23rd June will go down in British history as the day it got back its independence, and as they say, got its mojo back. I have been lucky enough to be at the centre of all of this from all sides of the political fraternity. I also witnessed the role of the media and the so called ‘economic gurus’ in wanting to highjack the Brexit referendum and dumb down the British voters. We witnessed scaremongering from all sides, much of it unreal, unsubstantiated and certainly in some cases, downright ugly attempts to lie and mislead the voters.
On Friday I was in and around the media entourage from all corners of the world that had gathered outside Westminster. What hit me was the ignorance of the media when it came to British politics, European politics and the sentiments of the British public. In almost all cases the media and their anchors regurgitated the standard tripe that had been doing the rounds for the past few months. There was no attempt to understand the British public and where they were coming from. In fact, the more I observed and listened, it became clear the vast majority of national and international media were trapped in what is known as the Westminster bubble. And that was it. They had no idea what the real British public thought and felt around the country, and therein we find the answer to why these elite of modern society got it so very wrong.
Having damned the media for their lack of understanding, and in some cases their sheer incompetence, let me share with you some perspectives that many will not even dare to tackle.
Myth Number One:
This was a left wing, right wing battle. Nothing can be further from the truth. It’s a classic template employed by devious politicians and shoddy journalists who are sometimes motivated by the liberal left wing narrative of wanting to call everyone racist who dare to challenge the status quo. The truth is of course very different. The ‘leavers’ won because they garnered support from those on the right, the centre and interestingly a sizeable proportion from the left. In fact, who would have predicted that left wing Labour supporting areas such as Luton, Birmingham and Sunderland would end up voting for the leave camp? So let us put this myth to bed and call out anyone who peddles such tripe.
Myth Number Two:
The British don’t like Immigrants. Nothing can be further from the truth. The Britain of 2016 is totally different to the Britain I found when I arrived as a child in 1968. It has moved on, it has become open, more equal, very welcoming, very tolerant and empathetic of the plight of others around the world. If you want to experience racism and inequality on a grand scale, then I would suggest you go and live in some of the other European countries. You will soon realise the contempt with which many of them see Indians or any other non-white immigrant.
So what part did immigration play in the BREXIT vote you might ask? Well the answer is that it was quite central. Yes, you read that correctly, it was quite central but not necessarily for the reasons peddled by politicians and lazy journalists. Let me explain. Controlled immigration is always a sign of good governance and management for any country. It allows for that influx of new blood, new ideas and new enthusiasm to enter the country and keep the churn momentum moving forward. However, if you lose control of your borders, lose control over numbers and allow mass immigration to take place over a relatively short period of time – you invariably put unsustainable pressure on every aspect of the life of a country. In effect you introduce stress to the very fabric of society and the glue that keeps it together begins to malfunction. This started happening to the UK under the era of PM Blair who said one thing to the British public, but in effect opened up all borders for mass EU migration into the UK. And here we are talking millions, not just a few thousand. The British public endeavoured to absorb and integrate with these massive changes to their towns, cities, neighbourhoods, schools, health service to name but a few. When such uncontrolled immigration impacts locals on a daily basis, they have a right to feel less valued by the elite who living in their ivory towers have the luxury to pontificate, but stay exempt from its impact. This undercurrent of disaffection and disassociation with the ruling classes had been brewing for years and when finally, the people were given a choice, they made their views known with unmistaken precision. This does not make them racists, or right wing or xenophobic. It makes them realists and human.
I have to commend the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, one of the brightest stars of the Conservative Party and lest we forget, also a person from a family of migrants. She called the referendum correctly long before many others and led the ‘leavers’ campaign well with her colleagues. She also showed that as an MP from the ethnic minorities, she has a unique special touch with the grassroots. She understands the pulse of the nation and also the pulse of her own community. In the end, she was proven right and let us be clear, the ‘leavers’ won because many ‘immigrants’ already in the UK voted to leave the EU.
The myths will continue and suffice to say I might need to write a book to cover all of them. So let’s take in a few other emerging issues of interest.
The so called experts, yes the same tribe of elite intellectuals who missed the global crash of 2008, are painting a scenario of total destruction of the UK in a matter of months. Nothing can be further from the truth. The UK is the best performing economy in the whole of the EU. It’s not because of the EU it’s doing well, it’s because it is confident in its own capacity as an economic power as well as targeting quality emerging markets with whom it can enhance trade relations. For example, when PM Modi came to the UK he made it abundantly clear that India and UK are a power relationship that will not only thrive, but will expand dramatically over the coming years. With the lead from India, the rest of the Commonwealth will follow and the UK will have the EU shackles removed so it can move fast into new emerging arenas of mutual benefit. Within 24 hours of the vote, America, Canada and even Germany came out quickly to publically state that they look forward to smooth and good trading relations with the UK and would wish to move to that new paradigm as quickly as possible. Just wait and see, many other countries will follow suit over the coming months. The only thing we have to appreciate is that no country in the EU will undermine the UK since the impact to its own economy will be even greater. The EU needs the UK market more, especially given the Eurozone disasters taking place almost on a yearly basis. So is everything going to be rosy from day one? Of course not. However, like any significant change, it requires a period of consolidation during which imbalances within systems and structures need to settle down. In time, equilibrium to UK’s satisfaction will return and those same self-appointed merchants of doom will have to eat their words, again.
The EU experiment is in effect dead. The unelected bureaucrats destroyed the common sense approach of the original idea of a ‘common market’. Their vision of the United States of Europe is being rejected by the people of many of the countries that make up the EU. For example, if you were to give the people of these countries a similar referendum vote on whether they want to stay in or out of the EU, well you’ll be surprised with the results. Below I share with you what the current view is of the people in some of these countries.
So let me throw this challenge out to every leader in every country of the EU, if you are confident of the EU project, then why don’t you give your citizens the same right to a referendum as did the UK? The truth is the leaders have known for a while that what they are forcing on their populations is unwanted, and now they are desperate to avoid any further referendums. They know if they gave the people the choice, then many more countries would walk out of this disaster called the EU project.
What the UK has done is a massive favour to the whole of Europe. It will force the unelected bureaucrats to introspect and make changes to accommodate the demands of their own populations. Will they do enough to avoid the domino effect? My view is that they are so far out of touch with their own citizens, that even though they have been gifted this huge opportunity to remedy the situation, they will lose it and only delay the inevitable.
In the end, democracy in the mother of democratic parliaments won the day. PM Cameron has been a good leader of the country but on the EU he made an error of judgement. The error was basic, but in the end proved to be very costly as well. The Prime Minister had stated that he will renegotiate a deal with the EU. He went on to say that if he thought the deal was insufficient then he would advise the UK to leave. His negotiations resulted in crumbs offered by Germany and France. Instead of supporting the leave campaign, he turned logic on its end and said, remain was the way forward. From that point onwards everything he said became worthless since you cannot say before a General Election opting out of the EU was manageable, and then suddenly change that to ‘it’s going to be a disaster if we leave’, scenario. The voters saw through that, he lost and the inevitability of his resignation became a reality. Let me assure you, the Conservative Party will get its act together and the new front bench will put into action the will of the people. To do anything else will impact them significantly in GE202. Come October 2016, get ready for a very pro UK Government, full of confidence and energy, one that will enact Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, as well as begin a proactive strategy for international trade deals. This is now the perfect time for India and Indian companies to engage with the UK.
Whilst the self-appointed pundits do everything to undermine the UK, the UK under its new leadership will get on with governance and the British people will get on with life. I remember in 2014 when almost every media in India was predicting the destruction of India if the now PM Modi and the BJP got into power. 2 years on, India has become a giant on the global stage. It leads on the ground, on the sea and yes, even in space. The Indian public had enough of corrupt governance over decades. They made their choice even after the vilest media campaign against PM Modiji, and today the whole world has become India’s partner. I am confident that in time to come the UK will also rise to the challenge and be equally successful in everything it does. In both cases, the people booted out corrupt governance and we may well see this trend spreading to other countries very soon.
That leaves the question of the other political parties and their fate. Labour has gone into further meltdown. It will either split in two, with Jeremy Corbyn and the loony left on one side and the moderates who will either form their own interim party or might even think of joining up with the LibDems, on the other. No matter what they decide to do, the Labour Party as it stands is not fit to govern the nation. If it splits it won’t be in a position to govern. The ramifications of this are clear for all to see.
As far as UKIP is concerned, their leader Nigel Farage has stepped down. He probably does want his life back, but I suspect he has calculated that with Brexit on the cards and a Tory government putting that into action – the need for UKIP on the very right of British politics has gone. Therefore, once Brexit has legally started, I suspect many UKIP voters will conclude that they might as well now support the Tories in GE2020.
The lay of the political landscape is not all too clear. And even with a brilliant crystal ball, I know that there is every chance some of what I have said above might well change in the coming years. We are going through a phase when by the time one has finished writing a column, the ground realities could have changed. What I do know, politics the old way has been given a hammering and it will have to change. If it does not, the electorate have found their voice and they won’t be afraid to show their power at election time.