s first contribution to Enter Stage Right. © 2019 Camilla Fratta

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