With the British referendum on withdrawal from the European Union now complete and the issue has been settled in favour of leaving, it is vital that the Government moves quickly to avoid any perception of a political crisis. There could be continuing unpleasantness given that the whole debate became emotional and base. Prime Minister Cameron obviously had to resign. He has stated that his resignation will be effective no later than October 2016. I think he should go sooner. The same applies to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is not possible for either of them to continue in their current offices.
To unite the people behind the new direction, a new PM and cabinet should establish the working parties that will begin the process of withdrawal within a very short timeframe. The process for separation is new; there is no precedent to follow. The Lisbon treaty allows at least two years to separate. Nothing will change immediately, and the Government’s duty from here is to ensure that as EU rules are unwound that the people of the United Kingdom are generally accepting of the outcomes. In parallel, the Government should explore new trade opportunities with other countries. India, China, Canada, US, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand would all willingly explore trade opportunities that would be mutually beneficial, yet prohibited under the UK’s current membership of the EU. As these new trade opportunities are developed, existing trade with European countries is likely to continue. Withdrawal from the EU does not mean an end to European trade; it means a potential adjustment to how that trade is conducted, regulated and priced. Since the economic growth rate of Europe in recent years has been less than that of all other continents, bar one (that being Antarctica), the freedom to chase new markets should appeal to most.
The volatility in financial markets will settle in short time. The UK equity market index FTSE 100 finished the week at about the same level that it began the week. Other markets will settle down in turn. The result is clear – it’s time to get cracking.